It doesn’t get more festive than a classic red truck with a Christmas tree on the back! Here’s how you can easily paint your own, and some helpful ideas of where to display your hard work.

Anyone else get giddy about Christmas decor? I absolutely LOVE the holiday season. I have to hold myself back before decorating my entire house before November!

There’s something particularly special about decorating with something you made yourself. In this post, I’ll show you all how to paint this piece with ease. Then, we’ll chat about some fun ways you can display it and make sure everyone can admire your hard work! 🙂

Woman with flyers holding painted truck and tree

Where to Buy the Wood Blank

How cute is this wooden cut out? I love the classic image of a pick up truck hauling a Christmas tree.

This wood blank was cut out by my talented husband, but you can often buy blanks online.

I even found a cute wooden blank that is pulling a little camper on the back! This would be so fun to paint with some pops of teal.

How to Paint a Truck with Christmas Tree

First of all, we are going to elevate this painting project. A lot of poeple simply paint the tree a flat green and paint the truck a flat red and call it a day. But, with a tiny bit more effort, we can make this a really cool, realistic looking piece.

Ready to know what’s the secret sauce? Shading! Shading will absolutely elevate your artwork. It sounds scary, but I promise it’s SO easy. I’ll walk you through it!

Paint the Tree

Start by painting the tree. I like to use a nice, bright green shade of craft paint—I just dab it on with a small brush. Make sure you get the edges as well since this is a thicker dimensional piece.

Now we’re going to give it a bit of a pop. Metallic paints are a simple way to do this and one of my favorite supplies to work with. Add some metallic green to the tree, and add in some dark green matte metallic on the top.

Paint the Truck

Start by painting the base of the truck your brighter red. Give it a nice, even coat—don’t forget the edges!

Add Shading

Remember, shading isn’t scary! It’s worth the tiny bit of extra effort because it will make your pieces absolutely pop. To add dimension to the truck, you’ll want a few different shades of red. I chose a bright, cheery red as the base, then added a darker red and a bronze for shading. You could also use copper if that’s what you have on hand! You will also want to have black paint on hand.

Then, use the bronze color to paint shading. Think of where the shadows on a car would naturally fall, like directly under the windows and over the wheel hubs. The video in the free tutorial gives you a great visual of where to add the paint. I start with just a small amount, then go back and make the paint thicker.

Painted red truck with shading and snow

Paint the Window

I use a silver metallic paint to fill in the window area. Then, go back with a small brush and paint the outline of the window in black paint to give it definition.

Paint the Wheels

The wheels are pretty simple – just fill the tires in with black paint, then paint the hubcap area in the metallic silver paint.

Add Snow

This was my favorite touch! It makes this piece totally festive and Christmas-y to add in a layer of snow. I’ll show you exactly what to do in the free tutorial video, but here’s where I put it:

  • Paint the top of the Christmas tree. All you need to do is take a bright white and do a line at the top following the tree outline.
  • Layer the same shade on the branches of the tree.
  • Add a bit of white to all the shadowed areas of the truck.
  • Outline the hubcap area with white.
  • Take the back of your paintbrush and dip it into your white paint. Then add dots all over your truck—this part is so fun! Just blob it on wherever you think will look good.

Paint on a Logo

This is an extra part that’s just for fun, but I like adding a little logo onto the truck’s door! This is a great way to add a little bit of personalization to your piece. You can add a symbol that’s special to you, or a monogram, or even a cute saying.

Of course, you can freehand these designs, but you can also do what I do and use a vinyl stencil. Again, you can buy these on Etsy, but you can also cut your own on something like a Cricut cutting machine.

Just add your stencil and blob on your paint! Or, if you want to freehand, use a small brush and go slow. Don’t worry—if you mess up, it’s only paint! It can be fixed…that’s part of why I love art!

Let Dry

That’s it! You can let this piece dry on it’s own for a few hours, or take a hair dryer on low and speed up the process a bit. If you display this outside, you may want to use a matte clear waterproofing spray paint after it dries to keep it protected from the elements.

How to Display the Truck and Tree

Now that you have this beautiful art piece created, let’s talk about how to show off your hard work! Here are a few ideas for you:

  • Attach a wire and make a door hanger
  • Make it into part of a Christmas wreath
  • Add it to your Christmas tree
  • Give it as a gift to friends and family (don’t forget to add a personal logo to the door of the truck for them!)
  • Display it on a shelf
  • Layer it on your mantle
Painted truck with a Christmas tree covered in snow

There are so many possibilities! You’ll love pulling out this one year after year. Enjoy and have FUN!

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