Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Adventures in DIY: tri-canvas abstract swirls

I'd like to pretend that I'm this awesome little housegirlfriend... you know the type, the woman who is domestic, crafty, etc.

Unfortunately, I'm... well, not. At all. I hate cleaning (HATE IT) and avoid it until I'm embarrassed to enter my own apartment. We've got this awkward mix of hand-me-down mismatched furniture that I really don't mind... until we have friends over and realize that two small loveseats are really not enough seating room.

Never mind the fact that we've been in our apartment for more than a year and still have boxes in our "office" and kitchen waiting to be unpacked. It's awful. Buuuut such is life, and I know I'll get to things eventually.

Every once in a while, however, I get "inspired" and go on a bit of a "I want this place to look designer perfect!" spree. Which never really works out the way I want it to (largely due to budget constraints... and lack of effort...) but I do occasionally have some things work quite nicely.

I realized the other day that there are more video game posters on our walls than anything remotely "decorative" (okay, video game posters are totally decorative in the gamer sense, but... well, this isn't Rory's bachelor apartment!) and decided that I wanted to try to be craftsy and creative. Pinterest will be the death of me, I swear.

So I spruced those walls up. No, I didn't paint directly on my walls (although I wish I could). Instead, I went into my closet (that I semi-affectionately call a "black hole", somehow things vanish into it that I hardly remember owning and re-emerge months later only for me to go "Wait. What? I just... WHAT?"), dug out a bunch of canvases that I'd bought at DeSerres some time last fall, and took to them with my cheap acrylic paints.

Why cheap? Because it's so rare that I ever care enough to do this that it's not worth it to me to buy expensive things.

Inspired by the look of canvases where an image is split into three or more pieces, I came up with a somewhat abstract looking tri-canvas that will eventually get mounted on a wall in our living room. I have no "final product" pictures quite yet but will hopefully have them by the end of this week or so.

Materials Used:
- 3 canvases (DeSerres has multi-packs of inexpensive canvases, perfect for a project like this)
- acrylic paints (I used black, white and green)
- cheap container + lid for mixing paints
- pencil
- sponge brush

What I Did

1) Using the pencil, I lightly outlined my design on the canvases
When I say "lightly", I mean "light enough that it won't be visible through the paint, it's NOT easy to erase pencil on canvas if you're like me and have horrible erasers".

If you're spreading the design across several canvases, make sure everything lines up accordingly and the design is simple enough that painting it won't make you want to throw your canvases off the balcony (ha). The more simple your design is, the easier it will be to paint (and the more leeway you have when painting in terms of error!)

2) Mix your paints. I started this wanting shades of a tealy mint green (oh so trendy right now) but didn't have the proper colours needed to mix it. I ended up super frustrated, wasted a bunch of paint, etc etc etc before I gave up and just went with a light sage-green colour. Moral of the story? If you suck at mixing colours (the way I do), go to a craft store and just buy paint in the shade you want. 


3) Paint away! I was working standing at my kitchen counter because Shiva decided she was curious about what I was doing and was trying to walk over my work when I was sitting in the living room, so I found it easiest to paint one canvas at a time and to line adjoining canvases up when it came time to paint anything that overlapped.

4) Set everything somewhere safe to dry. I ended up really layering the paint on, so I put my finished canvases in our "office" for a couple days so they could fully dry. As a matter of fact, they're still sitting in there... waiting for me to put them on a wall and show them off. Heh.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I still haven't put them up yet, though >_>" apparently I'm much better at the procrastinating thing than I'd like to admit.