How to make wall art with paint pens | How About Orange

August 20, 2010

How to make wall art with paint pens

I stumbled on a half-finished, abandoned canvas in a drawer the other day. Poor thing. I felt sorry for it, so I turned it into a DIY tutorial. If you've got some wall space to fill, here's a way to use transfer paper and paint pens to make your own decorative art.

Paint some abstract stripes on your canvas with acrylic paint. No need to be too careful. Be free!

Choose an image you'd like to reproduce, and size it for your canvas with a photocopier or printer. Tape sheets of paper together if needed. This Victorian ornament is from one of Dover's electronic clip art books. You could also search this vintage clip art library, or draw your own if you're good like that.

Cut a piece of graphic transfer paper to the size of your image. This stuff is found at art stores. Be careful when handling it or your fingers will turn gray. Place the paper graphite side down on the canvas. Place your image on top, face up. Use a few pieces of tape to fix the stack in position.

Then trace over your image with a pencil, being careful not to rest your hand heavily on the paper or you'll end up with unwanted graphite smudges. Remove the papers.

Trace over the transferred lines with a permanent paint marker. I like DecoColor markers, which come in various tip widths and tons of colors. They're available at most art stores. I've used Sharpies before, but they tend to dull and dry up quickly, and it's hard to get even coverage. As you're tracing, keep a blank sheet of paper between your hand and the canvas to avoid smearing the graphite lines. The paint marker will dry almost instantly.

If the paint marker lines look too shiny to you when you're finished, give your painting a coat of clear acrylic gel medium to even out the shine difference between the matte acrylic paint and the shiny marker.

56 comments:

Jeanee said...

I just may try that!

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

Your blog is one of my favorites even though I don't get to visit often. When I do I don't want to leave.

Thanks for the tutorial....as usual....it is great!

Smiles,
Kelly

Grandma G said...

Hmmm... I don't need to do that. I already have a painting like that! :)

Thanks,
Mum

TheDana said...

Nifty idea. I just happen to have some left over canvases. What a fun weekend project! Good thing it's the weekend :)

Sarah @ The Ugly Duckling House said...

Thank you for the clipart link. This is going to make our guestroom a lot more fun!

Nena Nadine said...

I think I'll try this with my husbands art. It'll work perfectly!

deb said...

I love coming here. I'm no artist,
but you make me dream.

Lauren said...

the paint pens are great... we have experience with Sharpies black color changing over time, so probably they're not such a good idea anyway.

PHARES CAUSEY said...

That graphite paper is a dream come true! I have a feeling I am going to be tracing things all around the house now. Great find-thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

Oooh, I love this. I had no idea something like graphite paper existed. :) Thanks for the fun idea!

Amanda aka MamaRobot said...

Never knew about this transfer paper! Ooh, the possibilities! Thanks for sharing this!

Shannon Koeninger said...

Love this.

Marisa said...

This is so cool! Now we need to move to a bigger house so I have wall space to fill. :)

Mini-Martha said...

so cool!

Carmen Rose said...

Love this! Thanks for sharing your idea!

rilojane said...

Well, now THERE'S something I need to do!!! This is such a great and inexpensive project! Thanks for the share.

Maureen said...

Cool, I can't wait to try this!

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Oh my gosh I love this so, so much! I know what I'll be doing next week. I'll be spreading the word as well. Thanks tons for this!

Anonymous said...

did you post something almost like this a year or two ago?

Lolitadewdrop said...

I love this!! You make it look so easy. :)

Kokabella said...

What a terrific idea! I have just the old canvas print in mind! Thanks :-)

Jess said...

Anonymous, I showed a picture of something similar I made, but without the instructions.

Sreelu said...

Very creative

Kelleigh Brill said...

cool :) I just moved into my college dorm and I was looking for decoration ideas. Going to try this I think.

Julie said...

i have so many canvases lying around and this looks like a perfect way to dress them up! perfect! thanks!

Cindy Lyle said...

Perfect! This is EXACTLY the kind of art my niece wants on the walls in her new bedroom!

Cindy Lyle said...

Perfect! This is EXACTLY the kind of art my niece wants to put up in her new bedroom! Thank you for all the tips.

Meaghan said...

This looks great - I certainly would need to do something with transfer paper to get a gorgeous piece of art - my drawing skills are horrendous!!

s. said...

this is REALLY cool! i need some art for my bare walls! and what fun to make it myself! :D

3 M's said...

wow- awesome idea :)
I have a baby room to decorate and think something like this is in order! another great idea and well-written tutorial. Thank you!

Atypical Type A said...

Great idea - I always love finding ways to reuse old neglected things lying around in closets.

- Alicia

Atypical Type A said...

Great idea - I always love finding ways to reuse old neglected things lying around in closets.

- Alicia

concretenprimroses said...

Terrific!
I've been scrounging carbon paper since it isn't to be had at office supplies stores any more. Good to know the name to look for at an art supply site.
Kathy

concretenprimroses said...

Terrific!
I've been scrounging carbon paper since it isn't to be had at office supplies stores any more. Good to know the name to look for at an art supply site.
Kathy

CitricSugar said...

Love the new look!

Lauren said...

Your blog is one of my favorites. I visit everyday. This project sounds so easy. I just have to do it.

Thank you for posting your work!

down comforter said...

That is so pretty!

Periwinkle Paisley said...

That is cool and very easy!

Dana said...

I really liked the idea of creating wall art with things around the house.

Kimberly said...

love this! It's a great piece of custom art, for sure.

Mama Lisha said...

really nice demo on the graphite paper... I'm an artist who makes transfer paintings on paper, come visit my blog and see 'My Paintings'.

Leigh said...

I wonder if I could use this graphite paper on fabric for the same effect. Mmmm - wait - isn't there transfer paper made for fabric? yes... I seem to remember... I need to paint some words on fabric but I don't want to do it in my chicken scratch - so I want to trace some fabulous fonts... this is so much easier than my alternative: cutting each word out of freezer paper and using the paper as a stencil!

Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site howaboutorange.blogspot.com
Is this possible?

Jess said...

Leigh, this stuff looks like a fabric equivalent of the graphite paper. Don't use graphite paper on fabric or it will get really dirty, really fast!

Linda said...

Just wanted to say thank-you for your wonderful blog!

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your life journey to share such spectacular projects with everyone!

I love your little space on the Internet!

Meg Rupp said...

I just love this graphic design -- can you specify which book this design came from?

Jess said...

It's called 1500 Decorative Ornaments (CD-Rom and Book).

Jenn L said...

I linked to this post in my blog! Such a fabulous idea! I can't wait to make my own once I get settled in my new house! Thank you so much for posting this =) LOVE your blog x100

xoxo
Jenn L @ Peas & Crayons

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this idea! You've sparked a whole new hobby of mine that I've been enjoying so much lately! I like in a foreign country where it is pennies to buy carbon paper too which helps so much. I can't paint fancy pictures, but I love painting stripes!
Katie

Jeannie said...

I've been stalking your blog for a while now and i LOVE this idea!!! I saw a how-to that used a laser printer and a cool modge-podge technique to transfer the image but who has the money for a laser printer? I am going to make a trip to the craft store as soon as possible to get this transfer paper!

Holly said...

WHY ARE YOU SO GENIUS???? I've been looking at all your tutorials and I love every single one! Where will I find the time to do all these wonderful projects?? I just made the recycled flowers that are precious and now I must try this when I can. I love you, thank you for sharing your craftiness with the world!
Holly

Miss B. said...

Your creativity floors me, I love this!

xx,

Miss B.

valentine said...

OMG! I think this is such an amazing idea!!! I wish it wasn't 10 o'clock at night so I could run to the store to get the items to create my own!!!

Aundria B. said...

I was just wondering what to do with that canvas that I initially loved but never ever put up! Great idea - thank you!

mcvick said...

this is so pretty! love, love, love the colors!

you know you can save $$ on the transfer paper by rubbing some artists charcoal directly onto the back of the image too and tracing.

Kelli said...

I used this tutorial to make my own paint pen art, but I have a suggestion - instead of paying so much for charcoal paper or charcoal, you can just print out your photo and color the back of the paper with a pencil. that way, you won't have any charcoal smears on your canvas!

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