How to Create a Beautiful Artwork, Even if You’re Artistically Challenged

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I’ve been thinking about writing this post for many years, a how to on creating your own piece of art for your home, even if you can’t draw or paint. It’s so easy when you use your own custom designed stencils.

What you’ll need:

  • Canvas
  • Gesso for priming
  • PVA glue
  • Acrylic paints in colours to suit
  • Quick drying enamel spray paint – 4 colours to suit
  • Sponge
  • Large brush or small roller
  • Cardboard for stencils
  • Scissors
  • Pliars
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses

1. After purchasing a canvas the first thing you need to do is prime it with Gesso. White is best, but in this instance I have used black. I have decided to do an underwater sea theme artwork and wanted to explore the use of this dark primer to represent the deep ocean. If you are starting out, just go with white.

Prime your canvas

Prime Canvas

2. Next I used PVA glue and created a background design on my canvas.  When it drys and you’ve completed your piece the writing will add background interest to your art.  You can write anything, even poems, or draw any design that will suit.  Here I wrote ‘Fish’ for my underwater theme.

PVA Background Design

Create background design using PVA glue

3. Once the PVA had dried I laid down a base coat.  I recommend acrylic paints for your artwork as they dry much faster than oil.  You can apply the paint with a large brush, roller or even your hands.  The colour I used first was Prussian Blue.  You can choose any colours that will suit your theme.

Prussian Blue

Prussian Blue

4.  The next colour I applied was Forest Green.

Forest Green

Forest Green

5. The third base colour I used was French Ultramarine Blue and then finally Brilliant Magenta.

Ultramarine Blue & Brilliant Magenta

Ultramarine Blue & Brilliant Magenta

6. Next you will need to create some stencils using cardboard or thick paper. If you don’t have confidence drawing your own, just find some pictures you like and trace them. Here I’ve printed out a royalty free image from the internet.

Decide on your images for stencils

Find an image to inspire your stencils

7. Trace your images onto the cardboard. Or you can draw your own. Cut them out.

Cut out Stencil

Cut out Stencil

8.  Using your stencils apply acrylic paint.  I’ve started here by dabbing the paint on using a sponge. In addition to fish, I also made some circular stencils of various sizes to represent bubbles in my underwater world.

Sponge on Paint

Sponge on Paint

Here’s what the first layer looks like when I have finished creating the bubbles.

Sponge on Paint

Sponge on Paint

9.  Repeat the same step of sponging on the acrylic paint with all of your stenciled images.  I have not only sponged inside the stencil but I sponged on the outside of the cut out too.


Sponge on Paint Outside of Stencil Cutout

Here’s what the painting looks like at this stage after applying the acrylic paint.  It was looking a little flat so I decided to add some spray on paints.


End of Acrylic Paint Application

10.  Take your canvas outside to do this step.  I also used gloves and glasses.  Using the stencils spray paint your images in layers.  Wait for each layer to dry before moving the stencils and applying the next layer.  The paint drys fast so just a few minutes in between each layer is fine.  I also used pliers to move the stencils around and to keep them in place while I sprayed.


Spray on Quick Drying Enamel Spray Paint

The colours I used were gloss sky blue, flat white, metallic gold and intense shimmer finish glitter.

Apply gold metallic paint

Apply Gold Metallic Paint

Here is the finished artwork.  I hope you have fun creating your own.

Final Artwork

Final Artwork


2 Responses so far.

  1. Rebecca Casey says:

    Thanks Jo, very interesting, I must add the PVA glue to my backgrounds.

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