February 13, 2015

DIY Faux Birch Branch Wreath

This faux birch branch wreath is made in the shape of a heart
so it is perfect for Valentine's Day or a wedding. It is made from
a surprising item that comes from the hardware or home
improvement store...spray insulation foam!
The Faux Birch Branch Wreath can be made in any shape that you want for it to be. 

The particular wreath started out life as a "for demonstration
After hanging around other projects going on and begging
to be made into a wreath itself, I imagined that it looked
kind of like a tree branch (or two). I decided I could try 
to make it into a 3-D Valentine for husband, Tom Kat. 

If you want to make one for yourself (or someone else),
here's how...

Get a can of "Great Stuff" insulation foam at a hardware store
or home improvement store. Get the can that says it fills 1 inch
or less cracks or holes, not the big gap filler can. 

Draw the shape and size you want to make the
 wreath in on paper.
I have lots of newspaper so I use it in crafting. The paper will stick to the back of the wreath form so if you think
the newspaper will bother you, use some other type of paper. The newsprint is easy to cover with paint, however. 

"Great Stuff" can be a dangerous product. It is not intended for 
crafting but filling household gaps and cracks. Follow ALL of
the directions on the can PLUS do not let your kids or pets
touch the sprayed out foam until it has cured for 8 hours. 

Since this wreath is about 16" wide and high, it got three
layers of foam to give it strength and dimension.

Luckily, I can spray the foam out better than I can draw lines on the computer.  

After I sprayed out the heart wreath form, I had almost a whole
can of foam left so I used it for another project I had been 
thinking about...faux wood slices. 

 If you were making only faux birch branch wreaths from the can,
 you could get at least three wreaths that size per can (16oz size). 
The can costs about $4 so that is only $1.33 per wreath.

How much the foam swells up is dependent on the temperature
and the humidity. Since it is winter, this foam did not puff up
very much for this project. Be prepared to practice a little. 

After 8 hours, you can pull it off the paper you sprayed it out on.

This wreath form hung around with the faux wood slices while
they were being made (really they are his siblings..same mom can).

He even came to the photography session when they were having
their photos made for the blog post "Make Faux Wood Slices".

Finally, I had a little time to spend on making him into a 
masculine, rustic, woodsy wreath for Tom Kat. 

I started out with three colors of acrylic paints to try to make
him look like birch branches bent together in a heart shape.
These acrylic craft paints are available wherever crafts supplies are sold.  They are usually $1 - $2 a piece. 

The front of the wreath has more nooks and crannies and looks
more like a branch. It got a coat of the lightest color. When the
front was dry, the wreath was flipped over to also get painted.

You will see the newsprint paper still on the foam. Pull all of it
off that you can, but some will still be stuck to the foam.

Just paint over it. You might need two coats to cover it completely.
The surface that has the paper on it will not have as much dimension/bumps/wrinkles.

Add the medium-colored paint to the wreath in horizontal,
side-to-side strokes to mimic the way birch branch bark looks.

You don't want to cover the original color completely so you
can dip your brush in water frequently while painting. 

Even after adding the third and darker color in the same way,
 the "branches" just looked brown, not birch-y.

I got back out my real birch slice, a Christmas card with birch
branches on it and a picture I took at Hobby Lobby (of a frame
painted to look like birch branches) to see what I was missing.

I didn't have the darker lines and knots that the real birch does.
My "branches" got a watered-down brushing with the lightest
color paint and some lines drawn on with a brown marker.

Then some darker paint was added to mimic the knots and
darker areas on real birch branches. 

Since I am using this as a Valentine present, 
I goggled "initials carved into trees" to see how they really look. 
I added our initials on the wreath.
 "Miss Kitty Loves Tom Kat" is what those initials mean to us. 
I used the brown maker and then the black marker over the brown to make the initials...easier than paint. 

Since I already have a more "showy"  Valentine wreath on the
  front door and this is more of a personal wreath, the "initial
 carved" faux birch bark wreath has been hung on the back door.

I was never happy with my paint job trying to make the wreath look like two branches so I finally cut a  small  
slice out of the foam to make an actual break in the foam. Then I painted the insides of the slice. 

The faux birch branch wreath only weighs a few ounces. 
It got hung with fishing line that shows more than I want it
to. Since the wreath is so light, I am going to change out for a 
lighter weight fishing line so it won't show so much. 

The wreath got painted on the back too so that it even 
looks good from the inside of the house. 

I like this wreath so much that I formed some smaller ones
(on a spray foam session for another project). These hearts
are only one line of foam thick and smaller. When they are
painted, they will be good companions to the original wreath. 

In real nature branches are not perfect so it does not bother me
that these are not a perfect heart shape either. They are quirky
and cute (and would be very inexpensive decorations). 

Faux Birch Branch Wreaths would be great hanging at an engage-ment party or rustic wedding with the bride and groom's initials "carved" into them. They are so easy and fun to do! 

My love to YOU at Valentine's Day!!!


  1. You are SO clever, Gayle. When I first looked at it I thought it was real birch. Beautiful job. Happy Valentine's Day- xo Diana

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  3. Wove!! That's a super duper cool idea, Gayle. Love it.
    -- Bharati from techiesdiyadventures.blogspot.com

  4. Wow! I never would have thought to use that stuff for decor projects! Very clever! It really looks like birch too!

  5. Gayle, I am always amazed at your creativity! The wreath looks just like birch and so cute with your initials carved in it. Love it!

  6. So creative! I absolutely love how you personalized it!

  7. How did you ever come up with this idea Gayle?! It looks so real!


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