Christmas Tree Canvas Painting Tutorial

The Christmas tree is a classic image for the holidays that anyone would instantly recognize so we will be showing you a Christmas Tree Canvas Art Idea that you can easily make on your own.

It makes for an easy subject for a fun canvas painting during the holidays and the beauty of painting one is that no two trees are alike, so there is not really a right or wrong way to paint one, and you can choose the shades of green and white for your own to make it to your liking as well.

Christmas Tree Canvas Art Idea

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This particular canvas is extra fun too because, in addition to the painting part of the creation, you’ll be gluing on buttons to give it a 3-D and cute look.

I am showing the buttons in a garland form, but another few ideas for adding them in another way would be to do them in various colors and make them look like ornaments instead, spreading them over the tree, or using just white buttons more like lights, or in the sky instead of on the tree like white snowflakes.

Christmas Tree Canvas Art Idea for Kids

I love getting vintage or used buttons at the thrift store when I can find them, and these came from a jar of pre-owned ones I picked up that way.

So here is what you will need to do this project and then I will give you some directions to follow along with to help you complete it.

Christmas Tree Canvas Art for Kids

Now if you want to do this with friends or teach it to a group, figure the number of supplies accordingly, but this is for one person.

Christmas Tree Canvas Art Idea

What you need:

  • 1-16 x 20” canvas
  • acrylic paints in Christmas colors, such as a few shades of green, white or cream, red, blue or light teal for the sky and any other you may like to use
  • various brushes, from about a ¼” size to a 1”
  • water cup and paper plate or palette
  • paper towels
  • hot glue gun or Elmer’s type glue (but if you need the buttons to adhere fast so people can take it with them, go with the hot glue)
  • buttons in varied shades and sizes or all white if you prefer that
  • a tablecloth that is disposable or ready for painting on
  • pencil, eraser, ruler if desired

Step by Step Instructions for Christmas Tree Canvas Art

The first thing you will need to do is to sketch a tree in the center of the canvas, allowing room at the top for a star or other topper on it and at the bottom for the ground.

It is really up to you how you want the tree-shaped, you can be very exact with it by using a ruler, making the slopes and sides symmetrical, or you can do it as I did and just give it a rough sketched shape.

Also, decide and sketch the trunk if you’d like it to show.

I chose to do mine more with a bit of a snow pile in front of it, so no trunk showed at all.

Step 1-1

You could do a trunk and also add toys or gifts along in front of the tree to add a little something more. Also, remember to draw in a topper like a star.

Time to paint

Choose your sky or background color first and then pour on to your plate.

I prefer to pour all my paint at once at the beginning, but that’s up to you.

When I am painting, I always wet any new, dry brush in my water and blot it on the paper towel before dipping in the paint, to help the paint move easily and free up the stiff brush a bit.

Begin by outlining the tree with a thinner style brush, like a rounded one about ¼” size and then you will be able to really gauge the shape of the tree before going on to make it more permanent.

Once you feel comfortable with the outlined shape, go ahead with a larger brush, like a 1” flat, and paint in the whole background.

Step 2


Depending on the color you choose for it you may need more than one coat. You can allow one to soak in some and dry a bit before deciding how much more it needs, and work on the tree while it’s drying.

For the tree, you can choose to use just one shade of green, or two.

I did a dark green and then mixed a lighter version of it by adding a bit of white to the green in another spot on the palette.

Step 3-1

I did my first coat in the dark green first and it needed more than one coat before I went on to mixing and adding the second one.

If you aren’t sure about 2 colors of green, just start with one and then decide as you go.

Step 3-2

Sometimes it is hard to know until you see it on the canvas.

Step 3-3

Paint the tree in by using a small, rounded ¼ to ½” brush, and make side by side strokes all the way across in sections of the tree.

Step 3-4

See photos for help

They don’t need to be exactly the same and the ends can be a bit loose and uneven a tad, as trees aren’t perfectly balanced.

I lift up on the brush right as I come to the end of the stroke to get a bit of a light look and break up the solid streak of paint.

Repeat this until the whole tree is covered. Then, see if you think you need more of a solid coat.

Once you have that base coat of green as you like it, go on to the next color if you’re choosing to use one.

You can see the difference in the photos of the examples where one person, with the yellow background, just used the dark green and then did some white splattering over for snow, and the other one with light teal background did 2 colors and then the snow.

If you’re doing a second color, get it poured or mixed and then go ahead and repeat what you did for the first color but doing it in a lesser amount, with some spaces in between the strokes here and there.

More like a layer of snow would lay, so the strokes should be not quite as long as the others or as thick in the paint.

If you need to go back and add a little of the first color again in places to finish it off, feel free to do so.

I needed it in a few places where I got the second color too heavy.

Step 3

The last step is to paint on a star or topper before doing the splatter painting for the snow if you choose to.

Step 5

Snow Splatter and Buttons

To add white snow splatter – take a larger brush like a 1” and dip it in a light amount of white paint, and then into water, just coating it a bit.

Mix those together on your palette to get a good, light coat of white that is thinner than the normal paint, but not super runny either.

Then, take another brush about the same size in one hand to tap the painted brush with and hold the painted one over the canvas, after laying it flat on the table.

Tap the painted brush repeatedly with the other, moving over the canvas until you get a nice coat that you are happy with.

The higher up you hold the brush, the smaller the splatter will be.

Now, allow it 5 to 10 minutes to dry.

Once the paint is dry enough, you and start laying the buttons on the canvas. Play with them and figure out how you want them laid out.

Don’t start gluing until you do this, as pulling up the hot glue off the canvas could pull your paint off.

I started with one end of each garland and then the other end. I then filled in from the middle out towards the ends to make it fit well.

Then repeated with each garland strand. It is good to have a pencil or something wooden or plastic to push down on the buttons with to secure them into the glue, without burning your finger.

Christmas Tree Canvas Art Idea for Kids to Make

Get creative with your buttons and your canvas! Once your buttons are glued on, you are set.

You can sign your painting and be all finished and ready to hang it up. We hope you enjoyed making this Christmas Tree Canvas Art.

Christmas Tree Canvas Art

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