Arya’s Nursery (Part 1)

Those who know me, know that I don’t ever do things the easy way.  Well, you can image with the excitement building to welcome our baby girl into the world, I started imagining ideas for the nursery.  I saw some pictures online of murals that included trees which got my mind going.  Apparently, there are vinyl appliques that one can buy, but none of them seemed to have what I was looking for.  Then I looked at painted murals people had done and all of them seemed either too real or too “childish” for my tastes.  Then I came across some images of “fairy trees” and I decided that was the way I would go.

I did a simple pencil sketch of my version of a fairy tree.  I then took that sketch and scanned it in and converted it to a digital form using Adobe Illustrator.  The room we decided to use for the nursery has a portion of the ceiling that slopes down with the line of the roof.  While digitizing the tree, I decided that I wanted the tree to come out of the corner onto two walls and onto the sloping portion of the ceiling.  

Then, to expand on the concept, given Gladys’ love of butterflies, I decided to add butterflies circling the tree and down over where we will place the crib.  I added some other elements to the concept that you will see develop into the final design, but I’m keeping one secret for now.  (There is a hint above for one of the ideas, though.  ;-))  The other element is featured below.

Once I had the concept finalized on the computer, I set out to get it painted.  I started with painting the walls a pale yellow (Glidden’s Coastal Light).  Once that was done, I used a projector to display the concept sketch on the wall so that I could begin tracing the design with tape.  Here is the start of that taping off. 

What I quickly discovered is that the wider blue painters tape does not want to curve as much as I needed for the curves I incorporated into the tree’s design.  So I started researching fine-line automotive paint tape that I have seen used in painted flames on TV.  I also remembered a tape I used for graphics at my job at TTI, which was a Chartpak tape.  My concern was, would it come off the wall as cleanly as painter’s tape.  The only way to tell was to try it and hope for the best.

So, I ordered some fine-line automotive tape online, but my patience (or lack thereof) got the better of me and while at Texas Art Supply getting supplies for future phases of my painting project, I saw the Chartpak tape and bought a package of it.  Using that, I was able to get a good portion of the lower branches up on the wall.  It looked like it was going to work well.  (Cue the sense of foreboding.)

Now, the walls in our house have a fairly rough, knock-down texture on them and I knew the paint would eventually bleed under the tape, no matter how good I was with applying it.  However, a while back, I learned a neat trick to help with this doing other painting in the house.  The trick is to paint onto the tape with the base color (the yellow paint in this case).  The idea is: assume the paint is going to bleed under the tape, so use the same color that you already have on the wall.  So when it bleeds, it matches the base color.  Once the base paint is applied and dry, you paint over that with the other color.  When you remove the tape, you have a very nice paint edge.  So, I painted the yellow onto the tape. 

After the base paint dried, I then proceeded to edge in the grey (Glidden’s Wexford Fog).  With the paint still somewhat wet, I began removing the tape.  Unfortunately, the original paint used for my house was not the best quality, and portions of all the layers of paint would come off with the tape. Thankfully it was not too bad, but I did have to go back and touch up the yellow once I was done to fill the holes left after the tape’s removal. 

The next day, I proceeded to fill in the rest of the bottom of the tree with the grey.

You can begin to see one of the design treatments I incorporated.  I wanted to do something different instead of putting the traditional (and somewhat cliche) name in big letters on the wall above the crib.  I decided it would be neat if it looked like her initials were carved into the tree.  Not saying this has never been done before, but I hadn’t seen it and thought it something new and unique. 

After a few more day’s I received my order of the automotive fine-line tape and proceeded to tape off the upper branches.  The tape was quite flexible, but in some places with tight turns, it would not stay stuck to the wall.  So, I had to supplement it with some blue painters tape to keep it in place.  I also started taping off and edging in the small remainder of the ceiling with the light blue paint we chose (Glidden’s Ice Age). 

I finished painting the upper branches and removed the tape.     

It ended up taking off more of the layers of paint with it in some spots, so I had some more touch up to do.  Once that was done, the tree was complete. 

Coming soon, the butterflies and one last other element.