By Joe Carrel, Buffalo Exchange HQ
White, cream or beige. Wherever you call home, chances are your walls wear one of these shades of neutral. Ah, but if you listen, you can hear those walls, just screaming for a pop of color. A vibrant, monster-sized painting – that would certainly do the trick. But who has the money for that? Luckily, there’s a better option. And yes, dear friend, that option is you. What’s that, you say? You’re no artist? With DIY Art, it doesn’t matter one bit.
The Ikea-ization of today’s modern furnishings have made clean, simple lines the style of the day. The artistic form that embodies this style is Minimalism – which, luckily for us, is a piece of cake to replicate (seriously, read on and I’ll show you).
Plan of Attack
The first thing you need is something to paint on. There are multiple ways you can go. You can hit up a chain craft supply store that has 50% off coupons on a weekly basis and buy yourself a big ‘ol canvas. Or you can acquire an inexpensive painting at a thrift store and shamelessly paint right over it. Heck, you can even repurpose scrap building supplies (a discarded door can make for a cool painting surface).
Next, you need to settle upon a design. A quick dive into “minimalist painters” will get the wheels turning, but really, as long as you keep it simple, most any design you can conjure should fit the bill. Straight lines are key here, since painter’s tape will be doing the heavy lifting. Now think about the colors you want to use. Look around the room and see if the existing furnishings give you clues. You want a painting that adds pop, but you don’t want it to seem out of place.
Supplies Party! (Tips & Tricks)
- Use brushes with synthetic bristles rather than natural (animal hair). They absorb less paint, so they’re great for acrylics. Plus, they cost less. Get a few different sizes, making sure that your smallest brush has a flat edge. You can use it to crisp up any lines where paint has crept under the painter’s tape.
- Standard acrylic craft paint runs less than a buck for an 8 oz bottle. Take note that if it simply says “acrylic” it’s probably a matte finish. They also come in “satin” or “gloss” finishes, and will be clearly marked on the front, so make sure to stay consistent.
- When placing painter’s tape over a portion you’ve already painted, make sure it is fully dry – otherwise, the tape won’t adhere as well and your new paint is sure to bleed underneath it.
- Acrylic paint can be washed out of brushes simply with water. No turpentine needed.
- One of the downsides of acrylic paint is that it can attract dirt. To combat this, I covered my completed paintings with Golden soft gel gloss (I only mention the brand because it works like a champ). It’s concentrated, so it can be thinned with water with no stretch it out. Many finishes I’ve tested can ruin a painting by pulling some of the paint along with it as you brush it on, so try it out on the edge of the canvas or on a sample canvas (see #8)
- A lightly dampened paper towel can act as a paint eraser if it’s applied quickly, so it’s good to keep one at the ready.
- Mixing colors can be difficult if you’re covering a large chunk of canvas (a heavy mixture of paint will usually be inconsistent in color) but it’s fine for smaller portions. Forget the more expensive palette knife – paints can be blended every bit as well with a simple plastic fork.
- Paint frequently changes shades as it dries. A tiny piece of canvas, while not necessary, can be useful for testing to see beforehand what the final result will look like.
- When you envision a painter, they’re holding a flat oval wood palette covered with a rainbow of paint dollops. That may work for some, but I find it much easier to deal with one color at a time. I cover a paper plate with aluminum foil that I can simply fold up when finished. It’s less expensive and far easier to clean up!
And there you have it. Just a couple well-placed wall screws later, that white, cream or beige wall of yours is now beaming with color, thanks to your DIY art. And you’ll be beaming too, because every time you see your bold creation adorning the wall, you’ll remember that those little assumptions we make, assumptions like “I’m no artist,” can be proven wrong.