This DIY Watercolor Wall Art Is Perfect For Beginners

You don't have to be a pro painter to make a piece of large-scale abstract artwork. This freeform swirling pattern is simple to create (and forgiving of flaws).

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Skill Level: Kid-friendly

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

Related: Our Easiest Canvas Art Ideas

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Foam brush
  • 1 Empty condiment bottle


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


  1. Apply Water to Canvas

    Saturate your blank canvas using 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 before you get to it.

  2. Apply Watercolor Paint

    Add a few drops of watercolor paint to your canvas, gradually adding more 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 the edges with your initial color using your foam brush.

    Editor's Tip: If you've added too much water or paint to one area, you can use a paper towel to lightly blot up the excess.

  3. Create Swirls with Watercolor Techniques

    For this project, we used a few different techniques to move the paint around the canvas. To mimic the same look, you can pick up the canvas and tilt it gently to blend colors or press down on the canvas in desired spots so that the ink pools into the impression. You can also 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.

    Editor's Tip: To achieve organic swirls and prevent your colors from turning muddy, don't manipulate the paint too much beyond the techniques shown.

  4. Let Dry and Frame (Optional)

    large framed watercolor swirl artwork and bench
    Marty Baldwin

    Allow your artwork to dry on a flat surface overnight. Watercolors dry quickly, so your canvas will likely feel dry within a few hours. If desired, you can 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.

    Related: 3 Easy Watercolor Art Techniques Anyone Can Do

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