Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Easy DIY Abstract Art

You really don't need lots of mad artistic skills to make a passable piece of abstract art for your home.
Easy DIY Abstract Art
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Our dining room has needed a something to go on the wall in a big ol' space for the 2 1/2 years since we moved here. 
I finally found a suitable old canvas in a local charity shop to paint over and last week I got to work. It's really easy and quite a lot of fun to make your own art and if you don't like it or get tired of it after a while you can just paint over it!

To make you own DIY Abstract Art you will need:

A canvas - buy new or pick up one in a charity shop or garage sale maybe
Household emulsion paint (latex)
Spray and/or acrylic paint in your choice of secondary colours 
A couple of brushes, nothing special - just use what you have
Ideas - pinterest is your friend here, I've a board of ideas to get you started.

I found this red canvas for £4, it's about 24" x 31" (61cm x 79cm) - perfect.
The first thing you want to do is get rid of any colour you don't want. 
I wanted our new art to be shades of white & grey with a touch of blue and pink. So I painted the whole canvas with 2 coats of regular household emulsion paint (I believe you call it Latex in the US)  
Now you are going to create your masterpiece. 
It's all about splodging on layers of paint until you are happy. How you do this will depend on the look you want and the paint you have.
I had a very small bit of spray paint left over from something else in the perfect shade of blue so that's where I started.
It may be hard for you to believe but this is not the final look I was going for!!! My husband pulled a doubtful face at this point, I don't blame him!
You can see I also had a teeny tiny bit of silver spray paint hanging around so I squirted that on too. If I had had more silver I think I would have done much more of that and much less of the blue. But this is ok, because we are working in layers these early stages don't really matter too much. Just keep going!

Next I mixed my grey acrylic paint with the emulsion (latex) and just painting in on randomly. I gave the middle a bit of interest with a band just the grey on it's own and a bit of a line up the right side. I just left a few bits of blue showing properly, but there are a few areas where the white/grey mix is pretty thin and the blue shows through lightly. 
Once you have the bare bones like this I'd recommend letting it marinate. You want to leave it to dry anyway, but give yourself a day or so to look at it again with fresh eyes. 
I decided this needed to be lighter all over and it needed some proper points of interest. 
I added a few areas of pink, a few grey and white lines with the finer brush. It was all very add hock, just a few bits here and there. Stand back every now and again, make a cuppa then return to your art and see what you think it needs more of. 
Just keep going with random blocks, lines or even dots and whirls if you like. Stop when you think it's enough.

To finish I used the larger of my brushes, with just the smallest amount of white paint to go over most areas. This softened the whole thing and lightening up some of the areas that felt too dark.
You can see here how the almost dry brush softens the pink area.
This is probably the busiest part of the artwork. Those lines through the white blob were done with the thinner brush and grey paint whilst the white shape underneath was still wet, to give a variable effect.
You can see the almost dry brush effect in this close up too.

And here it is in all it's glory in situ.
Make your own abstract art
I'm sure the light balance is all off in this photo, the sun was streaming in the window - hooray! But it gives you an idea. One day I'm going to paint those wooden chairs white. 
You can also see my globe makeover and where it lives ....
... and those are my Autumn Apothecary jars on the table 

I really enjoyed making my unique piece of abstract art and as a complete bonus, I hardly spent a thing. 
Make your own abstract art
The main rule seems to be there are no rules, it's art so you can do what you like. 
Easy DIY canvas art
If you paint a bit and the next day decide you don't like it you can just paint over it. Have fun, I can honestly say it was much easier than I thought it would be to create something that's not embarrassing to hang on the wall. Do you fancy having a go?

Sum of their Stories
Sum of their Stories

Hello, I'm Julie. I love making things and this is where I share my enthusiasm.


  1. You know, for an "abstract", I'm actually seeing a lot of "structure"!
    The grey bit on the right looks like steep-roofed barn... The other blue and red bits, seem silo-ish... And the bottom half, a reflection from the above half!
    Whatever. Nicely done!
    Although, for the price of your materials, you might have been able to pick up some original art at the thrift store as well..? -- Something that I'm totally addicting to doing! I've gotten nearly 150 pieces so far, THIS year! Enough to FILL a gallery! I might have to start Renting some of them out! [Love then too much to REsell!]

    BTW, the chairs, paint them BLUE to match your Painting's blue and that Vase on the right...

    1. I must like structure unconsciously! I guess there is a bit of a reflected water vibe going on too.
      I'd love to paint the chairs a vibrant colour but I thought it would be too much. When I finally get round to it I may go crazy and use a bright colour after all!

  2. Seeing your painting in place, I think the chairs would look great in green, blue or the red(?) of the painting to continue the pop of color & tie your room together. Nice work! I enjoy your blog. Laura/USA

    1. Thanks Laura, I am coming round to the colourful chair idea now.

  3. What a transformation. Some gorgeous textures in your painting!

  4. I love your abstract painting and does look good on that wall

  5. I love your painting, to me, it looks like a city reflected in water - and this is the beauty of abstract: we all see different things, don't we? Now, I can't wait to see the painted chairs!

  6. I see a house at the waters edge - it looks great Julie

  7. Great piece, Julie. I love doing abstract myself and love getting new and fresh inspiration from others who enjoy it, too. I like that you reused an old piece - smart idea. Love the final product & it looks great in your home, too :)

  8. Wow! This is awesome! So creative, and resourceful. Looks like an expensive, professional piece that took a long time to get just right. Perfect! Pinned for inspiration.

  9. I often buy old canvas artwork and repaint it. I have never tried to do an abstract art though. Great simple idea and easy to add to your colour scheme.

  10. Julie it was very clever of you to paint over that red mess. See, the upcycler in me never stops. I also like the tip about using latex paint to make a nice backdrop. Your art turned out great and could easily sell for hundreds of dollars!


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