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Omaha Magazine

Canvas Painting

Jun 21, 2023 04:25PM ● By Sandy Matson
diy canvas painting home july august 2023

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

DIY Canva Painting [4 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
Getting the home look you love without spending a fortune is the best kind of win. One DIY tip I follow to save money is to find a high-end decor piece to take inspiration from, then recreate that look using affordable, and sometimes second-hand, materials and a little elbow grease. The end result is usually great, and no one is the wiser! 

It helps to have an eye for seeing what could be, and its a bonus to find things at bargain prices. Think outside the box when it comes to achieving a similar look for your inspiration piece.
My inspiration for this DIY came from seeing two gorgeous, but pricey, Great Blue Heron art pieces I ran across in an upscale home decor store a few years ago. Then, on another outing, I came across a large canvas painting. While the idea didn’t come to me right away, I just knew at some point I would think of how to reinvent it into something that fit my decor.

Originally, I thought it would be easy to just paint over the existing painting,  but then, it hit me: I could put wallpaper over the canvas! That can’t be that hard, right? I started hunting for the perfect paper and found a small family company through Etsy that printed some of the most unique, detailed wallpaper and murals out there. It helped that I was able to custom order the size I needed in one piece instead of several rolls. This allowed me to create a seamless look much like a painting.

For me, the key to the success of this project was the quality of paper and the application process.  See the following for how I transformed a dated canvas painting into a one-of-a-kind art piece.


• One single, custom size wallpaper roll (60x42.5) cut to fit my existing canvas painting. (I chose Dark Botanical WP with Heron Birds, tropical plants, vintage print, self adhesive.) If using several rolls of wallpaper, be mindful of the pattern repeat.

• Wallpaper smoother 

• Wallpaper paste (I used Roman Pro Universal paste)

• Gold leaf flakes (can substitute gold paint)

• Mod Podge (matte version)

• Razor blade or X-Acto knife 

• Two foam paint brushes (found in craft 
or big box stores)

Helpful tip: Before getting started, unroll the wallpaper and lay it flat for 24 hours prior to starting to make it easier to work with.

Step 1
Make sure the canvas is free from dust or debris. Using a foam brush, apply a thin, even coat of paste directly onto the canvas.

Step 2
Pick up wallpaper on both sides (four hands work better than two, so find a helper, if possible) and carefully line up all sides and lay flat onto the canvas. Then, using the wallpaper smoother, gently smooth out the paper (don’t push too hard or you’ll squeeze out the paste or stretch the paper.) If you end up with a crease or bubble, carefully pick up the wallpaper and complete the process again.  

Step 3
After a 24-hour dry time, use your small foam brush to paint several light coats of the Mod Podge over the edge and corners of the wallpaper, allowing dry time in between applications. 

Step 4
Using your foam paint brush or fingers, coat the four edges of canvas with Mod Podge starting in one corner working your way around the entire frame. Once complete, apply the gold leaf flakes, following instructions carefully. It’s best to bring the gold leaf (or paint) over the edge 1/4 inch, so that if your wallpaper cuts are not exactly straight, the lines will be camouflaged.

Remember, style is about making everything you do unique to only you!
Create something beautiful today. 

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2023 issue of Omaha Home magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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