Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Last Minute Gifts

Need a quick gift that takes a little money, less time, and actually looks pretty amazing?  Well, this here is the post for you.  Make some gorgeous canvas art and you'll be free from mall crowds and that last mad dash for gifts.

I would say this canvas art costs less than $10, takes less than half an hour, and looks like a million bucks.  Or at least $500,000.  To get started, I used a 12" square canvas - any size will do really, and using a 50% off coupon at Michael's or Hobby Lobby makes them so cheap it's silly.  To age it, I used this process I learned from Ashley over at Lil Blue Boo, and added some tea.  In case, like me, you are often too lazy to click on links, here's the quick and dirty summary - soak steel wool in white vinegar overnight (at least), and you'll have a magical aging potion for wood, paper, and fabric/canvas.  I've had mine fermenting for about 2 months, so there is no actual steel wool left in it.  If you get to this point, shake well before using to get a nice even aging potion.  The tea is just tea - but just in case there is some amazing chemical process going on, I tell what I use: one Luzianne family size tea bag in a cup or so of water, then let steep for 20 minutes.  Also, use a paintbrush that you don't sleep with every night - it will be permanently dyed dark gray during this process.
I start with the steel wool-vinegar (SWV) soup, and apply a liberal layer.  The application process does not have to be exact.  The patterns and striations will appear while wiping it off.
Once you've covered everything, wipe off.  Wipe a lot off, wipe a little - use smooth strokes, or blot.  How you do it will dictate how the canvas looks, so experiment until you get what you want.
You can stop here, and you'll have a nice brownish finish with subtle patterns.  Or, you can add tea, which for some reason reacts with the SWV soup to make a grayish color - perfect for me!  When applying the tea, be aware that it instantly reacts and shows brush strokes, drips, etc.  You can cover some or all of the canvas, depending on your preferences in vintage canvas art.  Below are some examples of my canvases. 
In the spirit of being a good tutorial provider, I also tried some with just SWV soup, and some with just tea.  The tea required two coats, and do not wipe off the excess - just stick it in a 150 degree oven to dry for a few minutes.  Then, I dripped some extra drips of tea, let them dry, then scrubbed a little to tone down the edges.
The SWV soup alone was a little less picky, and I didn't do any drips because just wiping off one layer made nice subtle patterns that I personally liked quite a lot.
For my art, I stenciled a quote by Helen Keller and a bird on a branch that I made using my Silhouette in white and turquoise acrylic paint.  But, I think I'm going to make some photo collages with these - a la my popular ornaments of last year!  Or maybe a combo photo, family name or message canvas - oh, the possibilities!
Maybe I could use a picture of my daughter and Grandma in their new matching nightgowns?
Or this angry bird and his Papa?  
I don't know, they are both such cute little munchkins!  We are at my childhood home for the pre-holidays (spending Christmas at home with our in-laws this year).  I'll post pictures of my photo collages soon!

Sharing here:



  1. I LOVE the matching nightgowns, what a lovely idea.

  2. This is such a great technique! I love the 'aged' look. Thanks for sharing! -Meg


I read all your comments - and I'll respond if you aren't a no-reply blogger!