Hello Hello Nomad Friends!
I am so excited about today’s DIY, as I have gotten so many requests for a tutorial! On a visit back to my hometown in February, my mom, aunt, and I made these pieces of living wall art, using air plants, tree bar, moss, and thrift store picture frames. When I posted the picture to Instagram I got lots of feedback, most of which were questions on how to make one.
I know, almost 5 months later I’m FINALLY getting around to posting the full tutorial. To be honest, I kinda forgot how much fun these are to make! It would be a great weekend craft with the girls, or even with your kiddos!
Living Wall Art Supplies:
- 8 x 10 or larger frame (I picked this one up at Goodwill for $2)
- Be sure to take out the glass before starting. We will be gluing directly to the back side of the frame. If your frame does not have a backer, have someone at Home Depot cut a piece of plywood to size.
- 3-4 air plants of varying size ( I ordered mine here. For every $50 they receive in orders they cover the cost of one pet adoption which I love to support!)
- Bark of various sizes and textures
- 1 bag Spanish moss from JoAnn Fabrics (You will have plenty leftover for another 2-3 boards)
- 1 bag mixed moss varieties from JoAnn Fabrics (You will have plenty leftover for another 2-3 boards)
- Hot glue gun & glue sticks (if you’re wondering, I totally photographed the wrong glue which is why you see the artfully placed purple rectangle and wording).
- Natural elements such as sea shells or rocks
This project can get a little messy so be sure to cover your workspace with a dropcloth or old blanket. Working outside is a good option, as long as it isn’t too windy to blow away your supplies!
How To Make Your Own Living Wall Art
Step 1: Collect your bark. Bark is like the skin of a tree- pulling pieces off can damage the tree. Only collect pieces that have already fallen off. Don’t worry too much about size or shape, but be sure to collect around twice the amount necessary to fill your board.
Step 2: Treat your bark for bugs! No one wants to bring any extra bugs indoors, so once the bark is collected lay out all of your pieces and spray with an insect killer. Let all the pieces dry in the sun for a few hours.
Step 3: Now comes the fun part- creating your layout. Choose 3-4 large chunks of bark to form the base of your art. Be sure to try a few options, and explore all sides and angles of the bark. I loved the orange hue to the backside of this bark, so I flipped a few pieces over to expose that orange coloration.
Step 4: Be sure a few pieces of your base bark are curved or warped. While they are a little more challenging to glue, these warped pieces will create pocket to hold your plants in place. I recommend defining your plant placement with the bark BEFORE gluing anything down!
Step 5: Once you have established the base layout, it is time to glue. Start by gluing your largest pieces in place first. Then start to work outward, gluing the smaller pieces in place next.
Step 6: With bark glued in place, now you can situate each plant into their designated pockets. In this step I also added my shells, both of which are hot glued in place.
Step 7: Take a step back and look at your work so far. Notice any holes or gaps that you maybe want to fill with smaller bits of bark. With glue and plants in place, start adding your moss.
When adding the moss, try to use as little glue as possible to create a more natural look. I glued my moss in the upper corners where it was a large space to fill. Everywhere else I gently worked my moss into the cracks and crevices of the bark. A pencil point works great for those small areas your fingers can’t get to!
Be patient! This step takes the longest, but it is the finishing touch that makes this piece!
Here is a look at the finished productThis angled shot gives a better look at the pockets I formed with my bark to hold the air plants. I used little bits of moss to help keep them in place.
This is the original piece I created back in February. I had to fill it with a few new air plants because the originals I needed for another project. But the moss, shells and bark are still perfectly in tact!
How to Care For Your Living Wall Art:
- Place in an area with indirect sunlight
- Spritz with a misting bottle 2-3 times per week. I use distilled water, which these plants seem to love. If using tap water, be sure it is room temperature– cold water can shock them!
- You can see the full care guide for air plants here.
That’s it! Less than 10 steps and my final cost was under $20! Time wise is dependent on each person. I spent wayyy too much time obsessing over how to layout my bark, but it was worth it, as I love the finished product.
I’m so excited to hear your thoughts– are you gathering up supplies this weekend to make one? I would love to see pics of your living wall art creations! You can send them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy crafting this holiday weekend!