Under 2 hours
Give your mom something handmade for Mother's Day. Creating a lovely hydrangea-themed plant holder for your mother or grandmother is a thoughtful way to show them you care. Ann Cockerill of Red Cockerill Gallery in Austell, Georgia shows us how to create a one-of-a-kind, hand-painted container your mom is sure to love.
To create this project, you will need a simple galvanized metal bucket that is large enough to hold the shrub or plant you want to put in it. You will also need craft acrylic paints in various shades of blues, purples, pinks, greens and white. An angled 1/4-inch craft paintbrush and a fine liner brush will be needed for the project as well.
You can either chose to use the hydrangea you plan to gift as a reference for your painting or use a photograph of a large hydrangea bloom for reference.
Make an Outline
Load up the angled craft brush with paint. Make a loose circle for the outline of one hydrangea bloom.
Tip: Dip one end of the brush into a dark color and the other into a lighter color. This way, you will be able to add two colors at once.
Fill in the Shape
Fill in the circle of the first bloom. Keep the strokes light and loose. This part is all about creating the general shape, but not adding detail.
Take a look at the hydrangea you are painting and determine the direction of light. In this particular project, the light is coming from the upper right. Load up your brush with the darker paint and lightly dab in the darker areas of the flower first. This creates shadows and adds depth. Next, clean the brush and add in the mid-tones. Don’t be afraid to overlap the lighter colors onto the dark. This will also help to create depth.
Tip: If you want deeper shadows, skip the black paint. Instead, use darker values in the same color family. This will add depth to the color without making the paint look muddy.
Shadows add depth to a painting, but the painting also needs highlights for contrast. Take a look at your subject once more to determine where the lightest parts of the flower are located. Use a lighter value of your mid-tone color (not white) to add the first layer of highlights. This will also help your bloom look more realistic. Let the paint dry slightly, then use white paint to add a dab of bright white highlights to the lightest tips of the flower.
With the lighter shade of green, paint in the rough outline of the leaves. Delineate a shadow near the base onto the side of the leaf where the shadow falls on your subject.
Add Texture to the Leaves
Hydrangea leaves are full of texture. Instead of using a fine brush to paint in all the details, grab a real hydrangea leaf that’s close in size to your painted leaves. Use a darker green paint and apply a layer of it on to the back of the leaf. Then, press the leaf you painted on the bucket. This technique will give your leaves instant texture with little effort. Use the fine liner brush to apply highlights along the veins of the leaves.
Once the paint is dry, apply a protective coat of polyurethane or decoupage over it. This will keep it from scratching off the surface as well as keep it water-resistant. Add a Happy Mother's Day sentiment with paint or use a vinyl decal. Place the live hydrangea shrub in the bucket, tie a ribbon around it and gift it. The recipient can reuse the bucket for other flowers. It’s a gift that will give joy in the garden year after year. Learn more about growing hydrangeas.
Shop The Home Depot for craft supplies and flowers to create one-of-a-kind gifts for mom. Buy what you need online and pick them up at your local store.