I don't know about you, but I love easy to do, inexpensive projects to brighten up a room. A few years ago when my husband and I discussed starting our family I knew I wanted to spruce up the nursery (hey, if I didn't like the dark brown closet doors and plain white walls, the baby might not either!). We had no idea if we'd have a boy or a girl, or when, so I wanted something that wouldn't be completely silly in a spare room either.
Cue the brilliant idea to turn the structurally sound, but dull, doors into a tree mural!
I am not a very talented artist, but this was super easy. Lets look!
Step 1: Materials
Once you've picked your closet doors and wall that you want to work on, you don't need much else!
> brushes or sponges, for applying paint
> a pencil or other marking tool, if you want to sketch out your design
> drop cloths/towels to catch spilled paint
> a ladder, if you are going to extend the mural onto the wall
> paint - if you are only doing the doors and maybe a little on to the wall then you will not need much. I bought a quart each of the green and the original blue I chose, and then sample pots of the accent colors. I did end up changing the blue when we actually installed the doors though, to match the color we painted the room. Since I knew this was going to be a child's room, I opted for a semi-gloss paint, and the accents are flat.
There is a good chance you already have most of this stuff at home, and the small amount of paint needed makes this a pretty affordable home improvement :)
Step 2: Prep the Doors
Ideally, you should start by removing the doors so you can get to all the sides easily. Thoroughly clean and dry the doors too!
Now is a good time to finalize your design plan. Do you want it completely contained on the door? Do you want it to overlap onto the wall? Also take into account any overlap the doors have when installed, so you can incorporate that into your design.
I chose to sketch a rough outline on my doors so I would have an easier time keeping my proportions straight. I used a yellow fabric marking pencil for this step. It gave me enough of a guideline to follow, but was pale enough that it was easily covered up with the paint.
Step 3: Pick a Spot and Paint!
I chose to start with my green, since it gave me a top and a bottom to see proportions. I was not worried about full coverage here - in fact, I was glad it didn't cover in one coat. This made edits to the design much easier.
Step 4: Finish the Design
Now fill in any other big color sections. Now that you have a coat on of all your major colors, you can tweak the design as needed. For me, I expanded the leaves on the right hand door, and narrowed the tree trunk.
I chose to wrap my design around the sides of the doors (not the top or bottom). I also chose to fill in the inset handles with paint - that took some patience but I am happy with the look!
Step 5: Add Details
If your design calls for it, add in details to really bring the image to life! For my tree, that meant flowers down in the grass.
Step 6: Test Run
Now, I worked on these doors for a long time. Not because it was a hard project, but because I was very sick while I was pregnant. In that time, we decided on a color for the baby's room, which was originally white. So, we did a trial installation and decided we'd need to re-paint the blue to the new room color.
This trial installation also gave me the chance to sketch out the part of the tree i wanted to carry over onto the wall and see how that all fit. I chose to wrap the green on the wall around the frame for the closet doors, in the same way I wrapped the design on the doors around the sides.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Once you get everything the way you like it, install your doors and enjoy the fruit of your labor!
This project took me over a year, because of delays due to illness in pregnancy. If you were just doing the doors, and just wanted to work a little while each evening, you could probably have this done in a week very easily. I love the pop it gives to the room! And I am sure our daughter will appreciate it as she gets older, too!