Fandom DIY Art Upcycle

Here’s the next of my projects to upcycle my nan’s old spare and practice paintings. I mentioned in the Mosaic Art Canvas project just how many of my nan’s paintings we had to work with; literally hundreds! This is just a fun idea I used to upcycle a couple of the spare landscape paintings. Of course all the family have lots of her best art, framed and on the wall.

I’ve used my nan’s old spare/practice paintings but you could use a charity shop, thrift store or garage sale purchase.

This is such a simple idea I nearly didn’t bother to write a whole blog post about it, but they turned out so well and are such fun I thought you might like a quick explanation.

All you need is:

  • Old art

  • Stickers or printout

  • Paper glue - I used pritt stick but any paper glue will work

  • A picture frame if your art isn’t already in a frame

These are the 3 paintings that I chose for this upcycle. My nan had painted several versions of each, the smaller cliff landscape she must have particularly liked as we found 5, each one just slightly different. These 3 were the ones my aunt and I thought were the least successful of her landscapes, making them perfect for this project.

This fun art idea couldn’t be simpler. Tuck tiny elements from your favourite fandom into old art that it really doesn’t fit with.

If you can find stickers that are the right size that would be ideal. I didn’t find exactly what I wanted in sticker form so I printed my own sheet of tiny images that I just picked up from the internet. I can’t provide you with a printable unfortunately, these items are all copyrighted of course but you can create your own really simply to fit your own particular fandom.

All you do is cut out your fandom elements and then “hide” them in the art. Exactly how you do that will depend on your art, the fandom you’ve chosen etc so I can’t tell you exactly what to do but I have a few tips:

  • I found landscape art works best for this idea.

  • If you are making your own little characters, vehicles etc then I’d suggest making a few different sizes on the page so you can play around and see what looks best on your art. Just copy and paste them and resize so you have options.

  • Originally I thought I would give each piece of art a mix of different fandoms, so I would have a darlek and a tie fighter on the same piece but in the end I found it worked best if I did one theme for each artwork.

  • Don’t add too many of your cute little cut outs (or stickers) to the art, I think less is more here. Unless you want to add loads of course, in which case go for it! It’s your art after all.

  • When you are deciding on the placement of your fun elements and you are not sure about something try taking a photo. You can often see what works better in a photo than when looking at the actual art, I think it’s because you are slightly removed from it.

  • Cut away little bits of your cut out or sticker so you can embed the elements into the art better - have it half behind a hedge or tree for example.

  • Be sparing with glue, especially on really tiny cut outs. Try to keep spill over of glue to a minimum.

  • Only do this on art that you are SURE is not wanted by anyone else or valuable.

I did 3 pieces of art:

This landscape with its Star Wars theme; tie fighters, an X wing and an AT-AT.

This country scene is Doctor Who themed with a Tardis and Darleks.

This seascape is Avatar, the last airbender (the cartoon obvs not the film!) themed with Appa and Zuko’s ship. I did consider a Loch Ness monster for this seascape. I also thought about maybe doing a Pokemon theme, plenty of water and land options to choose from, but went for Avatar in the end because I loved how the ship looked once I’d cut it out.

These have all gone to one of our sons, he has recently got his own place and was looking to get some artwork. He is a man of many fandoms so I had plenty of scope!

I like the fact that they look like they are just rather dated landscape paintings until you look closely. The fun elements are subtle enough so you discover them later rather than seeing them straight away. It reminds me a bit of the subversive cross stitch that’s popular, it appears to be one thing and then when you pay attention it turns out to be something else.

I know my nan would approve of these alterations to her old paintings, she had a great sense of humor. She would be very happy to know that her great grandson had some of the art she painted in the 1980s and 90s on his walls in 2023.

Do you fancy making some fun art to show off your favourite fandom?


I’ll be sharing this idea at some of these link ups

You might be interested to check out some of our other art ideas: