Easy Canvas Wall Art Projects

Paint, mixed media, three dimensional -- these do-it-yourself wall art projects have it all. Grab a blank canvas, decide on a favorite idea, and make a one-of-a-kind work of art for your space.

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    DIY Artwork

    Art doesn't need to match your sofa, and it doesn't need to be centered above it, either. Build from a neutral background, like we did with this wall, sofa, and rug, to make artwork with different themes work as a cohesive whole. Don't be afraid to set artwork on the floor -- it gives you more space to work with and integrates the art into every level of the room.

    Note: Each of these art projects starts with a plain stretched canvas, available at crafts stores. See the following slides for details of each canvas project and tips for completing your own.

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    Easy Fabric Art

    If you're new to the DIY game, or just need some quick art, try this project, which starts with a yard of fabric and a canvas. Watch and see how it comes together. (And just how simple it is!)

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    Flowery Sentiments

    For the base: Paint several sheets of newspaper with a thin coat of black watercolor paint. Tear paper into strips and decoupage onto canvas. (Reserve extra.) Cut out flower shapes and adhere to canvas with removable double-stick tape to create a mask. Paint the entire canvas with gray acrylic paint. Remove flower shapes and tape. Paint flowers with a light coat of gray acrylic paint so words show through. For the flower embellishments: Cut out circles of newspaper in descending sizes from plain newspaper and black-painted newspaper. Stack six layers and attach with a brad. Cut slits to give each flower dimension. Use scrapbooking adhesive to adhere flowers to canvas. For the words: Use watercolors to paint paper in shades of orange, pink, and red. Let dry. Type and print desired words from your computer onto painted paper. Cut out each line and adhere to canvas with scrapbooking adhesive. Project by Kimberly Metz, Do It Yourself art director

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    Graphics Rule

    Paint canvases off-white (we used two). Let dry. Set canvases side by side. Paint a thick coat of paint in a dark color onto one side of a yardstick. Press it down so it lies across both canvases. Reload paint and apply in another direction across both canvases. Move the canvases to another position and repeat, using different colors, until you are happy with the design. Project by Molly Reid Sinnett, Team DIY designer

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    Waste Makes Wonderful

    Paint canvas using several shades of green acrylic paint. Vary thickness of layers to create a mottled effect. Scrape dried paint skins off of old paint tubes, palettes, brushes, drop cloths, and other paint tools. Use decoupage medium to adhere them to the canvas. Let dry. Frame canvas with wood remnants. Project by Michele Beschen, Team DIY Salvage Style designer

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    Flip for Drips

    Coat canvas with metallic spray paint. (Brian used Rust-Oleum in Stainless Steel because of its low-luster finish.) Let dry. Dilute pearlized or metallic acrylic crafts paint with water to create a liquid with a subtle shimmer. (Concentration can be as thin as three drops of paint per 1/2 cup water, or as thick as 1 tablespoon paint per 1/4 cup water.) Create two or three colors. Put each into a separate empty shampoo bottle. Set canvas at a steep angle (put newspaper or an old shower curtain underneath to catch drips). Carefully drip first color along top edge, allowing it to run down the front of the canvas in desired pattern. Allow to dry. Rotate canvas 180 degrees and repeat process with remaining colors. Create a frame from old floorboards cut to size. Nail directly to canvas frame. Project by Brian Kramer, Team DIY designer

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    Flight of Fancy

    Paint canvas with gray acrylic paint. Let dry. Pull pages from a discarded book. Paint top edge of 15 to 20 pages with turquoise acrylic paint. Let dry. Roll each page in a teardrop shape and use white glue to adhere to canvas to form a row across the canvas. For the flowers: Paint one book page pink. Let dry. Cut an imperfect circle and snip outside edges to create fringe. Glue to canvas as flower base. Cut a large circle from another page. Starting at the outside edge and working toward the center, cut a spiral into the circle. Twist and glue the spiral into a flower shape. Glue flower shape to fringed pink circle. Use turquoise acrylic paint to lightly coat the ends of feathers. When dry, glue feathers to canvas. Use turquoise paint to freehand-paint leaves near some of the flowers. Project by Leslie Poyzer, Team DIY designer

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    Add Color with Canvas

    Start your day off bright. Colorful artwork sings against a gray wall. By grouping art around a color family -- blue -- we could add bits of oranges, pinks, and greens without overwhelming the space. Use your favorite words and phrases to inspire you every time you see your artwork.

    Note: See the following slides for details of each canvas project and tips for completing your own.

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    Swatch Watch

    Choose three shades of the same acrylic paint color. Tape off canvas into thirds. Paint lightest shade on top third of canvas, medium shade on middle third, and darkest shade on bottom. Remove tape. Let dry. Add fun color names with white paint. Project by Jessica Hansen, Team DIY intern

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    Plant Stamps

    Start with bok choy or celery from the grocery store. Chop stalks 2 to 3 inches from bottom of bok choy or celery. Blot off moisture and let dry for an hour. Pour dark blue crafts paint onto paper plate. Use bok choy or celery end as a stamp: Press cut end into paint, then onto canvas in random pattern. Let dry. Repeat with lighter blue color, overlapping as desired. Project by Pamela Porter, Team DIY designer

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    Paint Time

    Tape off or cover each third of the canvas separately to paint in three shades of blue. Let dry between coats. Use store-bought stencils and a foam pouncer to paint words atop the base coats. Buy a clock mechanism (or take apart an old clock). Paint clock hands blue. From the back of the canvas, poke the "stem" of the clock mechanism through to the front of the canvas, securing the back to hold it in place. Cut thin strips of paint-color chips and arrange them in a fanlike pattern around a circle. Use decoupage medium to adhere strips to the canvas. Project by Brianne Sanchez, Team DIY designer

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    Map It Out

    Start with a vintage map, or soak a new map in strong, cold coffee to give it a weathered look. Let dry. Use decoupage medium to adhere map to canvas. Let dry. Use highlighters to write notes, trace roads, or draw hearts and shapes on the map. Lightly tape stencils spelling desired phrase onto map and fill in using paint markers. Remove stencils; let dry. Project by Bethany Kohoutek, Do It Yourself editor

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    Graphic Statement

    We love this combination of graphic (lyrics to a punk-rock song and heavy black lines) and girly (the bird and flower and feathers). The addition of a picture ledge adds variety to an otherwise two-dimensional display and affords bonus space to prop favorite objects that complement your art collection.

    Note: See the following slides for details of each canvas project and tips for completing your own.

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    Stenciling is Key

    Place an oversize decorative key (found at crafts stores) on canvas and paint around it with green acrylic paint. Dry-brush around the canvas edges to give perimeter a rough, textured look. Purchase or make (print from computer and cut out) word stencils. Lightly tape stencils in place. Use a foam pouncer to add black paint to letters. Project by Katie Leporte, Team DIY designer

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    Fine Art Flower

    Paint canvas black using oil paint. Let dry. Snap and print a photo or find an image in a magazine of a flower against a dark backdrop to use as inspiration. Use oil paint, brushes, and artist's knives to freehand-paint the flower image, blending and shading where necessary to achieve desired tonal dimension. Project by Meredith Ladik, Team DIY designer

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    In Line

    Paint canvas a deep neutral color using oil paint. Enlarge a simple, graphic pattern or theme. (Meredith was inspired by a steel sculpture in a park near her home.) Using the image as inspiration, load black oil paint onto a brush and apply in thick, steady strokes. Project by Meredith Ladik, Team DIY designer

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    Branch Out

    Spray-paint canvas sky blue. Let dry. Freehand-draw bird image (or search online for "bird silhouette") onto patterned wrapping paper. Cut out. Freehand-draw branch onto canvas, then fill in with paint. Let dry. Use decoupage medium to adhere bird cutout to branch. Use two sizes of foam pouncers and two shades of pink acrylic paint to create flowers on branch. Puncture canvas with a needle or tip of fine-point scissors. Push the wire end of a silk flower through canvas. Curl wire to keep flower in place. Project by Lacey Howard, Do It Yourself group editor

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    Stitch in No Time

    Draw a geometric design all over the canvas using a pencil and ruler. Using a diluted watercolor wash, fill in each shape with complementary colors. Let dry. Freehand-draw feathers onto canvas. Using a curved upholstery needle and yarn, embroider the feathers' outlines. Project by Alexa Fornoff, Do It Yourself assistant editor

  • Next Slideshow 39 Blank Wall Solutions

    39 Blank Wall Solutions

    Sick of staring at a cold, stark, empty wall? Infuse it with warmth and style by adding creative artwork.
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