Thursday, June 7, 2012

DIY Custom Canvas Word Art

 I have professed my love of DIY personalized gifts before, so when an invitation to my nephew's 2nd birthday party arrived I knew I could dream up something just for him. I made myself a "Family Rules" canvas about a year ago {there are tutorials all over blogland; this is a good one from the Pleated Poppy}.
I used that as my jumping off point, but tweaked things a bit to suit my needs.
{Don't worry-- we gave him a toy, too. I know 2-year-old boys well enough to realize this is not something they are thrilled with.}

 I'm not the type of person who gets all stressed about things being perfect in a project like this {see the crooked lettering in the above photo if you don't believe me}, so if you're that type... this may not be the tutorial for you. But if "good enough" is good enough for you, well then, you and I might just get along.

This entire project was under $10, and it probably took me 2 hours, total. It could have taken much less time, but I chose a complicated, very detailed font. Lesson learned. Next time, I will choose a simpler font.

Here's what you'll need:

Some fun scrapbook paper. I love the vintage look of this paper; plus, the colors matched my nephew's bedroom perfectly. Be sure to choose paper that is not too dark, or with a complicated pattern. The words will be hard to read otherwise.

 Printed out copies of your chosen words. With different words, this project could be customized for a wedding, anniversary, a more girly version... the sky's the limit. I enlarged the words with my copier so that the letters were about 1 1/2" tall.

A canvas and some craft paint. I used a 12"x12" canvas, but, again, you can do whatever size your little heart desires. No need to be careful with this step, it's mostly going to be covered anyway. Be sure to paint the outer edges of the canvas, too, since they will show when it is hung on the wall.

A sturdy pencil with lots of lead, because in order to transfer your words onto the scrapbook paper you need to scribble on the back side of each letter, like so:
Then you place the paper onto the scrapbook paper and trace over the outer edges with your pencil. The scribbles on the flip side will leave an outline where you trace, kind of like using carbon paper. 
Voila, your words are on the scrapbook paper and you didn't have to change the settings on your printer. 
I went over each letter with a paint pen, as well. 

Then I trimmed each word with a fancy scissors so they would all fit and arranged them in the order I liked.
I forgot to take a picture of the last step {oops, bad blogger}, but here's what you do:
Go over each strip of paper with a light coat of Mod Podge and gently press it down onto your canvas. Let it dry thoroughly and then give it one more all-over coat of Mod Podge to seal it up. The paper might bubble a bit, but it's not noticeable when it's all dry {told ya, I don't sweat the small stuff}.

I cut out and added some of the fun, retro pictures to finish it off.  
And that's it {I hope it made sense!}
A simple, cute, cheap, and personal gift.

Have you done any similar projects? I'm a sucker for word art, so I'm always looking for new ideas. Let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to hear what you think!

I'm linking up at these awesome parties:
The Shabby Nest
I Gotta Try That


  1. cute! I am pinning it on my pinterest!

    1. I'm glad you liked it! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Very cute and it has so many possibilities. Great tutorial.


    1. I think it would be so fun to do a baby girl version with words like sparkle, shine, dance, and dream! Thanks for stopping by! :)

  3. So cute! Thanks for sharing! I'm going to try one with our family rules/mission statement! And I'm pinning it! :)

    1. Thanks! I love the family rules ones. You'll have to take pics for your blog when you do yours!

  4. I love it! So vibrant and so cool, too!

    1. Thanks so much! Picking the paper and colors was the best part!

  5. So fun with great colors! I love these. Would love you to share on my linky party!
    Marcie @

  6. Did you have issues with bleeding and Mod Podge? Does the paint stay intact? I noticed ink and markers bleed if you cover them with MP. I love this project!


I read and appreciate every one of your comments. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know what you think.