Upcycle Branches Into Fanciful Decor
Create easy, colorful home decor on the cheap from branches you find outside.
I’ve always gravitated to a style of home decor that airs on the side of rustic and natural, so it should come as no surprise that after a big storm I concocted several projects to make use of Mother Nature’s fury. The kids helped with some of it too – it was a totally artistic, creative experience that can be replicated in preschool and elementary school classrooms in a pinch. Below are three ways you can upcycle fallen or pruned branches into creative home decorations that everyone will admire.
A Colorful Centerpiece
Whether created as an holiday centerpiece or for every day display, a collection of painted branches pulls together into a eye-catching decoration.
- assortment of twigs, 6”-18” in length
- wall paint samples
- paint brushes
For this craft, I used a variety of paints, specifically, wall paint samples because they are a little thicker than kid craft paints. I used 1” foam brushes as well as narrower craft paintbrushes. As shown above, I painted stripes around each branch.
I applied one color at a time to all of the branches, and then moved on to another color until I had an eye-catching bouquet of painted branches. An easy process and awesome impact!
Long Branches as a Decorative Focal Point
Tall, organized branches are an easy and efficient way to decoratively fill empty space in a room – home decor shops are onto the trend too, but for a price. If the trees weren’t in my own yard I’d be spending a pretty penny to source 6’ tall curly willow branches like the ones I used here; I just love how they fill a large open spot on our wide stone hearth.
- long branches (4’-8’ in length)
- spray paint
While natural branches are nice, there’s a certain eye-catching appeal in branches that contrast against other elements in the room, which is why I turned to a golden yellow spray paint to upgrade these willow branches.
Once painted, I bound the branches together at the base and set them into a container to balance their scale. Easy accessorizing for no more than the cost of a can of spray paint!
A Rustic Wall Hanging
The kids helped me with this one, a chalk-covered “bigger” branch upcycle that can be morphed further into a glorious wall hanging of any size.
- branches sized approximately 1-4” in diameter, even length
- sidewalk chalk
- cordless drill with 1/8” bit
- eye hooks and s-hooks
- wire for hanging
While paints would be an acceptable medium for this project, chalk was perfect, easy to apply, and really gave my 3-year old a lesson in coloring on textured surfaces. I suggest using heavy sidewalk chalk for this, and experiment with dry chalk as well as wet chalk (run it under water for a few seconds). Wet chalk applies smoothly and cures more opaque, like chalk paint, whereas the dry chalk resembles a chalkboard.
I decided to assemble our chalked branches together by installing eye hooks and s-hooks. Use the drill to predrill small holes into the wood to prevent splintering if the wood is dry. I installed eye hooks at the top of the display also, and attached a wire to it. I wrapped colorful embroidery thread around the wire, but that’s optional. To celebrate their artistic achievement, I hung the display in our kid’s treehouse in a spot sheltered from rain. It’s the perfect touch, and would be a wonderful camp or art class project too.