Tuesday, 29 October 2013

DIY Abstract Art

The office project I'm working on needed some art, so i decided to try my hand at some good old DIY. Here's what you'll need to create your own:
  • Large format Canvas (Mine is 48"x26")
  • Paintbrushes, one for spreading glue and a couple different flat paintbrushes for painting
  • Good old fashioned paper mache glue (Flour mixed with water)
  • An old phone book, or some newsprint or scrap paper
  • Acrylic Paint (I used white, black and grey)
  • An old credit card/points card that you don't need anymore
  • Polyurethane Sealer (I used Folkart brand Outdoor Satin Sealer, from Walmart)

Start out by making your paper mache glue, just like you did in kindergarten. Approx 1/2 cup flour to about 2 cups of cold water, whisk until it's a smooth as you can get it. Alternately you can use a matte paint medium but I didn't have an art store handy to me. Grab a small paintbrush, preferably one you don't care too much about because it turns into a sticky goopy mess by the time you are finished. Rip up your scrap paper into random strips. I used an old phone book, the pages are nice and thin but you could use whatever you have on hand.  Apply the paper mache glue to the back of the paper strip one at a time and apply them to the canvas. Make sure to smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles, and wrap the paper around the edges of the canvas as well. This will form a textured foundation that we will paint on later.

Once you've covered the entire surface, leave it until completely dry. Sand or gently scrape off any clumps of glue you don't want to leave on there.

Here is a close up of what the texture will look like when you are finished:

Next, grab your white paint, or whichever color you want to use as your base, and a large flat paintbrush. (I purchased these brushes in a set of three different sizes from our local Walmart)

Begin covering the entire surface with your base coat of paint. Be sure to paint the edges of the canvas as well.

You can start to see the great texture forming from our glued paper underneath.  You could also water down the paint slightly if you would like the lettering from the paper to show through. This is one coat of acrylic paint, it covered pretty well. If you would like more coverage add another coat once it is dry.

After your base coat has completely dried, apply your colored paint as desired.  I just squirted it on. *Sidenote - I ended up putting on way too much paint and scraped a lot of it off.* Once you are happy with your color, start brushing. (You can always add or take away as you go)

I brushed up and down in a vertical pattern, and then went around the perimeter until I had only about a 2" border. You could paint all the way to the edges or on the edges if you wanted as well.  I ended up adding a few dabs of white and grey and then smoothing it down with an old credit card, as you scrape with the card it reveals more of the texture from the paper. Play around until you are happy with the look of your painting. And if desired you can sand lightly over the top once it has dried to create an aged affect.

Allow to dry and cure as per the instructions on your paint.

Once dried, apply 2 coats of sealer, allowing each coat to dry per manufacturers instructions. Hang and enjoy!

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