How to make your own canvas wall art

Canvas art

If this canvas could talk, it would tell you that it’s been painted over and over again quite a few times. It’s all about up-cycling. Last year I wrote “diy wall art” on it. This week I decided to refresh it with a sweet Valentine note. This DIY is super easy to do, requires very few things and makes a great affordable piece of wall décor. And of course you could adapt this project for any other occasion or message.

Supplies I’ve used:

  • Wall canvas
  • Drop cloth
  • Paint tray, paint roller & stick, latex paint (leftover from a bedroom refresh)
  • Pencil and a Sharpie paint marker

how to make your own canvas art - supplies you'll need

Here’s what I did:

  1. I set the canvas on the moving boxes which made it easy to paint the sides without touching the floor as I was painting.
  2. Then I painted the top, over the existing writing. It took 4 coats of paint to cover the previous black Sharpie art. (Obviously, if you’re starting with a blank canvas, you can skip this step, or do only one or two coats to prime the canvas, depending what colour you’re using). In between paint coats, I’d wrap the roller and tray in a plastic bag to prevent them from drying.
Note: Make sure to allow enough drying time between each coat, and wait till it’s completely dry before writing on it.
Canvas art
Writing on the canvas:
  1. I used a Sharpie paint marker because it was easy to use and I didn’t have to mess with more paint. It worked extremely well. Make sure to read the instructions before using it to avoid any extra paint blur messing up your canvas. Also, don’t press too hard; you don’t want to make a hole in the canvas.
  2. You can certainly use a stencil to make your art, but I thought I’d do it free-hand. To avoid any “screw-ups”, I practiced on a large piece of paper first. After testing different fonts, I opted for cursive writing because the look was soft, feminine and somewhat more romantic. After all, it was a Valentine piece.
Canvas art
Once I figured out the font, I placed my test page over the canvas to see how it would look. It also helped me determine how close to the left edge to start writing and how far from the bottom. It seems like fussy details, but because I had already painted the canvas 4 times I wanted to make sure I was 100% confident when writing.
Canvas art
And voilà, my masterpiece!
Canvas art
Since I’m French “Je t’aime” seemed like the perfect expression for me to use for this Valentine project. The sky’s the limit in terms of what to write on your canvas. Caution though: the more words you pick, the more complicated it gets. Keeping the writing aligned and straight can be a bit nerve-wracking.

Once you’ve decided on the words, decide if you’ll hang the canvas vertically or horizontally. If you happen to know where you’ll be hanging the canvas when done, that helps too.

Canvas art

Instead of simply dotting the “i”, I went fancy with little heart-shaped gold stickers to emphasize the Valentine theme. Since they’re easy to peel off, I can simply use the Sharpie to add a dot if I change my mind. I could have used red hearts, but since I’ll be displaying the canvas on my wall for a while (until I’m ready to paint it again), I didn’t’ want it to scream Valentine. Subtle was the way to go.

Hanging a large canvas can be awkward because often it’s as wide as your arms can spread open – the easiest way to hang it, is with CanvasHangers as seen in this short video:

Considering how popular the canvas art trend is and how affordable it is, I’m thinking of making a couple of larger pieces to cover a big blank wall I have at home. Stay tuned for more canvas projects coming to the blog soon.

If you’ve made a canvas before, do you have any tips you’d like to share?


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