As a fan of modern decor, and a perpetual rental tenant, I’m pretty in love with vinyl wall decals. They’re bold, graphic, are generally easy to install, and come off clean when it’s time to move out (or move on). However, my tastes don’t always fit my budget. So I started making my own!
This particular design—a tree growth chart—is extra special and sentimental since I have little, little kids, and we’ve lived in three states in the last three years, so a series of tick marks and dates on a door jam hasn’t been possible. This temporary and mobile decal has moved with us, and will continue to move with us until we find a permanent landing place. It warms my mommy heart to have this piece of touchable history.
Here’s how you can make one of your own!
I started by taping white contact paper to the wall, wrong-side-up, so I could draw on it. Just keep in mind, whatever design you draw will be reversed when you apply it to the wall. Since I was drawing a tree it didn’t have to be symmetrical, or even exact. Organic designs are best for this kind of project 😉
I used pencil first so I could draw, and redraw, and redraw until I got it just right. Then I used black marker to draw over the lines I wanted to use as my cut lines.
Next, cut it out! Grab you scissors, go slow, and un-tape and re-tape as you need to. Alternately, you could take it off the wall completely and cut it out. I had a two-year-old running around while I was working on this, so leaving it on the wall was my best chance for success 😉
The tricky part is hanging the tree just right. Use gravity to your advantage and start at the top. Peel off just enough backing that you can get a good amount stuck to the wall. Don’t be afraid to re-stick if you discover it’s not straight. Again, organic shapes don’t have to be perfect! Then slowly work your way down, peeling and sticking as you go so you don’t get air bubbles.
I found it useful to do the trunk of the tree first, and then go back and peel of the backing on the branches. I suggest leaving a few inches of extra at the bottom of your tree that can be removed with an X-acto blade once the decal is in it’s final place.
The leaves are the most tedious part. Make a stencil out of cardboard and trace your shape on the scraps of contact paper. Then cut them out. I suppose it could be easier if you went with organic shapes for the leaves too. Your call! It’s your room 🙂
That’s all there is to it! Then measure your sweet little ones every few months or so, or at least at every birthday, and create a precious and practical keepsake that goes with you, wherever life takes you.
You can also check out how to install this sweet space-saver bookshelf on a wall behind a door in your very own home!