This DIY Abstract Watercolor Art Is Perfect for Beginners

You don't have to be a professional painter to make this large-scale abstract artwork. Its free-form swirling pattern is simple to create (and forgiving of flaws), and a DIY frame elevates the look of inexpensive canvas.

Create your own large-scale watercolor artwork with this simple swirling technique.

This easy canvas art is just what your blank wall needs. Although it’s made with watercolor paints (so you might get your hands a little dirty in the process), the swirling modern design is a far cry from your school-day artwork of yesteryear. You can create the easy watercolor artwork in about an hour or less, depending on how long it takes to reach your desired look. Finish your masterpiece with an inexpensive frame made from painted wood lattice strips.

Related: Our Easiest Canvas Art Ideas


  • Working Time 1 Hour
  • Start to Finish 24 Hours
  • Difficulty         Projects Easy

What you need


  • Foam brush
  • Empty condiment bottle


  • White canvas
  • Water
  • Watercolors
  • Paper towels, as needed

How to do it

Step 1 Apply Water to Canvas

Saturate your blank canvas with a foam brush and water. If you are using a large canvas, it’s easiest to work in quadrants down the page so the water at the bottom doesn’t dry up before you get to it.

Step 2 Apply Watercolors

Add a few drops of watercolor to your canvas, then gradually add water until the color begins to spread. You can use either liquid watercolors in a dropper bottle or watercolor tubes for this project—or both mixed together. We used a combination of Reeves tube watercolors (for the peachy tones) and Dr. Ph. Martin’s Synchromatic Transparent Water Color (for the blue-gray). Add a second color and blend edges with your initial color using your foam brush.

Step 3 Create Swirls with Watercolor Techniques

We used a few different techniques to move the paint around the canvas. Pick up the canvas and tilt it gently to blend colors. Press down on the canvas in desired spots so that the ink pools into the impression. Squeeze an empty condiment bottle at an angle to blow the ink around. Add additional colors and water until you are satisfied with the texture and saturation of your design. Use the watercolor painting techniques to work your way across the canvas in quadrants.

Step 4 Let Dry and Frame (Optional)

Let your artwork dry overnight. Watercolors dry quickly, so your canvas will likely feel dry within a few hours. If desired, frame your canvas with painted wood lattice strips. Simply cut them to fit each side of your canvas then use a brad nailer to attach the pieces for a professional look.

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