How Paint a Christmas Tree With Glowing Lights

watercolor christmas tree

Once you get the hang of painting evergreen trees and glowing Christmas lights, combine ’em to create a wow-worthy holiday tree painting. Here’s how.

Paint a Christmas Tree

Level: Easy

What You Need

  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Watercolor paper
  • Watercolor paints
  • Masking fluid
  • Pen
  • Instructions

    1. Prepare Your Composition

    christmas tree pencil sketch

    Make your drawing. Be sure to press lightly with your pencil so the markings aren’t dark enough to show through your paint later.

    Good to Know: To change things up a little, we used candles to make our tree glow. But if you’re painting Christmas lights, the method and effect will be the same as our candles.

    Once your composition is complete, outline the pencil marks in ink. Make sure to not outline the areas around the candles where the glow will be. Also, gently blot the area with kneaded rubber to keep any pencil detail light, too. You still need to do this whether or not you use ink as this sets up the foundation for keeping the space as light as possible, allowing for room we need for the glow.

    2. Apply the Masking Medium

    masking fluid christmas tree

    Because this is a busy piece of art, masking fluid will be a life-saver. Add masking fluid to the tree wherever you don’t want green color to be.

    When applying the green tree color, make sure to keep the color away from the candles to create the effect of light. Which in short, is less or no saturation on a part of your painting. Focus on just keeping color off the candlesticks and not have to work around keeping paint off the rest of the details.

    3. Add Color

    painting green christmas tree

    Paint your tree green, keeping the color away from each lit candlestick. Take it slow, or paint sections at a time. Though green watercolor can be hard to lift after application, you can blend it with re-wetting to go back and smooth out any rough spots.

    4. Remove the Masking Fluid

    painting christmas tree

    Remove the masking medium form the flames and ornaments. If you have a beaded string decoration on the tree, leave the masking medium on that until the painting is finished.

    Give a pale yellow wash of color in the area radiating out from the flames. Flow this onto the edges of any ornaments it might be reaching. When this dries, paint the flames and the candlestick holders.

    Deepen the green where shadows may fall. We deepened it under the candlestick holders, and by some of the ornaments on the shaded sides.

    5. Add the Final Details

    watercolor christmas tree

    Now finish the rest of your tree decorations and any other parts of your artwork. Remove the mask off the beaded trim and give it a gold wash. Now you have the perfect Christmas painting!

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