Brit & Barclay


Spring 2019 ORC Week 5

As I type this all I can think about is how tired I am. I’d love to go back to bed. But there is no rest for the wicked - so instead of telling you about how I missed my turn to go to work and just kept chugging along in traffic in the wrong direction - let’s get down to business.

Week 5 update of the One Room Challenge


Week 1 I Week 2 I Week 3 I Week 4 I Week 5 I Week 6

Of course you can follow the above links to see the graduation of MY process. But don’t miss out on what everyone else is doing! There are some truly creative and brilliant minds out there and they should not be missed! To see the other guest participants, click here; to see the other featured designers, click here.

Now…follow me to my secret lab.

In every special project you need a few special tools.

Staple gun & tin snips

Staple gun & tin snips

chicken wire, cardboard pipes, foliage, newspapers, flowers, & critters

chicken wire, cardboard pipes, foliage, newspapers, flowers, & critters


Step 1: shape chicken wire and staple it in place. In most instances it was sturdy enough just being stapled into the gyprock; however right underneath the stairs it needed a more secure surface to hold onto because it was being bent at such an extreme angle. So in the bookshelf area we drilled in a small 1x2 board. After adding that in place it was much easier to hold the chicken wire secure before moving on.

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Step 2: Paper Mache. Start by cutting up strips of newspaper. Cha ching - this is a great way to recycle and a free ingredient in this project. Mix 1 cup of flour, 1.5 cups of water, and 2 tsp of salt to make mache glue. I did this for 90% of the project, but after the first layer there were places where the mache was pulling away from the wall after the paper dried a shrunk slightly. So for added strength in this layer I added in regular school glue to the mache mix (I just eyeballed it!).

Now, for most of this step the mache went on like a charm and I didn’t have too many issues. However, I should also add that in cases where the mache was being applied on the underside of a tree trunk (like in the case around the pipe or where the branches curve out), I added packing tape as a pre-layer. The tape went on really well and stayed without issue and then the paper mache had something to really grab hold of and then I didn’t have any more issues with it falling off.

I probably did 3 layers of mache for the most part. There is one additional trunk in the small hallway that only got 1 layer because I really wasn’t as concerned with it’s strength since it was out of reach from the kidlets.


Step 3: add further definition. This step was pretty easy. I cut old paper towels rolls in half or longer cardboard pipes that I got for like .50 and taped them to the tree. I did another layer of mache over top of the cardboard just to make sure it was securely in place.


Step 4: apply joint compound. This was to add further security so that no little pencils or fingers would find their way poking holes in my trees. This was actually the fastest and easiest step. Maybe I was just surprised how easy it was, but it was really fun getting my hands all goopy and applying it all over the tree. The great part about this compound was that it goes on pink, and dries white. While it was all white, it still felt cold to the touch, which made me think it wasn’t quite ready for painting. I waited until it felt completely dry before I moved onto step 5.


Step 5: paint the bark. For this I bought four different colours to add depth and layers. I started with the darkest colour I had and coated the whole tree. Then I dry brushed on the lightest colour so that it would only catch the ridges of the tree. I went back and added definitions in the deep curves to create the look of a shadow with the two darker tones, and finally went back with the lightest colour to add a little more depth even in the shaded areas.


Step 6: apply foliage. This process was obviously the most fun. I started with these little Christmas trees that I picked up used for next to nothing. I basically bend all the branches towards one side and used nail and wire to adhere them to the wall.

I also got to test out how strong my trees were and good sign, I actually had to DRILL into them in order to get the little tree branches to stick in. I had left the ends of the biggest branches open, so it was easy to just fill them up with branches. Then I took a privacy screen and cut it around in all shapes to get the full, bushy look of foliage on the big tree trunk.


We also took two large, extendable privacy screens and suspended them from the ceiling in the long hallway to cover the roof.


The very last portion that I needed to get done was to cover the bottoms of the trees. I didn’t want to get the mache on the grass and I didn’t want the roots to go straight down anyway, so I needed to create a transition piece from the tree trunk to the grass seamlessly.


I cut a foam block on an angle (this would be the perfect base to stick flowers into later. Then I wrapped it in chicken wire and screwed it into the wall (very long screws). It is great that I am doing this at the bottom of the tree because the screws actually went directly into the wood frame and so I feel very comfortable that they are sturdy. I wrapped the moss over the chicken wire and for the most part I really just had to tuck in the moss and stick in the flowers and it is held in place. Because the chicken wire is so tight to the grass and the tree trunk it took some work the tuck it, but once it is there, there no moving it. Voila!

brittany gogel