diy abstract art

Not everything I craft actually ends up in my house (or used). A lot of times crafting is just fun. This is one of those scenarios. My one super exciting accidental Black Friday score was a random trip to Michael’s when I discovered that everything was 67% off, plus an additional 20% off (???!!!!). I bought the largest canvases they sell since the walls in my house are still very much bare. I thought I would spend the weekend painting something fabulous and original (original, as in something Pinterest told me to do) to hang in my dining room.

I spent hours on Pinterest looking for the painting I would knock off. I was completely lost in a sea of ombre meets ikat meets gold foil meets abstract canvas art but I was sure this would turn out to be a masterpiece. After all, the instructions seemed super easy.

Well, it was pretty easy. Buuuuut, it ended up being a totally different style than the rest of my house. If I had to describe the style of my house it would go something like this: modern-contemporary with a hint of Scandinavian and mid-century modern. I guess some would consider that eclectic. But then there are random splashes of Jonathan Adler & Kelly Wearstler-esque elements that really throw off that description entirely.

Needless to say, the paining was fab but didn’t match the aesthetic in that part of the house. The “upper” living area of my house (it’s open concept so the kitchen, dining, and sitting rooms all must be cohesive and flow) is edgier. Lots of black, white, copper, brass, and wood. No room for a bright, colorful, fun, gold-foiled canvas. Luckily, my mom’s house is just that! Bright and fun, and pink. Phew…at least I found a home for this one.

diy abstract canvas art

I wasn’t planning to do a blog post about this canvas until I received so many requests via Snapchat (thank you!!!) for one. I apologize for the terrible iPhone photos to follow, but I was far too in the moment to bust out the real camera. You get the idea though…

Here’s what you need:

diy abstract canvas

Start by watering down the glue with some water in a plastic cup. Using the sponges cover random areas of the canvas where you want the gold foil. I did a sort-of diagonal with random patches of gold. Tip: you can (and will) add more gold later so don’t worry if you feel you don’t have enough after this step.

In case you aren’t familiar with how delicate gold foil is, be very cautious about touching it with your fingers. It rips / breaks very easily. I wanted a more raw edge so after placing down the gold square, I would use a dry paintbrush to screw up the edges to be more jagged. I also left mine a little “bubbled” to give the canvas more texture.

how to paint a canvas

Now the fun begins. Squirt paint directly onto the canvas (no rhyme or reason to the color selection) and begin using a medium-sized brush to create strokes up and down, sort of blending the colors. Try not to go over the gold foil, as it will most likely just take it off and create a big mess on your brush.

colorful diy canvas

I didn’t hold back on the colors at all. I figured the brighter the better since it will eventually all get covered in white.

abstract canvas art

If I didn’t take the next step (covering everything with white), this is what my canvas would have looked like. It’s pretty fun as is, but never in a million years would I imagine my husband finding these colors acceptable in our neutral living spaces. However, funnily enough, he preferred the canvas this way! Of course he did.

Allow your colors to settle (doesn’t have to be completely dry) before moving on.

diy gold leaf canvas

Using a paint “spatula” spread a layer of white paint over all color (except the gold foil). My technique was to dump a bunch of white paint on the canvas and scrape it in different directions. You want a little of the color underneath to show so don’t make it too thick.

diy gold leaf art

This is when you may start suffering from depression and those “oh shi* I fuc*ed it up!” thoughts start settling in. DON’T! Now you must RE-apply color along the edges of the gold foil to make it pop. Don’t be afraid of the bright colors and also grey and black add a lot of dimension and shading, so work those in sporadically.

Now would also be the time to add some more gold foil if you feel you missed some spots.

Ultimately this is supposed to be “abstract” art and there is no right or wrong way. However, if you like what I created here, now you know how. I would love to see how some of you put your own spin on this and the different color combinations. And at the end of the day if you’re not thrilled, you most likely had a fabulous time making it and could potentially be a very heartfelt, homemade gift for someone. Enjoy!