Well hello there. What have you been up to? I’ve been spending way to much time drooling over the lastest Grandin Road catalogue. OMW they have the most beautiful and unusual décor pieces. But they’re in the States and we’re in South Africa and our Rand/$ exchange rate sucks right now. So there’s just no ways I can afford any of their amazing creations. But I sure can use them as inspiration right?!!! We’re DIYers after all 😉 Like this “Spirit of the Forest” wreath, we made last week.
I tried real hard to imitate the Grandin Road version, but somewhere along the line I went a little crazy with all that greenery and ended up with something that resembles the green man from Celtic lore instead. But I’m super happy with how he turned out and I really wanted to share how we made him, just in case you’d like to make one too.
What you need for the Spirit of the Forest Wreath
For The Face
- Plain white mask
- A piece of bark for reference purposes
- Texture paste. You can find the paste in most craft stores or you can make your own using this recipe. Just add more talcum powder to get a thicker consistency.
You’ll also need
- Different earthy colored paints (black, brown, gold, umber, etc.)
- Palette knife or a plastic knife
- Moss and floral foam
For the Wreath
- Something to mount the Spirit of the Forest wreath onto
- Hot glue gun and lots of glue sticks
- Faux greenery
First things first. I needed to turn that cheap white mask into something a little more barkish so the Spirit of the Forest would look more realistic.
How to Create Faux Bark
Creating faux bark is really easy to do. Just apply big dollops of texture paste all over the mask with a palette knife. A plastic knife works too. The nature of the texture paste makes it form these peaks every time you lift the knife up. It resembles the knotty, gnarly look you would normally see on an old tree.
Easy right? And keeping a piece of bark handy helps a lot too. Leave the mask to dry completely. It will take a few hours depending on how thick you applied the texture paste. My inspiration bark piece had lots of dark undertones with hints of a light and dark brown. So I started off by painting the whole mask black and then lightly sprayed a light and dark brown over the top.
That Rust-Oleum Espresso color is probably one of my favs. We’ve used in so many of our projects and we always have a tin in our stockpile. I didn’t wait for the paint to dry between coats. I just sprayed, smudged, dabbed and sprayed again until I was happy with the base colors. To add more depth I applied some earthy colored acrylic paints with a sponge, once again using the piece of bark as inspiration. The trick here is not to overthink things. Don’t be scared to mix the colours and build up the layers until you’re happy.
Can you see that tiny piece of bark on the bridge of the nose? It’s a pretty close match right! The only problem was that the paint appeared too glossy in comparison to the bark. That’s easy to sort out though. Just sprinkle some talcum powder all over the face and brush it off. It dulls the paint 😉
Next up, adding the moss.
Giving the Spirit of the Forest That Mossy Look
No self respecting Spirit of the Forest or green man would be seen without a little bit of moss in my humble opinion 😉 The only moss we had was a little too coarse so I used a cheese grater to make it finer before gluing it onto the mask.
If you want to be true to nature apply more moss on the one side of the face. Actually, moss doesn’t only grow on one side of a tree. It just MOSTLY grows on one side. In the northern hemisphere it’s usually on the north facing side, while down here in the southern hemisphere, you’ll find it growing on the south side of trees. But hey, it’s your Spirit of the Forest so apply that moss where ever you think it looks good 😀
Okay, confession time. I messed up a little. I should have thought about adding the eyes right at the beginning because that would have made the next step so much easier. Oh well, you live and learn and hopefully I can save you from making the same mistake
Giving the Spirit of the Forest Some Soul
My vision for the Spirit of the Forest didn’t involve some sightless gargoyle type creature with blank staring eyes. Nope, he needed soul and the only way to do that was to add some eyes. So I used floral foam to “sculpt the eyes”. Just squish the foam into the sockets and use your finger to mold it into a rounded shape.
A little bit of brown paint and some more texture paste so they could tone in with the rest of his face, and they were ready to be painted.
I know not everyone is comfortable painting eyes, but this tutorial will show you how to do it in a few easy steps. If you’re still not keen to try, you can download eyes from the internet and mod podge them on. The Graphics fairy has a whole bunch of beautiful eyes to choose from.
Once the eyes are dry they can be glued in place. You can add some more moss to hide any gaps or imperfections.
Putting it all Together
So now that I was happy with his face it was time to start putting the whole Spirit of the Forest wreath together. I’ve never made a wreath before. It’s not something we do here in South Africa. You normally only see them at funerals or maybe at Christmas time. But hey, there’s a first time for everything. For the base or backing, I used a piece of wood that’s been lying around forever. I’m guessing you could use a wreath form or polystyrene ring or something like that too. If you’re visiting from the States then you’ll probably know how to do this way better than me 😀 I glued a whole bunch of faux greenery and twigs from the garden onto the wood using our glue gun, making sure to leave a spot open to glue his face down.
a crap load of sooooo much hot glue to stick everything down. That greenery and the face ain’t going nowhere 😀 We hung the Spirit of the Forest on our front door and I love it.
Our door is a really deep dark brown, almost black, and the greenery really pops.
And for some strange reason, it feels like his eyes follow you.
Or is it just my overactive imagination?
I would love to know what you think. Is it something you would make for your home? If you’re not comfortable playing around and turning a cheap mask into a face for your Spirit of the Forest or green man, then you can always get one of those resin bark faces online instead. I’ve added some links at the bottom of the post to make it easier for you to find.
And if you like the idea, please don’t forget to pin it for later
Psst, if you enjoyed this tutorial, would you mind taking a slight detour to vote for us? Please.
Oh before I forget, here are those links I promised you. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more unique DIY and craft ideas for you 😉
Until next time, hope you have a beautiful, craft-filled week. Sending love as always.