This is my new favorite craft project! It is a little time consuming though but you could almost get it don't in a day if you are organized :) Start with a canvas and decoupage some newspaper around the sides, you will be putting burnt book pages on the top but the paper is pretty thick its hard to get it to wrap around the sides.
Rip the book pages. Pages with larger paragraphs look better in my opinion that ones with alot of gaps. Rip several shapes so you can piece them together easily later.
WARNING!! Get a large bowl of water ready in case one of the pages gets out of hand. It would probably be a good idea to do this outside on a sidewalk or something not on a kitchen table with paper all around you but well whatever :P
Singe the edges of the pages with a candle - stay in a well ventilated area because the ink could very well be toxic... IF a page gets out of control blow on it fast and forcefully and it should do out, I learned that blowing too lightly will just make the page burn faster. You can also drop a page into your bowl or water and then take it out and let it dry if you still want to use it.
To get the smudged look it worked better to use a candle with a large wick that has a large flame. you can also take some ashes from other pages and smear it with your finger onto the page but I didn't like that look so much.
Mix Elmer's glue and water to get a paste and glue the pages onto your canvas. It works best to bruch on the glue to the canvas and the backside of the page - it sticks better and then do another coat on the whole thing to seal it and make it shiny.
Make some templates the size of your canvas from computer paper. Sketch a tree branch onto your paper and then cut it out to make a stencil.
I am a TERRIBLE artist, I can barely draw a stick figure that looks remotely like a homosapian. However some tips I have for making a branch look real are to get an image off google to work from. Make the branches get smaller as you move away from the trunk and end a branch by it dividing.
Trace the branches onto your canvas. You made your paper template the size of your canvas so this should fit on your canvas perfectly.
I used acrylic paint, shiny black.
I got the bird silhouettes from google, you can also cut them out of a magazine. I used a black sharpie and colored them in to make them look like a silhouette. Decoupage them on. What you will find is the glue changes the color of the black paint on the branches so just go back and touch up the spots that have dried glue on them with more paint.