Maybe Matilda: Quick + Cheap Graphic Canvas Art

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quick + Cheap Graphic Canvas Art

I’m traveling outside my box today . . . far outside my box. So far from my warm, comfy box. Hold on to your hats, folks, there is no yarn in this project.

I tried my hand yesterday at making some artwork for Forrest’s bedroom (which you can see HERE). For the most part, I’m pleased with his bedroom and feel like it’s more or less completed (at least, it’s completed enough for my minimalist decorating taste), but there was one obvious area that I’ve kind of ignored . . . the space above his dresser:


I hung that mirror shortly after we moved into our house almost a year ago, but never really decided what else to do with that area. I had originally thought it would be cute to collect a few vintage toys to display on/around the mirror, but I only ever found one old toy that I liked, and Forrest lost it within like 10 minutes of purchase, so that didn’t pan out. But posting that picture above must have been the kick in the pants to finally make that spot look a little more on purpose.

Mirror Vignette with Quick DIY Canvas Art

(You are so welcome for the attention to detail I put into my photography and blog posts—the mirror still has the sticker tag on it [I’ve owned it for at least 4 years], and who can remember the last time it was washed? Not this perfectionistic Susie Homemaker.)

Sticker tags and finger smudges aside, that’s much cuter, isn’t it? The little ‘Say Your Prayers’ sign was a 50 cent thrift store purchase quite a few months back that I had never bothered to hang, so it took all of 5 minutes (5 precious minutes procrastinated for 6+ months) to hang it along with Forrest’s cute baby picture. But that left the spot to the left of the mirror empty, and I flipped through my Pinterest inspiration pics and found two cute canvas projects that I thought would look great and (hopefully!) be relatively easy to make: this cute wall art from The Embellished Nest, and this great herringbone canvas art from View Along The Way. I decided to combine the two—I loved the graphic layout of The Embellished Nest’s project, but preferred the painting style from View Along the Way’s art, so I picked my favorite parts of each project and went to work.

Cute Canvas Art for under $10

It came out far from perfect, but it’s good enough for me. I think it’s a cute little piece, and it was actually kind of fun to put together despite my serious lack of talent in the artwork/painting arena.

Here’s how I made this little canvas art, quick and painless, for under $10:

Graphic Canvas Art DIY

I bought:

- a 3-pack of 8 x 10” flat canvas panels from Walmart ($3.97 for the pack of 3)

- a few small acrylic paint bottles (57 – 97 cents each)

- package of foam brushes (I think $1 for 4 brushes?)

I used masking tape to lay out the design—two long vertical strips first, followed by smaller zig-zag strips. Measuring would have been smart; I just eyeballed it.

DIY Graphic Canvas Art

Make sure the edges of your masking tape are pressed down tightly. Since I peeled up and rearranged mine a few times, it probably wasn’t pressed down tightly enough, and I got some leakage underneath the paint. Part of the problem was that I initially tried to go for the ‘drippy’ paint look from View Along the Way’s Herringbone Art, and although I love how it looks on hers, it wasn’t working for me and I think the added water helped the paint work its way under my tape. Whoops!

Start adding your paint, blending each color with the next as you work your way down. I can’t say there’s a lot of technique here . . . I just started with my first color and painted a few horizontal strokes across, then when I was ready to fade into the next color, dipped my brush into the next color without cleaning off the first color so they blended together on the canvas. I tried to add some red at the bottom of the canvas to tie into the sign and photo, and got a swift elementary school art class reminder of what blue + red equals. Had to hide that with more blue; purple is not part of this room’s color scheme.

DIY Canvas Art Tutorial

I peeled off my tape while it was still wet, then waited until it was dry to go back with white paint and clean up some of the taped-off areas that the colors had leached onto under the tape. Once it was completely dry, I used a Command strip to hang it.

Quick and Easy DIY Canvas Art Tutorial

And there it is! A quick, simple, fun little painting project to fill that little space. I think it turned out cute, and now I have two extra canvases to play with. Don’t get too excited—very limited art skills over here.


  1. Cute. You, Kim, and Michelle all did canvases. I feel like maybe I should get with it! It looks great! I hope baby Matilda is going easy on the kicks!

  2. Fun! Taping things scares me. I had seepage. That's a gross word.


Thanks for commenting!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...