How to Hack a Wood Canvas

Is it a box? A frame? An artist's canvas? Let these DIY wood canvas projects inspire your creative spirit.

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    Tray Chic

    A basswood canvas gets enlisted as a serving tray with the addition of paint, peel-and-stick wallpaper, and cabinet drawer pulls. Prime and paint the canvas, then cut wallpaper to line the tray bottom. We used a custom-size peel-and-stick Woven Wallpaper from Spoonflower, but shelf liner, a decal, or any surface with an easy-to-clean, protective coating works, too. Smooth in place.

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    Handle with Care

    No serving tray is complete without easy lifting. For the handles, mark the positions of the drawer pull's screw holes onto the outer face of the canvas's two short sides. Drill holes and attach drawer handles with screws. You're ready for tea and company!

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    Light Bright

    Illuminate a hallway or mantel with a night-light fashioned from a basswood canvas and white LED string lights. Trace a design or pattern onto the canvas and mark where the holes should be. Use an awl to gently press pilot holes at the dots. To prevent splintering, drill pilot holes at the awl marks using a bit slightly smaller than the individual lightbulb. Next, using a drill bit the size of the bulbs, enlarge the holes. Poke lights through the design from the back and plug in. TIP: Score a deal by purchasing the lights after the holiday season.

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    Get in Gear

    Showcase curious collectibles from your junk drawer as a slick, painted shadow box inspired by the found-object sculptures of Louise Nevelson. Gather an assortment of items with intriguing shapes, profiles, or three-dimensional relief surfaces. Invert a basswood canvas and plot items inside in layers. When the design is to your liking, glue the objects in place. Allow glue from each layer to dry.

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    Miscellaneous Metallics

    Cover everything in an all-surface, spray-on primer. Allow to fully dry, then coat with copper spray paint. Attach a picture hanger to the smooth side of the canvas, and hang your junk-gone-art.

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    Drop Box

    Make peace with a busy back entry: Utilize wood canvases as organizers. Have young family members personalize square basswood frames with paint to designate their coat and backpack hooks.

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    Dinner Reminder

    Coat a miniature canvas with chalkboard paint. Glue it into an 8×8×1-3/4-inch canvas, then mount it inside the frame. Use it for posting reminders and jotting notes. This family uses theirs to announce the dinner menu.

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    Hang and Repeat

    Stash keys on press-on hooks and phones in a small mesh cup (hung from a small brad or two). Hang all the canvases on the wall using hook-and-loop strips or screws. Arrange in a gridlike pattern to imbue a sense of order or sporadically for a more artsy gallery wall.

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