Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yarn Painted Trees

Yarn painting was introduced by the Huichol people of Mexico.  It's a great project for kids and adds an extra texture element to your work.

You can do an entire piece in yarn but I like to do select areas for visual impact.


- Aleene's Tacky glue, this is a must. Regular white glue doesn't cut it.
- cardboard
- yarn in Fall colors
- black paper
- white pencil crayon
- scissors
- acrylic or liquid tempera paint


Take some thin cardboard and cut out some shapes for the leaf section of your tree.

Although we will be covering our shapes with yarn sometimes a bit of the cardboard shows thru so it's a good idea to paint it a solid color.

The background for the tree is also from cardboard.  Mine is the backing from a sketch pad.  Paint this as well while you're at it.

When your shapes are dry it's time to add the yarn. The Huichol people use wax but we are going to use glue.

You want to work from the outside in, otherwise it can get too complicated.

Spread a bit of glue on the outside edge and start laying the yarn down.  The tacky glue holds it in place right away.

I find having a stick (popsicle or chopstick) helps you to move the yarn and make a nice tight design.

Another hint is when you change color start the new thread anywhere but where you stopped the last.  As you circle in you'll just go past that cut edge.  This stops the color change from being too obvious.

Set those shapes aside to dry.

Take your background panel and draw out some general details.

I was going for a "Group of Seven" type background.

In order to achieve this you want to paint with a flat brush.

Apply paint in side stroke, like a long rectangle.

Because I'm painting on a black background I use white to tint my colors.  I don't want it to be even in value so I'm sometimes mixing white sometimes not.

Fill in the background.  For the mountain you can see I angled my strokes.  This sets it apart from the sky.

When the background is dry you can glue on the trees.

I used black paper for the trunk and branches.

I placed the yarn shape on the paper and traced around it so I knew where to put my branches.  Cut out your trunk.

Glue on the yarn shape to the background first.

To glue on the branches I put glue on the back of the top half first.

Press into position.

Then lift the bottom half, apply glue, and press into place.

Here is my more "Group of Seven" type tree.

That's it.

"The Complete Photo Guide to Felting" by Ruth Lane

Don't forget if you are interested in winning one of these felting books be sure to enter the giveaway.

I will make the draw of Friday. So check out my last post for all the details.

"Felted Feathered Friends" by Laurie Sharp

See you then.


  1. This is a beautiful project. I always try yarn art using white glue and it's such a mess I must try with Aleene's.

  2. Another beautiful project, thank you so much for posting :)

  3. This is amazing! I love love love the backgrounds and the yarn trees are so awesome!

  4. I have all these card boxes that I have been collecting for some art project some day. Now that I found your blog I know exactly what to do with them. :)

    thank you so much. these trees are just gorgeous. :)

  5. What an amazing project! I just found your site and love it. I'm thinking of trying several with a group of kids at a co-op. How long would you say this project would take a group of kids ages 6-8?

  6. I love this project! Do you think I could use black construction paper to glue the yarn on without using the cardboard? Thanks

    1. Hey Anonymous,
      You could use construction paper if you wanted to. It might buckle a little but should still be OK.