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Chinoiserie Painting

Enjoy the beauty of nature indoors with a simple painting technique that will bring flowering branches, birds, and butterflies to life on door panels and walls.

Photography: Rob Tannenbaum

Source: Martha Stewart


Resources: All tools, materials, and latex paint available at The Home Depot. Acrylic paint and fine paintbrushes from Martha Stewart Paint by Plaid.


  • 1/8-inch masonite, cut to fit a door or wall

  • Interior latex paint in semigloss in a color to match room

  • Utility paintbrush

  • Black paint

  • White paint

  • Fine-point paintbrush


  1. Paint the masonite to match your space.

  2. Draw a tree, trunk, and limbs in chalk on the panel. Place templates of leaves, berries, birds, and butterflies to create a pleasing composition, and trace onto the panel in chalk.

  3. Squeeze a little black craft paint onto a plate or palette. Have a cupful of water ready. With a fine-point paintbrush, mix some water into your paint to thin it out.

  4. With loose brush strokes, paint your tree trunk and limbs. Use one brush stroke to paint each leaf. (
Tip: Use a damp paper towel as an "eraser" to correct any painting mistakes.)

  5. When the first layer of watery black paint is dry, add darker shadows. Add stems and details, using as few brush strokes to create each form as possible. Use the photo included in each template as a reference.

  6. Let dry; add some white paint to highlight shapes.

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