How to Hand Paint Vines on Wood

by Ruth O'Neil

You may want to dress up some wood molding or wood walls in your home. Do this by adding simple painted decorations. One of the easiest decorations to paint on your wood is vines. Vines can go with many different décor styles. Since they are not perfect in nature, vines do not need to be perfect when you paint them on your home, either. Using the freestyle method is best for this project. When you try to make the vines look too perfect, it can be stressful and will not look as free flowing you originally hoped.

Items you will need

  • Assorted colors acrylic paints (green, brown)
  • #12, script liner and flat paintbrushes
  • Paper plates
  • Scrap paper
  • Spray-on clear coat
Step 1

Examine the wood that you want to paint. Consider how big it is and envision how you want the vines to look. If the wood is too rough, sand the section you want to paint, just enough to make it a little smoother. If it has a gloss finish, you will also need to sand to rough it up to help the paint adhere.

Step 2

Put dollops of the colors of paint you want to use for your vine on your paper plate.

Step 3

Dip the tip of a number 12 paintbrush into some green paint. Roll the brush around to load plenty of paint on it, but not enough so that it drips.

Step 4

Place the tip of the paintbrush where you want to begin drawing your vine on the wood. Use a fluid arm and wrist motion to paint the main stem of the vine. Work the brush up and down slightly to create the curvature of a real vine. Practice the motion, using the paint and the paintbrushes, on scrap paper if you desire.

Step 5

Add as many different vines to the first as you like. Vary the length and width of the vines by choosing different size brushes. Create vines of different shades of green and brown as well to give your vines depth.

Step 6

Use a script liner brush to add curlicues that are typical of many vines, particularly grape vines. Start by placing the brush somewhere on the vine. Pull the brush away and quickly twirl it around to form a corkscrew looking vine.

Step 7

Paint some leaves on the wood as well to add to the vine decoration. Use flat paintbrushes of varying sizes to create different size leaves. Place the tip of the flat brush so that it is completely on the wood. Pull the brush across the wood at the same time you gradually lift the brush off the wood to form the tip of the leaf.

Step 8

Allow the paint to dry completely. Spray with a clear coat if you want to give it added protection and make your painted vine last longer.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the wood you are painting on is not completely smooth, the trick is to use more paint. Load your brush with more paint than you normally would and continue in the same manner.
  • A picture of vines can be a helpful reference. Look at how the picture has vines in the back and in the foreground. This creates the depth in your painting and makes it look like a real vine.
  • An optional step at the beginning of the painting process could be to draw out the main shape of the vine design using a pencil and drawing as lightly as possible. Use the same technique of just drawing freehand. Remember when tracing over the pencil line, use fluid motions and do not worry about covering up the pencil line exactly.


  • "Basic Strokes Workbook"; Donna Dewberry; 2004
  • "Jars and Ivy Bowls"; Donna Dewberry; 2003