Wow-worthy art can carry a hefty price tag. Unleash your inner artist with a make-it-yourself masterpiece that’s thrifty and fun.

By Pamela Porter Jeni Wright and Jason Donnelly
July 08, 2019

You can't find artwork more personal than those you create yourself. Plus, is there anything more satisfying than displaying your masterpiece? Make the ultimate statement artwork for your mantel or gallery wall with this DIY modern art. We even have a downloadable pattern to make it easy. Want to be even more true-to-you? Try your hand at an original design! We'll show you how to do both, below.

How to Make Easy Abstract Art

Abstract shapes like this one can be hung vertically or horizontally to suit your space. Choose your preferred design, and get started!

Supplies Needed

  • 3/4-inch Baltic birch plywood
  • Pattern download
  • Clear frisket film
  • Straightedge
  • Crafts knife
  • Spray paint in various colors (we used Montana Cans brand)
  • Clear spray varnish
  • 1x3-inch pine boards
  • Table saw
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • L brackets
Download the Pattern

Step-by-Step Directions

To get the best results with your art pieces, invest in quality materials. Higher-end spray paints, acrylics, and watercolors might be a few bucks more but worth it in the long run.

Step 1: Prep Materials

Gather all the necessary materials. Have your local home center cut plywood to the desired size when you purchase it. We love a large, statement piece for a mantel!

Step 2: Trace Pattern

Print pattern and take it to a copy shop to enlarge to desired size. Cut out overall pattern, tape to plywood, and trace lightly using a pencil. Cut pattern into its smaller pieces, tape to the plywood one by one, and trace until complete design is transferred to the plywood. Cover the transferred design with

clear self-adhering frisket film, burnishing with your fingers or a straightedge to adhere securely.

Want to draw your own design? Grab a pencil and paper and try a continuous line drawing technique. Simply start drawing an organic shape and without lifting your pencil cross over lines and back in a fluid motion, dividing the shape into sections until you’re happy with the look. Vary the section sizes so you have a mix of small, medium, and large.

Step 3: Spray First Section

Using a crafts knife, cut through the frisket along each line in the design. Peel up one section of frisket and carefully set aside. On a protected work surface and in a well-ventilated room, spray the exposed area using desired paint color. When dry, replace the piece of frisket to this area.

Step 4: Continue Design

Peel up the next section of frisket and set aside. Spray this area the desired color, let dry, and replace frisket. Continue until the design is finished, leaving one or two smaller shapes unpainted. Remove all the frisket. Spray clear varnish over the entire surface.

Step 5: Build Frame

Build a frame on the back of the plywood by cutting lengths of 1x3-inch boards long enough to mount on edge about 4 inches from all sides. Screw boards together and then use L brackets to secure the frame to the back of the plywood. The frame provides a lip from which to hang the artwork and also holds the piece out from the wall to create a relief and shadowing.

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