Summer Pinterest Challenge: Making Acrylic Art

It’s Tuesday the 10th… so it’s time to share this season’s (completely unofficial) Pinterest Challenge (not sponsored by Pinterest or anyone else, just dreamed up by Katie to make us stop pinning and start doing). Cue the choir of glue-gun-wielding angels!

I actually tried my hand at painting, just because I thought it would be fun to get back into. Other than this painting that I did a while back, I haven’t painted much beyond walls, accessories, and furniture for the last decade or so. Are my Pinterest challenge paintings going to land me an art opening anytime soon? Not on your life. Haha. But it was so much fun and I found spots for them all over the house – and I really do smile when I see them. The best part is that I got to spend two great evenings messing around with Christmas art supplies from John that sat unused in my closet for over six months. I really hope I stick with it, because painting is totally my idea of a good time.

As per the rules, I took inspiration (or Pintspiration, har-har) from the projects that I linked up with in last Tuesday’s post and did my own spin. Here’s a recap of them for ya:

  1. Fabric by John Robshaw reminded me of the geometric doodles that my dad used to make.
  2. Clara painted this with reckless abandon (more on that here) and I’ve always loved it.
  3. This is a cool DIY art project that I saw on Pinterest (she actually used a toothpaste lid). You can read all about it here.
  4. I asked Kristen at KFD Designs to make sure she was ok with me pinning her art. Thankfully she didn’t mind at all (she does commissioned art for anyone who wants to get this look – and as for me, I loved using her as my muse, haha).
  5. This was a DIY art project that was actually done for a Pinterest Challenge with us. So I thought that was awesome that our little challenge inspired her to make something, and in turn her result inspired me.
  6. This is a watercolor card project, but the happy colors and rough imperfect strokes are so charming.

*As for other places that I’ve found art inspiration – Michelle Armas is unparalleled (seriously, total girl crush) and this post about making abstract art over on Oh Happy Day had me pumped to paint. But enough jibber jabber – here’s the painting play-by-play:

My first painting adventure began after Clara went to bed for the night around 8pm. I got out my little set of acrylics (by Reeves) and my small canvases (which I got for a dollar each) with my Christmas gift card to Main Art Supply here in Richmond.

About twenty minutes later I had this:

I thought pretty hard about the colors I included (I love the red & coral with the green, yellow, and blue) but I tried not to think too much about the way I applied them. I literally just dabbed things on in a few spots, moved to another color and applied that, repeat, repeat, repeat. Sometimes I dragged the brush to make things look smoother and more blended while other times I did more of a dab-dab-dab application.

I actually really liked how this came out and immediately wished it was about ten times the size. Oh well, starting small was less intimidating, so I guess it worked out for me (and I can always have this blown up 300% at Kinkos on nice paper and then just frame it with a thick mat in a giant frame).

The next painting wasn’t one I loved as much as my first (maybe that was beginner’s luck?) but I didn’t hate it. I think I just connected with the colors in the first painting more, so it was a good lesson in taking my time with the colors I used instead of rushing to fill up the canvas. Painting is apparently a marathon, not a sprint.

In the end it was sweet in its own way. And at only 4 x 6″  it’s hardly a giant commitment.

Then I moved on from my canvas-wrapped boards to an actual 5 x 5″ canvas (it’s much chunkier and more substantial) and this time I went loosey goosey with it.

My entire technique was dab-dab-dab for this guy. It’s kinda water-lillies-esque to me, which I don’t think is a bad thing (love me some Monet) and the small streaks of coral and bright pops of turquoise make me happy. Once again I’m learning the color choice totally makes or breaks things in my mind.

After they all dried overnight, I studied the hallway frame wall for a spot to add them. We love switching things up on that wall, so the two thin canvas-wrapped-boards just got popped into existing frames (in place of an Ikea print and a postcard I had previously framed). See them up in the top left corner?

Still like this guy the best. Totally beginners luck. I took the glass out of this frame (it was too thick for it to fit) but the green one fit behind the glass, so I left it in for that one.

The thicker 5 x 5″ canvas found a spot on the other frame wall (top right).

Would you like fries turquoise smears with that?

Now I’m about to scare you. I laid out two larger canvas boards (8 x 11) that were $2 each and decided to photograph all the “phases” they went through. Things always start out realllllly ugly. Exhibit A:

I tend to just build and build until I get somewhere totally different. Looking back at these pictures I wonder if I should have stopped here. At the time it felt really unfinished, but I like them now. Haha.

Then I ended up here by adding a lot of white and dabbing and streaking things around. I totally should have stopped here. I love that little bright red heart hiding in the canvas on the right (the one peeking through from behind the white in the bottom left corner).

These paintings (and photographing the stages) taught me a nice lesson. Know when to stop! Haha. I kept noodling and they ended up here. I have a pretty strong preference for the paintings above these to the paintings below, but now I know. Take a breath every now and then and see if you’re just painting because it’s fun or actually making a positive improvement. Lesson learned.

Thankfully I don’t totally hate where I ended up. In person they have a really fun neon greeny-yellow color in them that makes them feel modern & happy. And it’s nice to know that I can always paint over them (that’s the beauty of paint and $2 canvas boards – zero commitment).

I also knew they’d look more finished when I framed them, so John and I actually DIYed two chunky wood frames (John will be back this afternoon with all those details – and you can do it without a Kreg Jig or any major tools for that matter – yay!). I originally planned to hang them in the office, but the stenciled walls competed, so we ended up liking them most in the kitchen. Best of all – no holes in the wall (just 3M picture hanging velcro strips for the one over the stove). Easy to do, and undo!

Speaking of the one above the stove, don’t worry about that getting splattered. I went to Lowe’s and got a $3 piece of acrylic that I slipped in front of the painting to keep it wipeable (so it’s protected from rogue spaghetti sauce splatters).

It’s funny how many things I’ve held over the stove only to decide they didn’t really work, yet this homemade painting with a homemade frame seems to slip right in. Dare I say it was meant to be? At least for now until I get a wild hair and decide to paint over them again- haha. I’ll keep you posted for sure!

So that’s how it all went down. As for the money stuff, here’s a little budget breakdown:

  • $11 – for the five canvases and the paint brush that I used (purchased at a local art shop called Main Street Art Supply)
  • $16 – for the set of 24-pack of acrylic paints by Reeves (also from Main Street Art Supply)
  • $0 – two homemade frames <–made from scrap wood and supplies we had on hand – more on that process this afternoon!
  • $0 – two more already owned frames for the smaller flat canvases in the hallway
  • $3 – piece of acrylic from Lowe’s to protect the canvas over the stove from splatters
  • Total: $30 (for five painted canvases – four of which are framed – which averages to $6 per piece)

Oh and if you call the art supplies a holiday present (since they were purchased six months ago with a Christmas gift card), I actually didn’t spend any money on this Pinterest challenge – just used things that we had like scrap wood, and inexpensive canvases and paint (other than the $3 piece of acrylic). Cheap people like me like looking at things this way. Haha.

Don’t forget to check in on Katie, Kate, and Michelle to see what amaaaaazing projects they whipped up (they’ll be sharing theirs sometime today as well)!

And now here’s the part where we invite you to share all of the fun Pinterest Challenge projects that you guys have tackled in the last week (right along with us, well at least virtually with us). If you’ve already blogged about it, just:

  1. click on the blue “Add Your Link” button with the odd cartoon head at the bottom of this post (you might have to do some scrolling, depending how many projects are added)
  2. add a link to your specific blog post about your project in the url field (not your home page)
  3. where it says “name” write a descriptive name for your project (ex: “Painted Canvases”) as opposed to your actual name
  4. we’d also love if you could quickly link back over to our project posts within your own (here’s Katie’s, Kate’s, Michelle’s, and ours) – it’s also nice to link to your inspiration project on Pinterest as well as to directly link to the original project/site, just so they get some love too.

And if you’d rather just link over to your project in the comment section, feel free to do that – or even add a link to a free photo sharing site like Flickr with your pics if you don’t have a blog (remember to set the gallery to public so we can all see it). We can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!


  1. says

    Those are really great, Sherry! you’ve inspired me to dig my set of paints out of the closet. You may have just birthed a new Etsy shop! ;) Thanks for the party and challenge…I had a ball hosting it with you guys last time, and fun being a participant (less pressure!) this time! :) xo

  2. Tracy says

    I don’t have a blog or a Pinterest board, so I might have to set up a flickr account.

    I lucked into a fun canvas paint project a few weeks ago. I was spray-painting something (wicker paper-plate holders) and my kids noticed that the cardboard underneath ended up with a neat pattern. We happened to have some 11×17 blank wrapped canvases and multiple colors of spray paint…

    The results were better than I expected!

    Next we’ll be trying the layered watercolor look :-)

  3. says

    This challenge was such good timing–I’ve had a bag of art supplies sitting in the corner for months that I just haven’t gotten around to using, but I finally got my act together over the weekend and made these gelatin prints. All of the supplies together cost less than $20, and they look surprisingly good, considering I don’t think of myself as artistic AT ALL. Seriously, put a paintbrush in my hands and a canvas in front of me, and I just wouldn’t know what to do.

    Your art over the stove also makes me realize I have space for the same, as well as over my sink. Maybe I’ll do another round of printing this weekend!

  4. Chrystal says

    I love these! Its fun to see the phases in the last set. I love the next to last phase, but I think the end product is really cool too. I have been totally wanting to give this a shot, and its fun to see it in action. Maybe I’ll actually get around to trying my hand soon.

  5. danielle says

    i think they turned out great – i really like how the last two came out – I like them a lot better than the version with more white – that wouldn’t have done anything for your kitchen so you were right to keep going!

  6. says

    These are great! An Abstract Expressionist in the making! And of course, the beauty of paint — you can just paint over it. Hah. And I have to say, your stove piece probably plays quite nicely with the swimming lady?

  7. Amber says

    Hi guys! It has been some time since I have last commented on here. Just had to say that I love your paintings, Sherry! I love the one that looks like water lillis. Also, one of the last ones remind me of hydrangeas. So pretty.

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