Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tutorial: How I paint on canvas

That's right. The title of this post is "How I paint..." and not "How to paint..." because I am not an artist and I am pretty sure that I am doing something wrong here. I managed to get my critters on canvas using my way but if you know of a better method, do tell. :-)

To begin, let me just say that I have tried the "freezer paper method" but it did not work for me for canvas. The freezer paper did stick somewhat but it really wasn't sticking like it does on t-shirts. In the end, I thought it was more trouble than it was worth so I decided to do this my way.

Also, if you are doing this for the first time, be aware that it takes quite a while to finish the project. You need to allow the paint to dry before applying a new coat. This is not a project to do when you are pressed for time or when you have to babysit an impatient 4 year old. 

Having said that, here we go:

These are the supplies that you'll need. Well, except for the eraser, which you might not have a need for. I'm not sure why I even put that in the picture. You will also want to have some Painter's Tape too. I forgot to include that in the photo above. Remember: No to eraser, Yes to Painter's Tape.

I bought the 8"x8" canvas from but you can easily find these in Michael's and probably Joann's. The Create-A-Critter panda was cut at 6.5". Just place it in the center of the canvas, hold it down with one hand and...

..paint the first coat of red with wild abandonment.

This is how my canvas looked like after the first coat.

After the paint dries, do the exact same thing again with the same stencil to paint a 2nd coat of red. If you feel like it, go ahead and paint the 4 sides of the canvas too.

Once the red paint has dried,  place the 2nd stencil and hold it down with painter's tape.

This time go over the canvas with white paint.

When that dries, go ahead and paint a 2nd coat of white. Then, clean up the edges with some red. I used a #4 round brush for this but you can use any paint brush you are comfortable with.

Acrylic paint is pretty thick and it dries quickly. Once you remove the stencil, you should see that the thickness of the dried paint forms an edge that helps to define the outlines. Imagine that when you run your fingers over the white paint, you can feel where it ends. That is useful because it helps to guide the paint brush later.

To paint the eyes and nose, tape down the new stencil and trace the pupil (eye) with a pencil. This is to define the area to NOT paint when you start with the black layer.

You can use your paintbrush to paint the black.

Next, remove the stencil and replace it with the negative, as seen in the next picture:

Time to paint more black. Again, use the paintbrush for this and not the foam brush.

You can start with the ears...

...then the arms, and finally the legs. Or you can start with the legs. Or the arms. I won't judge. Promise. Just remember to paint 2 coats of black. Or not. Since black is so....well, dark, you might get away with just one coat. I painted 2 coats on mine.

Finally, fill in any rough/unpainted areas and paint the sides with one more coat of red.

Put your paintbrush down, crack a huge smile and make everyone nearby address you as "The Artist".

Final step: Once the paint has dried, hang it up, then stand back and admire your handiwork. Give yourself a pat. You have painted a new art piece for your home.

That's it! Even though it's a little time-consuming, I found painting to be rather therapeutic. Give it a try and do come back to share your new art work. You can find all the supplies at Michael's and probably even Joann's. Just go buy your supplies and come back here to download your stencils and you are ready to paint!
Download stencils here:

I used Cricut Design Studio to weld the base layer with the 1st layer to make the  3rd stencil shown in this post. You must have the program in order to open my file.
I hope that you enjoy this tutorial.

Have a Great Wednesday!


  1. Awesome tutorial, thanks for sharing it with us

  2. Fabulous post! Great tutorial. Yes painting is very theripeutic your canvas came out too cute!

  3. That was so great of you to take the time to do a tutorial for us! I really want to try this...such a fab idea!!!

  4. You did a great job thanks for breaking it down for us too, Makes it easier to imagine. Its fantastic! Love the look :)

  5. Thanks so much for this, "The Artist"!! lolol

  6. This is great. Def on my list of projects to do. TFS!

  7. I have given you the Sunshine Award. All you have to do is swing by my blog and grab it :) Your awesome!

  8. Wow, you did an awesome job. I "may" attempt this someday. TFS.

  9. How come I am not seeing the pictures? Is there something wrong with this post?
    I am SO looking forward to making one of these:)
    Thanks for this wonderful blog. I just found it today and became a fam:)

  10. Try again, Pauline. I moved the pictures to another hosting site and forgot to put them back. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  11. Jin, I LOVE this idea! I went to the 4Shared site and although I can click on "download file", nothing happens when I do. Help?


  12. Hi Ann, make sure that you click on the blue button and not the green one. The download will start after a couple of seconds. I might have to find an other site to host my downloads, the way 4shared works is a little confusing. Sorry about that. :)


  13. you are so good. thanks for posting this :)

  14. The templates are confusing to download. Can you make them into .jpg images? Thanks!

  15. Jin, how in the world do u share a file using the craft room? If u would be so kind as to email your reply, i would truly appreciate it!!! thx!!!