Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial – Learn how to paint a Christmas tree on canvas/wood. A giant blue winter moon completes this Christmas picture with some Christmas paint magic!

There’s a lot of magic hidden in this Christmas/Winter Tree Scene Painting Tutorial ✨. You’ll learn a simple one-stroke technique for painting Christmas trees that anyone can do (even kids). And the magic moon painting technique will dazzle you and leave you feeling like a cross between Houdini and Picasso.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

If you don’t have time to go through the whole tutorial right now, save it to Pinterest here for later!

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And as always, the full step-by-step painting tutorial is at the end of this post, with a link to the full YouTube tutorial. It will go through the entire painting from start to finish. A YouTube video will be released in the coming days.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

Before the tutorial I added some in-depth sections below on how to paint a Christmas tree and the giant blue winter moon because there was more to cover for those 2 methods.

The trick behind the magic is to use a common household item that reacts with acrylic paint (or water-based paint).

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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Isopropyl alcohol (I used 50%, but higher concentrations work too) acts as a solvent when it touches acrylic paint and dissolves it on contact.

Check out the step-by-step tutorial at the end of this post to see the complete painting from start to finish

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

Basically, we’re going to paint the moon with a very thin layer of white (it’s important that it’s thin enough), and then we’re going to put drops of rubbing alcohol on top. Drops of alcohol will dissolve the white paint on contact, leaving the blue background underneath.

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The first step is to make sure your blue background is completely dry (including the stars). Once the background is dry, you don’t have to worry about a drop of rubbing alcohol dissolving your background, even if it gets into it.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

Now for the diluted paint. This is a very important step. If the paint isn’t thin enough, the technique won’t work either.

I used 1/4 teaspoon of water and added 1/8 teaspoon (or teaspoon) of white paint and mixed it. White paint should have a thin liquid consistency and be very transparent when painted on canvas.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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Fill in the moon with a very thin layer of this white paint using a 1/2 inch wide wash/flat brush.

You’ll need to work very quickly on the next step because you don’t want the white paint to dry. The alcohol effect will not work with dry paint (read tips below). Use an eyedropper (for maximum control) or brush holder and drip drops of isopropyl alcohol onto the wet white paint.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

As the drops of alcohol hit the white moon. you should see the white paint dissolve into droplet shapes.

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Oh, and you don’t have to worry about the blue background dissolving because it’s dry. If you get some rubbing alcohol out of the moon shape, don’t worry, just wipe it off.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

IMPORTANT: The smell of isopropyl alcohol can be a little strong, so be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.

Once dry, take a small angled brush (I used 1/4″ wide) and use the white paint to draw 1/2 of the moon.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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This will create the illusion of the moon being lit by the sun on one side of the moon and a shadow on the other.

Once the moon dries, you can move on to some magical Christmas trees with a one-shot technique.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

To make this technique stress-free, drawing the shape of the tree with a pencil is very helpful. This way you don’t have to worry about the shape of the tree and just focus on the brushstrokes and filling it.

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I also marked the middle of the tree with a vertical line. This will help you angle your strokes towards the middle if you want a rounder looking tree.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

Load the brush with a twisting motion. This helps load the brush properly and evenly, keeping the pointed end sharp.

Starting at the bottom of the tree, direct the tip of the brush down toward the fabric. Apply firm pressure to the brush and sweep upwards to create your tree branch in one stroke. Repeat this stroke across the entire bottom row of your tree.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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To make your tree look more dimensional, angle your stroke so that it is at an angle to the center line of the tree. Your branches will look more flared and the tree will look more dimensional.

Once the first row of branches is complete, repeat the same steps on the second row. Make sure you overlap the first row. This will make it look like the branches are sitting on top of each other.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

It is very difficult to wait for the paint to dry, so I made sure that this technique works with wet paint.

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Now repeat this technique in one go on the remaining rows along your tree. Use your tree pencil drawing to guide you on where to start and end each row.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

If you want to give your tree more dimension, you can use 2 colors in this step. Your whore is green and a lighter green color (add some yellow with the green whore).

When you fill in the second layer of branches, randomly alternate the two colors (green and lighter green) throughout the tree. The more random the better.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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To paint silhouetted trees in the background, use the same technique as above. Except you’ll use a smaller round brush (ie size 1 or 2) and a darker color paint.

Since all the shadows in real life have a natural blue tone, I decided to use Prussian blue. At first, I used black for the trees, but it looked too harsh with the blue in the painting (sky, moon, snow). So using a deep/dark blue just made the painting look more cohesive.

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

If you don’t have Prussian blue, there is an alternative. Mix your phthalo blue with some black to darken it.

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I hope you enjoyed this simple Christmas painting tutorial and learned an easy way to paint a Christmas tree on canvas. And I hope you enjoyed the magic of making the giant blue winter moon. The step-by-step tutorial walked you through all the steps to recreate this Christmas scene, with some extra tips in the post. Using layers of color and special brushstroke techniques, painting this festive Christmas tree feels just as fun as decorating the real thing. And just like a real Christmas tree, you can cut this awesome tree however you want!

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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Whitney is a painter based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is the owner of Smartest Artist, an art education studio for children and adults. Whitney loves teaching video tutorials with Painting to Gogh, so she can reach artists all over the world!

Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

My son had a blast completing his first Gogh painting! Loved the gradient technique used for the background and how positive and encouraging the teacher was. Delighted with the end result! O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how beautiful are your branches! We’re painting beautiful, customizable Christmas trees with a whimsical, nighttime backdrop for today’s easy, step-by-step acrylic painting tutorial. Follow along and create your own whimsical winter scene and be sure to subscribe to the beginner level acrylic painting tutorials posted every Saturday.

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Painting A Christmas Tree Tutorial

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