Monday, April 12, 2010

You Are So Warped.

(Or: How to reuse an old canvas)
(Or: How to make a stenciled painting)

A couple years ago I made a flower painting out of boredom to lighten up my room. After moving in with Alex, it managed to make it onto the wall in our apartment here. After looking at it for this long, I got tired of it. But why just throw it away? Instead, I decided to reuse the canvas! I turned the flower painting into my new "You Are So Warped" stenciled painting:
First things first, I had to get the canvas white. You could use a color of paint you like, or skip this step if your original painting will work for the background! I decided to use gesso. I had actually stretched the canvas myself, and hadn't gessoed the sides, so I thought it was time :) Because the original painting was textured, I used the thick gesso to smooth it out as well. However, I let some of the texture come through to add a little dimension to my new painting.
Once the gesso dried, it was time to get out the stencils! I used a ruler and pencil to make guidelines, laying out my stencils for spacing. Most stencils come with holes to use as guides. I spaced mine a little off from these, because they seemed a bit uneven :-/ But the holes help make sure your letters are aligned. The most important thing is to make sure all your letters fit where you want them before you start!
All the letters set? Time to mix the paint! YAY! I love mixing paint! I used white, yellow, and blue to make a bright green that we use in accents around our apartment [It happens to be our wedding color!]. I chose to use a bright color on white, but of course you could use multiple colors :)
Time to fill in the stencils! You could tape them down, but I didn't bother :P The middles of the stencils will come up too, unless you use double-sided tape. I just tried to hold them them down while painting. Of course there will be small slip-ups! Don't worry, I'll tell you how to fix them ;)
When you've got them all done, GO WASH YOUR PAINT BRUSH! Just in case you were thinking about leaving it ;) Now, look through your letters. See any mistakes? That's ok. I used two methods to fix mine. First I used an X-Acto knife (one of my favorite tools, btw) to scrape off some of the unnecessary paint. Then I went back and covered any other mistakes with white paint. It took a couple coats to cover the green.
Much better! Now take a step back and admire your reused-canvas, stenciled painting! How lovely! Now go take pictures and leave me a link so I can see ;D
[In case you are curious, my mom once said this to me, jokingly, and I thought it was hilarious. Her reaction to the painting: "Surely I never said that!" ;)]


  1. Good job! I'll always miss that flower painting, though. I so loved seeing it in your house everytime I came over. I always remember you working on it when I came to visit you the first time from New York.

  2. Great idea, I reuse canvases all the time! Also, on the Birds of a Feather blog, I am going to post the DIY next Monday....I will be out of town this week so I went ahead and wrote today's and next week's post.