Home decor Upcycle

DIY Artwork: Make Canvas, Painting, and Frame

DIY Artwork: Make canvas, frame, and painting | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

I have a bald spot.


Is that rude to say in polite company?

Well…. actually…

…I have a bald spot on one of my walls.

It can be seen from any location in the family area…

See it up there…


 between the two doors?

It’s such an awkward space…

located between two bedrooms…

and… yet

it’s part of the public area, too.

It’s even visible from the kitchen counter.

I tell you, everything I tried was either

too small, too large….

too formal, too casual…..

too light, too dark…..

or looked like it was in jail….

behind the handrail and balusters.

What I needed was a piece that filled the space,

transitioned the colors between the two floors,

and….above all….

stopped that annoying “Jailhouse Rock” buzz in my head.


Here’s what I came up with….


Furring strips – approximately $1.00 for an 8 foot strip

Molding – if you decide to make an outside frame

4 Wood screws – for the inside frame

Drapery liner – new or like new – please see Step 1, Part 2 for details

Staple gun and staples

Various colors of paint

Paint brushes

Stencil – if you want to use one

Step 1:  The Canvas

The first part is so easy.  Determine the desired size of your piece.  Cut furring strips to size and attach via butt joints using wood screws.  Furring strips are cheap and rough, but will make a great inner frame as long as they are straight.  After the frame is assembled, suggest to paint it the color of your drapery liner.  I used some trim paint that I had on hand.  It’s a creamy white color. IMG_1250

The second part involves stretching the “canvas” onto the frame.  In my experience, the best fabric for creating a faux canvas of this kind is drapery liner where the “right” side has a slick surface.  In the photo below, both of the liners are new.  But, the liner on the right was washed and the liner on the left was not washed.  See how the liner on the right lost its body and now looks so thin and limp?  I tried to paint it and it didn’t have enough body to stiffen up and hold the paint, so it’s not at all right for this project.  Notice, too, how much bigger the liner is than the frame.  Please… make sure to leave plenty of overhang.  The extra fabric will be trimmed away later.


Now, for the stretch.  (1)  Lay the drapery liner flat to the work space.  The “right” side, which is the slick side, will be face down and touch the work space surface.  The “wrong” side will face you.  (2)  Lay the drapery frame over the fabric.  Check the frame and put the best side of the frame face down to the work area.  (3)  Wrap the fabric around the furring strips and secure with a staple.  I started in the middle of one side and attached the entire side.  Keep the fabric straight to prevent puckering.  Then attach the opposite side.  The other two sides are attached last.


Fold and tuck the corners.  Secure with several staples.  And, note…the outer frame will conceal the rough edges.


Then …carefully trim away the excess fabric.  Because the staples are inside the inner frame, I didn’t top the area with a backing after trimming.  It can certainly be added if you prefer.


Now, the canvas is ready to paint.

Step 2:  The Artwork   

First, I grabbed a piece of scrap fabric and began working with the paint colors.  I just used latex paint that I had on hand in a variety of colors.  Thank goodness, I made a sample and taped it in place to see how the colors worked together.


As soon as I hung the sample, I realized I had used more colors from the family room and hardly any from the two bedrooms.


Huuuuum.  Clearly…..needs more blue.


Taking the time to do this step was a huge help to me.  How awful to paint the entire canvas only to realize at the end…..

Huuuum……. Needs more blue.

It also helped me realize that I needed something to guide my eye in adding and blending the colors. So, I decided to copy the colors from an oil painting that will be hanging at the opposite end of the catwalk.  All of the upstairs and downstairs colors are blended into this painting, so having it sit beside the canvas as I paint would surely help me stay on course.

Do you like the unfinished cabinet that we built from scrap lumber? ……more on that coming soon…


Then, I got to work on the big canvas using a stencil, about six different colors of paint, and a combination of sponge and bristle brushes.  No… I did not add fabric medium to the paint.


A couple of hours later, the canvas was complete.

Do the colors look like the colors in the oil painting? …..Or, at least, an abstract version of the painting?


Step 3:  The Frame

To frame or not to frame is a matter of preference.  At first, I didn’t want a frame……and I was happy to have gotten better balance with the blue.



Still…….something didn’t seem right.

I checked the piece with the downstairs colors.


Looks like a good blend….which is what I was going for….a blend….not a match.

So, I left the canvas colors alone.

Then…maybe it needs a frame  …. in what color?  White?  Black?  After all, there is a lot of black throughout the house.

*light bulb*

To get a visual, I found some black fabric and pinned strips to the canvas.


And, guess what?  Now…. I want a frame.

Yes, I am a card-carrying member of the Changed My Mind Club……


Was there ever any doubt?  🙂

So…. my very favorite “go-to” flat and flexible lattice molding was cut and painted black.  Chalk paint was used…as it creates a softer color finish…instead of the harsher black finish with some other paints I had.  When completely dry, the strips were attached using super-duper wood glue.


While waiting for the strips to dry, here are some of the interesting elements that are difficult to see from a distance.



Shadowing.  Staining.  Layering.  Blending.


How sad that the camera can’t really capture these elements like the human eye.

Is anything in all of creation more miraculous than the human eye?


The blue colors from the bedroom fade into colors used in the rest of the house.


And, the flat black frame copies the black painted edge of the painted ceiling.


The black handrail runs through the middle of the piece, but the eye naturally pulls above the rail to the stronger blue colors.  Thus.. stopping the fight for attention below the rail……you know….the jailhouse effect.

Everything used in this piece was upcycled except for one furring strip and the lattice molding.  I had run out of these on the last project.

Ready for my out-of-pocket costs?


Can you say…..Yowza?

Not bad….for a 47 by 45 piece of custom artwork……

……a covered bald spot

……a complete Jailhouse Rock buzz kill….

……and knowing that Elvis has….finally….. left the building.


Until next time,

Please……don’t forget to PIN…..


Thank ya…..thank ya very much,



  • Reply erika February 16, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    That was terrific! So creative, perfect for the space and cost effective!

    • Reply polly plum March 17, 2015 at 6:09 pm

      Stencils are the greaest invention, aren’t they?

  • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 16, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Thx a million. Everyday is a learning experience….. I appreciate your kind words. TY for stopping by the blog. Have a wonderful day…..Suz

    • Reply polly plum March 17, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      This wall hanging looks great!!!I inherited
      NO art genes:( but you have imagination, and you’re resourceful, which is great!I would not frame it-I’d leave it simple:)

  • Reply maggiemaysgifts February 17, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Turned out beautiful!!! And you can’t beat that cost 🙂 Love that color of blue too!

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 17, 2015 at 11:10 am

      Thx a million. I had lots of fun pulling it together and learned a lot along the way. Hope you are staying warm and safe in these winter storms.

      • Reply maggiemaysgifts February 17, 2015 at 4:02 pm

        HAving fun is the key with these projects, isn’t it?! Thanks….hope you are too!! Spring is just around the corner!

  • Reply Rachel February 17, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    This is really nice! I just bought a large painting and wish I had seen this, I probably could have recreated this in that space.

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 17, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      One word. Return. Lol. …….and TY for your kind words. Hope you will visit the blog again soon.

  • Reply Bonne February 17, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Can you tell me the name of the pattern the stencil is in?

  • Reply Jennifer February 17, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Wow, it turned out so amazing! I’m in love with your color combination too!

  • Reply elaine simmons February 18, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I love this! How did you get the colors to blend so perfectly? It looks like IKAT fabric. I will have to try this but not so sure I can get it blended so well.

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 18, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      IDK exactly….I just dabbed and stroked with either a sponge brush or bristle brush.. I had about six different colors of paint open and somehow..it came together. Thx for comment…appreciate it very much. And…sure to can…just work the paint…if a color gets out of hand..let it dry and then go over it. Can’t really bring it back to the begining, but can at least make adjustment.

      • Reply elaine simmons February 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm

        Thanks so much……will just have to give it a try. I guess I won’t be out much if it doesn’t work.

  • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 18, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    The main thing…I think…is to get good drapery liner. Make sure it is a good quality with a slick side. Get a little extra and practice to get a feel for how the cloth and the paint will interact. They will tell you how they will work together. Your eyes and hands will need to be patient and listen. Once you understand how the medium will respond…you are good to go.

  • Reply Patricia February 18, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    It’s a perfect fit for that spot, Very clever with the dark colors on top to draw the eye away from the railing…..it is extremely satisfying when an idea comes together as this one clearly has, drapery liner, who knew! Ty for sharing!

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 18, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      haha. yep. Necessity really is the mother of invention. LOL. TY for your kind words.

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  • Reply Christie February 24, 2015 at 3:06 am

    I love it! Your artwork looks great! Thanks for sharing at Totally Terrific Tuesday!

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  • Reply Gail574 March 5, 2015 at 3:11 am

    LOVE THIS!!! You continue to amaze me! Looking forward to seeing all these things in person. Hope you are surviving this weather.

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog March 5, 2015 at 3:16 am

      It’s all good….I look forward to you seeing, too. Right now…tarps cover main floor with a different project drying on each tarp… I need only 24 hours notice. Promise. Lol.

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  • Reply Denise June 22, 2015 at 12:36 am

    About the frame – did you miter the corners? What type of lattice did you use – outdoor lattice that you took apart? Did you sand it smooth first? Thank you.

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog June 22, 2015 at 1:06 am

      In the molding section, there is a flat molding called lattice molding. It is sold by the foot. I did not miter the corners, I just used a butt joint and the filled in the tiny cracks with wood filler. Then sanded the wood filler. The lattice molding is pretty smooth, but I gave it a light sanding just to prevent splinters. The entire frame was painted with Americana Decor chalk paint in Carbon color.

  • Reply Dinah July 9, 2015 at 2:22 am

    i love it! Going to attempt to recreate for a big bald spot in my living room! I love how some of the patterns overlap! Did you stencil on the back of the canvas to create that look or just go lighter on the paint in overlapping areas?

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog July 9, 2015 at 3:01 am

      I just laid the stencil over other painted parts and painted a shadow with very, very little paint on the brush. Glad you can use the info!! Enjoy!

  • Reply atkokosplace November 3, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    This is fantastic. I love when a DIY works out in the end! Insert cheers here* Well done! 🙂

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  • Reply H. Adams November 15, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    HI! Great idea! I want to do this! Question, what kind of paint did you use on the canvas? Acrylic?

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 16, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Hello and thanks. I used latex paint leftover from painting walls in some of the rooms. It worked great, but acrylic would be okay, too.

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