Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Craft Corner : DIY Canvas Art

Hello again! Wow, a month really rolls around quickly..

While I've spent the last week denying that it will be MARCH next week, I've also been doing a bit of painting with my girl. Over the Christmas holidays I decided our bedroom needed a freshen up. New linen has been purchased, and I feel a strong urge to purchase spray paint and give our bedside lamps a facelift. But most of all, I'm bored with all the art hanging above our bed. It's been the same for two years now and as with most things over time, I've outgrown it. Of course, the husband couldn't care less which means free creative reign for me.

I have been eyeing off a beautiful big canvas at our local art store, hoping and praying, each time I walked past, that they would have a massive sale and I would have enough pennies to buy it. Hasn't happened. And I'm tired of waiting. So I decided I would make my own - but on a budget.

There was no way I could recreate the painting I had been dreaming of (clever artist having painted ACTUAL people) so I had to go in a new direction. Instantly, I had a rough idea of what I wanted, and knew my girl would want to help so had to be sure it would be something the control freak in me could manage to let go of.

So I collected some supplies. Even this part required some new direction of thought. I wanted something big (approximately 1m x 1.5m) and struggled to find a reasonably priced canvas. Parting with $200+ for the canvas alone seemed silly, when I was meant to be on a budget. So I decided two large canvases joined together would do the job (2 x 1m x 75cm canvas, $20 each from The Reject Shop). I doubt Neale Whitaker is coming to inspect our home any time soon, so I am sure it will suffice.

How to join them together? Quickest trip in history to Masters saw me leave with three pieces of thin, lightweight timber (42mm x 1200mm x 6mm, approx $3.50 each) to run horizontally across the back of my canvases, in line with the frames.

Line your canvases up, place your first piece of support timber in place, drive a couple of thin nails in at key points for best support; repeat for remaining two pieces of timber, and you're done.

Next step - paint! Given my kids' love of painting, we have plenty of brushes and watercolour paints, but only a small collection of acrylics, which are necessary for this type of canvas (or oil based paints). Not quite enough for the scale of this project so I bought a few more tubes from our local bits and pieces store (Monte Marte, $7 for a twelve piece set or $2.50 per large tube). Buy yourself a packet of plastic plates. I haaaate cleaning up acrylic paint and the best method I have found is to use plastic plates - because you just throw them out when you're done! Soak your used brushes in hot water and the paint will come away easily.

The problem with attaching the two canvases together meant there was a small gap that needed to be concealed as best as possible. Given the style of painting I was going for - haphazard, uneven texture - this worked fairly well. While not completely invisible, I was fairly happy with our putty style of painting down the centre of the canvas. We went over it a couple of times in varying directions which seemed to work well.

The picture I had in my head was big, bold blocks of colour, mashed together. Pretty easy really! And even if we stuffed it up.. we could say it was meant to be that way. Because we are the artists. Snort!

We did this over the course of four days, more so because that is what our schedule would allow for, stealing half hour painting sessions here and there. I also found it better to have a break and step away to decide what colour/area to do next. I highly recommend painting in the early morning light, still in your pjs, before the school rush begins.

I'm really happy with how it turned out. Half of it was painted very close to sun down because I kept falling asleep putting the kids to bed when I knew I needed to be painting.. but of course, that was the plan all along! So says the artist..

So, the all important budget. We came in under $70 for this project; one tenth of the price of the PROPER art I had been lusting after. Now that IS something the husband DOES care about! Once we give our room a little spruce over the weekend and hang our painting, I can see it will give just the right lift I was hoping for.

Above all - budget restraints aside - this was really fun to do. And very therapeutic! My girl is already onto her own canvas for her bedroom. If you've got a budding little artist under your roof, I say give it a go - small or large scale, whatever takes your fancy.


YAY! Thanks so much Tahnee, it looks brilliant and I'm pretty keen to see that bedroom makeover (perhaps for March?? HINT HINT). 

You can love all over Tahnee at her personal blog Milk Please Mum


  1. I love this post Emily you clever girl and letting your big girl help is a great side a,you can make so many cheap things for around the hose enjoy lovely xx

  2. WOW!! what an amazing artist she is!!!!!

  3. What can I day... Tahnee is just one awesome lady! So glad to see her talent here too :)

    Sophie xo

  4. So glad you had fun! My daughter wants to do this with friends at her birthday party. Thanks for the quick tips!

  5. MY ART EXHIBITION is on this weekend in Sydney if anyone is interested in whimsical art.
    Tahnee, you are one creative mamma x

  6. Awesome! I really like it! : )

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  8. I am so glad that i have seen exclusive canvas design in your blog and i have got idea from this. All the photos are so stylish and gorgeous and people will gonna crazy when they will see it. Thanks.

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  11. beautiful,I can't believe the little princess could have done this adorable painting with 55printing,Tahnee you have got amazing skills in your hand keep it up

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em