DIY Wall Art Projects

Pretty works of art don't always have to come from the pros. Check out these creative do-it-yourself wall art ideas to spruce up the bare walls throughout your home.

Make Your Mark

Even if your art skills are elementary, doodle on! With a marker in hand, you can create one-of-a-kind wall art and unexpected updates for basic home decor in an afternoon. Write a favorite poem, quote, or song lyric on a fabric scrap, then frame and enjoy. Draw a simple picture, then employ a blending technique to make it special.

Use vegetables as stamps to make artwork for your home. Learn how to use sweet potatoes, squash, and potatoes as stamps to create one-of-a-kind prints that are budget-friendly and unique.

DIY Stamped Art

The secret behind this DIY art? Vegetables. Watch and learn how to use produce to create easy, one-of-a-kind works of art.

Colorful Collage

Color blocking is a hot fashion trend that is being picked up in the home decor world, too. Choose a palette of colors and try out these color-blocking wall art technique. 

Wrapped in Color

Get wrapped up with this great wall art idea. Embellish a flat frame with varying widths of wrapped twine on opposite corners. The fresh, bright, and versatile accents add color and texture to the simple frame. Complete the look by displaying a twine-wrapped papier-mache letter inside the frame opening. Simply purchase a letter at your local crafts store, wrap it in baker’s twine in a color of your choice, and attach a matching ribbon to the back.

The Ombre Effect

Wow your walls with wonderful wall art you can print at home. Trim a large, gradient-style paint chip to a standard photo size such as 4x6 or 5x7 inches. Find a photo on your computer, convert it to black and white, and adjust your settings to print to the size you cut the paint chip to. Feed the paint chip into your ink-jet printer and print the photo. For a colorful wall display, arrange the photos in vertical frames and hang as a set.

Embroidered Canvas

Thick yarn in natural colors is used to create this botanical wall art. Frame it for a rustic look that continues the nature theme. Gather up your materials and follow our step-by-step instructions to create your own threaded wall art.

Photo Blocks

Get your favorite photos out of the attic or off of your digital camera and onto the wall. Start by combining crafts paint with a splash of water, then use a foam brush to paint 4x6-inch blocks. One they’re dry, mount the photos onto blocks using spray adhesive. Use removable, wall-safe adhesive strips to arrange the blocks in a pattern on the wall.

Tips for Choosing Photos: Keep the grouping cohesive. Choose images from a special vacation, shots of your garden in bloom, or vintage family photos. Use black-and-white photos for sophisticated appeal.

Give It a Swirl

Nail polish is the surprise ingredient for "marbling" slick surfaces, such as this medium density fiberboard (MDF). Pour 2 inches of water in a shallow container larger than the surface of your wall art. The container can be glass, aluminum, or plastic. Pour a thin film of fingernail polish on top of the water. (Tip: Use new polish, as polish from old or open bottles tends to congeal.) This first layer of polish will coat the entire surface of the water. Then drizzle on darker colors to create a swirly shapes. Use a toothpick to combine colors organically. Work quickly, as nail polish is designed to dry in minutes. When you're happy with your design, lightly dip the surface of your piece onto the polish and lift straight up. Pour in fresh polish for each subsequent piece you are going to paint. Let dry for at least 24 hours. (We also used this technique on the slick surface of the drawer fronts on the desk shown here.)

Dates on Display

Commemorate milestones on birch disks painted with chalkboard circles, and display them in a frame. Simply cover a piece of foam core with a collage of patterned paper and place it in a picture frame. The style of the frame and patterns of the paper will determine what look you're going for -- elegant, fun, kid-friendly, and so on. Banners or other chalkboard-covered surfaces provide space for writing, while the birch disks are fit for individual numbers or letters.

String Artwork

To make this tree-motif string art piece, coat a piece of plywood with black interior latex paint. Sketch a tree lightly in pencil. Begin pounding 1-inch white nails into the plywood along the design at random intervals. Tie nylon cord to the lowest, left-hand nail and begin looping the cord around the surrounding nails. Keep the nylon taught at all times. Work your way up the tree and extend out to each branch, ending at the top. Tie a tight knot at the top nail. Finish by tying 2-inch pieces of color cording to a few nails at the tips of the branches. Display in an oversize frame, or cut and miter molding to border the plywood.

Stenciled Wall Art

A blank white wall in this dining room gets a boost of color thanks to a brightly colored stenciled canvas. To get the look, stencil an ikat pattern (or any other pattern you like) onto canvas and stretch it over 1x2-inch boards at the top and bottom.

Printable Wall Art

Re-creating this small art piece is simple with this free download. Simply download, print, and frame, or use a photo-transfer method to put the print on canvas or a block of wood.

Go to the next slide to see how to photo-transfer.

Use favorite photos in your home's decor. Learn how to photo transfer with this crafty DIY project.

How to Photo-Transfer

Watch this video and learn how to photo-transfer.

DIY Dahlia Prints

A play off of the light fixture, the artwork in this dining room depicts deconstructed dahlias. Simply print the images (link below) on veneer paper and sandwich them between two sheets of plexiglass. Find sheets of clear plexiglass at a home center, where store associates can help you cut them to the proper size.

Keyed In

Unlock the secret to creative wall art with this quick and easy project. Apply white acrylic paint in vertical brushstrokes to the entire surface of a stretched canvas. While the paint is still wet, add a few thin gray lines and blend using vertical brushstrokes to create a striated appearance. When the paint is dry, use twine to tie a vintage key to the front of the canvas.

Simple Colored Canvases

A contemporary take on whitewashing, these canvases are sure to add a splash of subtle color to your blank walls. We coated blank white canvases with cream paint and worked in blue paint while the base coat was wet. After each swipe of the brush, wipe the painted area with a paper towel to prevent overblending.

Buttoned Down

Create a graphic statement with a canvas outfitted with oversize wooden buttons. First, paint the buttons with crafts paint; let dry. Apply white acrylic paint to the canvas in vertical brushstrokes. While the paint is still wet, add a few gray lines and blend the colors to create a striated appearance. Tie the buttons to the canvas with twine. Staple the twine to the back of the canvas stretcher frame to secure.

Travel Documents

Keep vacation memories fresh with this easy and inexpensive wall art project. Cut a map to standard printer-paper size (8-1/2x11 inches). Use a word processor to create words, phrases, symbols, or photos that remind you of the special places you've traveled. Print your design on the map. Use spray adhesive to affix the map to a store-bought art canvas. To seal it, brush on two coats of decoupage medium, allowing the canvas to dry between applications. To give a newer map a weathered look, soak it in extra-strong coffee or black tea for an hour, then hang it up to dry.

Watercolor Flowers

This pretty project can be re-created using inexpensive watercolor paints. Create a light wash by mixing water with one base color. Paint the entire surface of the stretched canvas with the color; let dry. To make flower stems, use a thin brush to paint a single line of light green watercolor paint. The lines need not be perfect; watercolor looks best when it’s applied organically. When the light green is almost dry, highlight it with a line of darker green; let dry. To create the flowers, place a nickel-size puddle of watercolor paint in a light tone onto the canvas at the top of one stem. Hold a straw vertically, straight over the top of the puddle. Blow into the straw to spread the paint into a sunburst pattern and let it dry. Repeat the process with a deeper, more saturated tone of the same color and let it dry again.

Gallery-Inspired Display

A stenciled wall treatment creates a spunky backdrop for a collection of crisp white-painted frames in this living space. Several of the frames were outfitted with shelves to create display space for art and other treasures. Purchase floating shelves with keyhole screw backs, or cut lengths of medium-density fiberboard shelves to size, then secure with blind shelf supports. For quick wall art, print a favorite lyric or quote on letter-size veneer sheets -- available at most crafts stores -- and frame.

Natural Beauties

To create nature-theme wall art, use a miter saw to cut a slice of wood. Print an image of birds or other wildlife onto iron-on transfer paper, then follow the package instructions to apply the image to the wood. To protect the transfer, glaze with gloss sealer.

Love Letters

Practice your ABCs with this quirky art piece. Prime a piece of scrap wood and paint the background the color of your choice; let dry. Scour a junk drawer for small- to medium-size items that could work as letterforms. Disassemble or rework the items as needed to create new shapes. Remember, once the pieces are painted the same color, the form will be much more recognizable. After the pieces are selected, prime and spray-paint them with a contrasting color; let dry. Apply a second coat and, once dry, attach to the background using contact adhesive.

Sunflower Artwork

Purchase a sunflower stencil or make one yourself by cutting an image of a sunflower from a clear stencil sheet. Use the stencil and a foam pouncer to apply crafts paint to an artist's canvas. Overlap the design, and layer various shades of the same color. Let dry, frame, and enjoy!

Screen Flowers

Blooms made from aluminum screen -- sold by the roll at home centers -- become a focal point in any room. To make a flower, wear work gloves and use old scissors (cutting screening will damage new blades) to cut four 8x50-inch strips, four 8x40-inch strips and one 8x30-inch strip. An 8-inch cork mat (also available at home centers) forms the back of the piece. Loop one 8x50-inch strip into a petal; use a staple gun to secure both ends to the cork mat. Rotate the mat 90 degrees and repeat with the remaining 8x50-inch strips. Follow the same process with 8x40-inch strips, but staple those petals so each is between two larger petals. To create the flower's center, fold the 8x30-inch strip in half lengthwise, then crumple it into a loose ball. Position the ball in the center of the flower, hold the entire piece on the wall, then drive screws through the center and the cork mat into the wall, arranging the center cluster to hide the screws.

Marker Wall Frames

It's hard to miss the writing on the wall with these showstopping frames sketched in black permanent marker. Model the frame shapes after ornate versions of the real thing; use antique portrait frames for inspiration. Add diagonal lines at the corners to suggest depth. To highlight the differences in dimensions between your frames and art pieces, hang a three-dimensional sculpture or vase within one frame. 

Wall Decals

Perfect for a dorm room or rental, wall decals are a fun -- and removable -- way to add interest or define a space. This floor lamp and bookshelf decal gets a personalized touch when the book spines are embellished with bits of pretty scrapbook paper, held in place with double-stick tape. Decals work best on smooth walls. For a large decal like this one, begin applying the decal to the wall at the bottom of the design and work your way up. Follow package instructions for smoothing out bubbles and sealing edges.

Embellished Door

Whimsical butterflies rest upon a graphic tree in this woodland scene on a vintage door. Use double-stick tape to tile the door’s inset panel with old book pages. Cut several pages of scrapbook paper with a faux bois (false wood) motif into a tree shape. If you’re uncomfortable cutting freehand, snap a photo of a tree, then enlarge, print, and trace it (or search for “tree images” online). Adhere the tree shapes to the book pages using double-stick tape. Sketch, then cut out butterflies from several colors of cardstock paper. Gently fold their wings upward and tape their bodies to the door.

Paint-Chip Sunburst

This simple starburst can be re-created in a matter of hours. At a home center, select free paint chips in colors that coordinate with your space. Cut them into 1/2x2-inch strips. Use a compass to draw a 2-inch circle in the lower left-hand quadrant of a stretched canvas. Draw a 4-inch concentric circle around the first one (these will be your guides for applying the paint strips). Beginning in the upper right-hand quadrant of the canvas, adhere the strips to the canvas with a decoupage medium. They should appear to radiate out from the center of the penciled circles. As you work your way toward the circles, begin adding the darker strips. When you reach the 4-inch circle, attach only one end of the strip, allowing the other end to pop off the canvas to create depth. Finish in the center of the 2-inch circle with the darkest color.

Twiggy Canvas

Using black acrylic paint and a thin paintbrush, paint several vertical twigs and birds on a stretched canvas. Find a real twig that roughly matches the size of your hand-painted ones, then paint it with a bright color (we chose fiery orange). Hot-glue a bird, painted the same color, to the twig, then hot-glue the twig to the canvas.

Paint-Can Lid Stripe

Arranged in an organic line that seems to bubble up from the baseboard, these paint-dipped lids are a quick and easy way to amp up the interest on a blank wall. Purchase new paint can lids at crafts or hobby stores. Clean the lids, then use painter’s tape to mask off a section of each lid. Simply paint the exposed section in the color of your choice; let the lids dry overnight. When they’re dry, attach them to the wall using removable poster-hanging strips.

Bold Blooms

This striking art project is sure to grab attention in any room of the house. Using a pencil, lightly sketch several loose, abstract flower petals on a stretched canvas. Begin filling in the petals using acrylic paint in bold colors. While the paint is still wet, use a complementary color to add and blend highlights to the center of each flower. When all of the paint is dry, outline each flower using a thick, black marker.

Clean Lines

To re-create this project, start by adhering masking tape of various widths in straight, random, graphic patterns to a stretched canvas. Squeeze four colors of acrylic paint onto a palette. Dip your brush into the lightest color and apply it to the top left-hand quadrant of the canvas with short, choppy brush strokes. When you have a portion of the canvas colored in your first color, dip the same brush into your second color. Apply the paint in the same manner. As you continue working with the second color, it will become the dominant tone. Repeat that process with the remaining colors. The result will be a gradient that blends from the top left to the bottom right. Let the paint dry overnight. Remove the masking tape.

Stripping-Pad Dots

Elevate ho-hum floor-stripping pads by displaying them in an abstract arrangement on the wall. Add a splash of color to the display by spray-painting one of the floor pads with latex paint in the color of your choice (we chose brick red). Affix the pads to the wall with a couple of small nails or picture-hanging strips.

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