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How to Make DIY Canvas Art

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

After we made the decision to paint the ENTIRE office black, I realized I had the perfect opportunity to make a piece of art really pop against the back wall. After much pinterest scrolling (my favorite place to find new design ideas), I was inspired by this piece from Studio McGee and the amazing designs of Kaleen Cameron. Kaleen is a master of plaster art and I hope to purchase a piece of hers one day. Unfortunately we did not have the budget to purchase either of the pieces of art after the cost of the shiplap, wall molding and various other DIY projects completed in this space.

Instead of looking for a more budget-friendly piece of art I decided to attempt to make my own! I've seen people thrift old canvases and paint over the old art with a more modern look, so I figured I could do the same with plaster.



  1. Optional: Tape over the frame so that the paint does not get on the frame. I skipped this step because I am a) lazy and b) trusting in my steady hand.

  2. Apply a single layer of paint over the canvas. This will help to seal the canvas and to make sure that none of the art is visible underneath.

  3. Allow 24 hours for the paint to dry.


  1. This next step can be frustrating for some because there really is no "correct" way to apply the joint compound. I tested our different tools on cardboard first and found the large taping knife worked best for what I wanted.

  2. Apply the joint compound to the canvas in any pattern that you desire. I made sure to not smooth out the compound too much and applied heavier in the middle because I wanted the texture to "fade" out towards the edges.

  3. Allow 3-5 days to let the joint compound dry. It will turn from a dark grey to a light grey as it dries.


  1. While the joint compound dries apply Rub n Buff along the frame using your finger. I did this because I did not like the light wood color of the original frame and wanted to pull in the gold from our light fixture in the office. This step is also not necessary if you like the original color of your frame.

  2. After the joint compound is dry, mix water and leftover joint compound in a cup (cake batter consistency) and use your finger to fill in the large cracks. This step may not be necessary if you do not have large cracks, but I had a few large ones that I wanted to cover. Allow 24-48 hours to dry.

  3. For the final step dilute white paint with 40-50% water so that the paint is more of a water color paint consistency. Gently brush the paint over the entire canvas in a "X" pattern to ensure each crack and crevice is covered. Make sure not to go too heavy so that the paint does not cover the texture.

  4. Allow 24 hours to dry.

  5. Hang your artwork and enjoy what you have just created!

Don't feel like making your own? Here are some similar pieces of art: Studio McGee, Society 6, Wayfair

For links to everything seen in this room, check out our Office page here!


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