Want some inspiration for a more artistic backyard beehive? Check out my list of 5 ways to deck out your hives! This article is also infused with practical information about how to balance functionality and style.
Why settle for just one color when you can have a plethora or artistic splashes? Turn your hives into an abstract painting! I recommend searching for color combinations you enjoy, then selecting a set number of colors based on that. Good resources for finding color combinations can often be found on design blogs and Pintrest boards. Once you’ve chosen your colors, purchase quarts or even the smaller sample paint containers. Choose one or two of the colors to be your base and get a good coat on your hive before attempting artistic strokes. This will ensure your hives is weatherproofed. Then have fun getting artsy! While painting the hive above, I found that the key to making this style look great was to do several layers of painterly markmaking, letting each one dry in-between. Try different brushes or even sponges to get different effects.
Practical information: Take care to select a base color that is a light shade and use dark colors sparingly. A predominantly darkly painted hive may cause temperature issues within.
Some beekeepers prefer a more illustrative style of painting for their hives. If you have the talent, your options are endless! I’ve seen everything from landscapes to folk-art style imagery. After you’ve spent hours creating your work of art, don’t forget to protect it from the elements with a clear layer of Polyurethane sealant. If you don’t have the artistic ability required for this style hive, you still have options! You can hire an artist to custom paint your hive for you. The artist who painted the image to the right sells hand-painted hive boxes on in her Etsy Shop. You can also make use of stencils if you still want to go the DIY route, but still think you need a little guidance.
Practical information: Never paint the inside of your beehive. Paint should only be applied on the outside walls.
If you are looking for a hive with a modern edge, try painting in a graphic style. This is also something that could be achieved more easily for those who don’t have tremendous painting skills. Find a color scheme you like and then combine simple stripes, shapes and lines to make up your design. Try using masking tape to help you keep the edges clean and straight. I love these hives by Instagram user @honey_fingers!
Practical information: Consider the finish when purchasing your paint. High gloss finishes will collect less dirt. Flat finishes tend to look grubby after just a short while.
You can create a truly beautiful beehive with just simple patterns. These can be done more elaborately by hand or you can use stencils. You can choose anything from an elaborate art nouveau flower pattern to a simple scallop outline. I used spray paint to quickly apply this scalloped pattern on the right.
Practical Information: Some natural beekeepers are wary of using any paint at all because so the potential toxicity. Personally, I don’t think it does any harm if you keep it on the outside of your boxes, but there are some natural alternatives. Check out milk paint!
A creative beehive need not be rendered in paint only. Consider adding some architectural character. You can do this simply by creating different handles or an elaborate roof. If you really want to create a masterpiece though, you can convert your hive into what looks like an actual house! One of my clients designed this hive to match her house. DIY dollhouse materials are perfect for this. You can often purchase a variety of different style sidings, wooden doors and windows and roof materials.
Practical Information: Pay close attention to weight and utility when making architectural changes to your hives. You need to be able to grab the handles on the sides of your boxes to lift them and aside from having access to those handles consider that any delicate pieces may break or fall off. You also need to be able to lift the weight. Remember, once you hive is full of bees and honey, it can be incredibly heavy. If you’ve added a lot of extra weight with your designs, you might regret it.