DIY Canvas Art

I recently moved into a bigger place and my bedroom walls were completely bare! I wanted to do some decorating but I couldn’t really afford to spend a fortune on any artwork and didn’t really want to coat my room with posters. So, I decided to make some DIY artwork! Sounds intimidating right? No worries it can be easy and there are endless options when it comes to making your own canvas artwork. I decided to do a paper mache, newspaper background piece with an all black, painted silhouette. Here is what I did…

1.) Create a paper mache paste using Elmer’s glue and a splash of water. You can also use Mod Podge if you don’t want to make your own. Rip strips of newspaper and completely submerge the piece in the paste then lay it on the canvas. You really have a lot of control when using this strategy, you can place the strips where ever you like to get your desired look. Each strip of newspaper I placed on the canvas I put a little extra glue around the edges to make sure it was going to stay down and in place.

2.) After the canvas was completely covered in newspaper and dry, I sketched out the tree branches with a pencil. You will want to sketch lightly in case you make a mistake and need to erase. If you do not feel comfortable sketching free hand, there are many stencils available at craft stores or even online for you to print out. Or, if you want to avoid drawing completely, use letter stencils to write out your favorite song lyric or poem. The options are endless! After you have everything sketched out, start painting! I decided to go for a silhouette look so I stuck with black, but depending on what you decide to paint you may have many colors!

3.) I did about 3 coats of paint just to make sure that everything was evenly covered and there wasn’t any text coming through. After the paint was dry and I was finished, I sealed the paint and newspaper with a clear varnish. The varnish ads an extra shine to the artwork and makes sure the newspaper won’t curl up over time.

This project was fairly easy, and I had a lot of fun doing it! The final cost of the project including the canvas, paint, paint brush and varnish all came to around $30. A little more expensive than a poster, but will last a lot longer and it’s custom made by you!

For my next DIY canvas artwork I’m thinking a paper mache postcard background, with a Palm tree silhouette and a sepia lacquer to finish it off! Will post pics soon!

Let me know what you come up with!



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6 thoughts on “DIY Canvas Art

  1. Cool! Im going to have my sons do this for their rooms, they will love it.

  2. Reblogged this on Brown Girl Goes Green and commented:
    I like this idea. Thanks.

  3. jazmb says:

    This is really creative, I like it ! You wrote something about trying it a second time with post cards – can you use post cards for paper mache as well ?

    • barexbones says:

      Yes! You can paper mache with a lot of different materials! With post cards however, I would recommend a little more soaking time in the paper mache paste. Also, they do not bend as easily as say a newspaper mache would, so I would not use post cards on a curved/cornered surface. Post card paper mache works great on flat surfaces like a canvas, but I would be sure to finish your artwork with a varnish or some sort of sealant. Let me know if you try it out!


  4. I love this collage, and especially the look of the newspaper. I wonder if sealing it in will keep it from yellowing more as it ages. The additional yellowing can be quite nice depending on the piece, and may compliment your sepia lacquer! But maybe it needs to be in contact with air for that to happen? Anyway, fabulous work!

  5. Hashim1211 says:

    What kind of paint did you use? Oil colors, acrlyc…..?

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