DIY & Crafts, Projects

Blank Canvas + Spray Paint = New Art!

November 21, 2013
Finished product!

When I was pregnant with Charlie, and after we found out his was a boy, I decided his nursery would be nautical themed.  That was kind of a mistake.  Or maybe it was just my take on the nautical theme which was the mistake.  Either way, take 1 was a bust.  Matt nicely warned me when we were decorating, that he didn’t like ‘themes’, but ol’ preggers here didn’t listen.  When I was done decorating, it looked a bit like the Fourth of July threw up in there.  It was decked out in Red, White, and Blue.  Way too much of these patriotic colors for me, I tell ya!  I thought blue and red would be fun, but turns out, I’m just not a fan of red.  I try, but I just don’t like it.  I think I ruined the color when I was obsessed with it in my first apartment out of college.  Everything I bought was red.  Red toaster, red blender (both of which we still use, but I insist we keep them hidden when not in use), red placemats, red pots and pans (again, still have these guys), red throw pillows, red vases, with some fake red daisies (ick!  What was I thinking), red kitchen rugs, red kitchen towels, and plenty of other red-ness that I can’t remember at the moment.  Then Matt and I bought our first condo, and yep…we painted the main room red (which is no easy task going from white).  It lasted a year or two before one day I desperately needed it to go, and spend the next week trying to get rid of the deep redness of our main living room.  We didn’t have kids, so I’m sure I had all the time in the world to work on it (seriously, what did I do with my time back then???).

Back to Charlie’s nursery.  I decided the blue and white could stay (luckily, all our main pieces in the room where some shade of blue or white … no red).  I figured, I’d add more white (because I LOVE white), a little grey, and some pops of other bright colors … one being orange.  I love orange.  I purposely try not to overdo it, because I don’t want the same fiasco I created with red and me.

Here’s the {very patriotic} nursery before:

Red, White, and Blue ... and "Hi, Molly!"

Red, White, and Blue … and “Hi, Molly!”

I do love these Oars ... especially now that the red one is painted light blue :)

I do love these Oars … especially now that the red one is painted light blue :)

Tired, Molly?

Tired, Molly?


Curtains … out (good thing they were not expensive … I made them from clearance Target curtains sewn together).

Red accessories … out.

Red Oar … painted it light blue.

Red lamp…out.  Sorry, Mom I did love it, and am fully intending to paint over the red and use it somewhere else.

Ahhh…. Much better, but now it’s a bit empty (and has been for several months while I ponder what to do with it).  I wanted a big piece of art for above the dresser.  Kind of like this one (from this nursery I wish I could steal):

Love this artwork ... and the whole room!!!

Love this artwork … and the whole room!!!

I fully understand that I do not have talent for drawing or painting anything, so I knew it had to be fairly simple.  I started on this project earlier this summer.  At that time, I was obsessed with Ombre anything.  I’m a little over it now, but I still like how this project turned out.

I wanted the artwork to display a quote.  I wanted it to have some sort of pattern, design, or image.  And I wanted it to be blue.  Those were my requirements.  Here’s what I came up with:


1.  Blank canvas

2.  Vinyl letters (same one used here, and here … I love these!  Buy ’em in the poster making aisle at Target).

3.  Spray paint (I used orange, light blue, medium blue, and navy blue)

4.  An ‘image’.  Since I can’t draw, I used some vinyl stick-on decals I had purchased on clearance earlier this year from Pottery Barn.  They’re still in the box tube they came in, though, because I decided I’m not a huge fan of wall decals (on walls, that is).

5.  Mod Podge to seal on the decal and create a shiny finish when done (this is optional.  Sort of).

6.  Lots of frog tape!

and lastly …

7.  Patience.   A lot of time is spent waiting for paint to dry before moving on.  This was a tough one for me.

Here’s how I did it:

1.  Lay out your quote and image to get an idea of how this will look:



2.  Paint the canvas (or at least the part that will have the letters) the color you want the letters to ultimately end up (orange, in my case).

3.  Let dry (get used to it!)

4.  Place the letters on the  painted canvas as you would like them to look.  I drew light pencil lines across each row to ensure they would be straight (or relatively straight).  Stick ’em down good!

5.  I divided the canvas into three even sections.  Top would be painted light blue, middle would be medium blue, bottom would be navy.

6.  Cover the bottom two-thirds of your canvas with frog tape (and whatever else you have laying around (in my case, scrap pieces of giant construction paper).  MAKE SURE TO GET IT ALL COVERED … INCLUDED THE EDGES!

Top third of canvas prepped for paint.

Top third of canvas prepped for paint.

Light blue paint going on!

Light blue paint going on!

7.  Let paint dry.  COMPLETELY.

8.  Pull off tape.  Now tape off top and bottom third, leaving only the middle third exposed.  Paint the middle blue color.

9.  Yep…you guessed it;  Let the paint dry.

10.  Repeat process and paint the bottom third navy.

11.  Let paint dry.

12.  Peel off letters and touch up orange paint if necessary.

13.  Stick on decal

14.  Apply Mod Podge to entire canvas to ‘seal’.  I used Glossy Mod Podge, thus I got a glossy finish on my art (obviously).

And … drum roll please … here’s how it turned out:

Finished product!

Finished product!

On a side note … I now can’t find what book or where I found this quote from Dr. Suess.  I’m beginning to wonder if he actually said this anywhere …  Oh well.  I like the saying anyway :)

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  • Reply tiersa November 26, 2013 at 5:28 am

    I LOVE this!!! I’m totally going to attempt something similar. It will probably be a complete disaster, but at least I’ll have fun trying. Glad you’re blogging again :)

  • Reply Julia December 2, 2013 at 2:47 am

    Hi, this is amazing and I’m going to do something similar for a gift for my Mother’s birthday. How did you get the fish decal a different color? It seems to be black in the first picture, and white and navy in the final product! Thanks!!

    • Reply Katie December 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Hi Julia…okay, so I’m not an expert photographer. That decal does totally look black in the first picture. It is white and navy…purchased it in those colors from Pottery Barn. Must have been my photography skills that were misleading. I didn’t alter the decal at all…just mod-podged over it after it was in place to make sure it would stay. Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Holidays, and good luck with this project! :) Let me know how it turns out…

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