Little Acorns

By  Judy Shaw 

What a creative way to display your family history! Paint the same number of leaves as family members. If your family is still growing, paint extra leaves and add names later.

  • Little Acorns Top Half
  • Little Acorns Bottom Half
  • Leaf Closeup
  • Acorn Closeup
  • Full Image View


  • Barrel stave, in length that best fits number of leaves needed for your family. (Stave shown is 29”)
  • Delta Ceramcoat: Autumn Brown, Barn Red, Burnt Umber, Calypso Orange, Crocus, Dark Burnt Umber, Dark Goldenrod, Eggplant, Golden Brown, Maple Sugar Tan, Spice Brown, Trail Tan
  • Delta Gleams: Pale Gold


  • Loew-Cornell Paintbrushes: Angle shaders, 3/8”, 5/8”; JS (mid-length) liner, #1; Flats, 1-1/2”, #2, #0
  • Delta Gel Blending Medium
  • Exterior satin varnish

Basic Supplies

  • fine-grit sandpaper, tack cloth, black graphite (transfer) paper, cotton swabs

Pattern - Little Acorns

  • Note
  • 1. Use large flat to prep surface; angle shaders to basecoat and float on highlight and shading; liner for linework and twirls; small flats for lettering.
  • Preparation
  • 1. Sand front and sides of stave until smooth. Remove dust with tack cloth.
  • 2. Using large flat brush, moisten entire surface with gel blending medium, then pick up Burnt Umber and more gel on same brush. Work color over bottom seven inches of stave, letting the wood grain be visible. Repeat with Spice Brown on next seven to nine inches, blending color together where they meet and fading away toward the top. Let dry. Print out patterns. Using graphite, lightly transfer onto surface.
  • Leaves
  • 1. Basecoat Dark Goldenrod. Using a side-loaded brush, shade (xxx on patterns) and highlight (on opposite edges and vein line) in following order: shade Barn Red, highlight Calypso Orange; shade Burnt Umber, then Eggplant, highlight Crocus, then Pale Gold.
  • Stems & Veins
  • 1. Paint with liner and brush-mix of Burnt Umber and Eggplant.
  • 2. Add loose lines around leaves and twirls.
  • Acorns
  • 1. Basecoat Maple Sugar Tan. Wash tops Golden Brown. Using a cotton swab, dot with Autumn Brown. Let dry. Repeat with Spice Brown. Define bottom edges by dotting with a Dark Burnt Umber. Also shade between the acorns.
  • 2. Highlight along edge of tops with Trail Tan, then Pale Gold. Shade nut Golden Brown. Highlight Trail Tan. Use liner and Golden Brown to pull fine lines (see pattern). Repeat with Burnt Umber.
  • Lettering
  • 1. Basecoat with Barn Red. Use smallest flat to add family names on leaves.
  • Finishing
  • 1. Apply two coats of varnish, letting dry between each one.