Introduction: DIY Hot Glue Tree Art | Paint Your Own Metal-Effect Textured Wall Art

About: Multi-crafter, jewellery maker, card designer and frequent procrastinator.

Hot glue really lends itself to creating texture. The random stringiness of hot glue strands is already so similar to tree branches and natural woodland textures that creating a tree using it seems so obvious!

I also tried to add a new element with the gold-leaf-covered leaves, and I love the brassy look of the branches when the black and gold paints are combined.

I hope you enjoy this Instructable :)


- Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks; I used black glue sticks simply because it's easiest to see against the white canvas, but you can use any colour glue you have.

- Canvas; I used a 30 cm x 30 cm gesso primed stretched canvas. You can use any size you like, but you don't want something too narrow.

- Large Paintbrush; I used a stencilling brush to allow me to push the bristles into the gaps in the glue, but this isn't vital.

- Gold & Black Acrylic Paints

- Paper Towel/Kitchen Roll

- Gesso

- Scissors

- Gold Leaf Sheet, Tweezers & Foil Glue; if you can't get gold leaf, you can gesso and paint the hot glue leaves instead. The best glue to use for applying gold leaf is one made for foiling as it will dry 'tacky'. I used Zig 2-way glue.

- All-Purpose Glue; you can use hot glue instead if you wish, but I used UHU all-purpose glue to attach the leaves.

- Non-Stick Mat; you'll need a mat or sheet that hot glue won't stick to. I used a non-stick craft sheet, but there other products like glue mats that you could use.

Step 1: Prepare

First of all, protect your work surface from the hot glue and paint. I used a non-stick craft sheet.

Plug in your glue gun to get it heated up.

Step 2: Draw the Tree

This is the time to be artistic! You don't have to do a tree exactly like could leave off the roots or have the tree to one side of the canvas for instance.

Simply use your glue gun to create glue trails

Make sure you keep the natural flow of the lines by going from the ends of the roots to the tips of the branches. There shouldn't be any horizontal lines in the tree trunk for example.

Take the glue lines right off the end of the canvas - don't worry about going onto the sides.

Oce you have finished, removed all of the messy thin strands you don't want and tidy up the edges using scisssors.

Step 3: Gesso

Use your paintbrush to apply gesso all over the canvas and the hot glue. Try and get into all of the nooks and crannies.

Gesso will help the paint stick to the glue.

Step 4: Gold Paint

Next, paint gold acrylic paint all over the canvas, including on the edges.

Make sure to get the paint into all the little gaps in the glue.

Step 5: Black Paint

Once the gold paint is dry, paint black acrylic paint over the top.

I did this in 2 halves so that the black paint didn't have time to dry too much before rubbing the paint off the glue strands.

So, paint one half, then use paper towel to rub as much of the paint off again as you can - mostly from the rasied hot glue strands.

You will see a cool brass-like effect emerge.

Then paint the other half and do the same again.

Step 6: Golden Leaves

For the leaf embellishments, first create many little leaf shapes out of the hot glue. Make sure you're using a mat that the hot glue won't stick to.

Once those are hard, apply foil glue over the top of all of the leaves. If you're using the same glue as me, it will be blue-ish at first, and then it will dry clear. When it is dry it is tacky rather than wet, and this is what we want.

Then tear off small pieces of gold leaf from a sheet (very carefully - don't sigh or sneeze!) and press them onto the leaves.

I found it easiest to tear the sheet using my fingers, and I also used my fingers to push the gold down onto the leaves all over. Tweezers came in handy for picking up and moving the gold leaf though.

Once the gold leaf is on, use your fingers to rub the edges to remove the excess. Make sure the gold leaf is pressed down all over.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

I personally decided that I wanted contrast between the tree and the background so I added more gold paint to the background sections. This is entirely up to you though and not vital.

Then plan out where you want the golden leaves to be positioned and glue them on. I used a clear-drying adhesive, but you could use hot glue again if you like.

Step 8: Finished!

And that's it, you have now completed your wall art! I hope you have enjoyed this project :)

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