One of my favorite things to do as a stress reliever is to paint. I find a simple sense of happiness in turning an ordinary little object into a cute piece of art – especially when I find I can easily incorporate it into my home. The enjoyment of this hobby is actually one of the reasons I started Canvas Sign Designs.
I always had a love for crafting, whether it was painting, lettering, or making bows (fun fact: I used to sell handmade hair bows at craft fairs when my second oldest – Jackie – was little.) I love the transformation of making something out of nothing. It’s one of my favorite things about crafting.
I know a lot of DIY projects require painting. I also know that a lot of you want to know more about what you can do with your newly acquired painting skills after attending a paint party or tuning in to a LIVE tutorial. It may seem like there’s “nothing to do” with what you’ve learned. But you don’t have to paint the Mona Lisa to be able to paint something.
Here are some great ideas for you to use paint to transform ordinary objects into DIY masterpieces.
Okay, hear me out on this one. I don’t mean to hang up a piece of painted cardboard in your home. I mean that cardboard boxes are a great piece to practice on. You’re probably going to end up tossing whatever Amazon boxes you get in the mail out anyways, or you might already have a stash of them.
If you are good about tossing your cardboard boxes when you no longer need them, good! Please teach my daughters how to stop hoarding. You can also stop recycling them right away and keep them to practice painting on. If you have them stashed up, then you are well prepared to start practicing.
It’s exactly like using scratch paper when drawing, but because cardboard is much thicker, the paint won’t bleed through and cause your piece to get flimsy. In fact, it’s thick enough that you can use both sides even if you’re using watery paint like watercolors.
You can even recycle the cardboard when you’re done as water-based paints are recyclable. In fact, acrylic paint, which is what I use the most, is the most recycled type of paint.
Old Fence Wood
Old fence wood is ideal for smaller signs. My favorite things to paint on this type of wood are arrows and short quotes, as most fence wood is only a few inches wide.
I recommend sanding down all sides of the wood so you can avoid splinters or uneven texture when painting. Depending on the color of the wood, you can gloss over the top with a top coat of paint to keep it smooth and incorporate a rustic or natural feel. If you paint over the top with a different color, the paint will seep into the cracks, even after sanding it down. If you don’t want the wood to look rustic, I recommend sanding it down even further to create a smooth service. Be aware that this type of sanding will require a heavier duty sanding tool versus a sanding sheet.
Old Picture Frames
I have seen so many picture frames go in the garbage can just because someone didn’t like the color of the original frame. That can be such a waste because they are so easy to repurpose. It’s what I recommend the most to practice on.
Start by taking the glass out of the frame. Then, layout enough newspaper or tarp underneath so you have plenty of space to paint on. If you are using spray paint, make sure you are outside when using the paint, and be sure to properly cover your mouth and nose when painting. It seems silly, but spray paint can cause headaches, and really, who has time for that?!
Make sure you’re standing at least a foot away when spraying, otherwise the paint will get clumpy. When the paint is fully dry, you can sand down any uneven surfaces.
My other recommendation is to use acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is easy to use and easy to clean paint. It works well on just about any surface. You’ll need to apply multiple layers depending on what the original frame color is. Allow time to dry in between each coat.
Old Jars and Decorations
Painting over old jars or candle holders is a common DIY project for a reason. Bringing new life to these old products means that the purpose of the product can also change. You can turn old jars into flower vases or containers to display in your kitchen (quick tip: try painting “sugar” or “flour” with a paint pen or stencil.) Some of these can be a little trickier, but try it anyway.
Take a look in your junk pile. There might be something you can paint over and reuse. The reason we don’t like decoration can simply be because they aren’t the color we want. It’s an easy fix, just find an acrylic paint at the store that matches your preferred color scheme – or even just a color you like – and paint over it. Some ideas of this are hooks or old shelves.
Don’t be intimidated if you aren’t a master level painter. You don’t need to be to transform garage sale items into beautiful decorations. Even if you mess up or aren’t happy with the end result, it’s great practice. You were probably going to toss these items anyway, and the more you practice, the better you’ll be!
Once you get in your painting groove and make something that you really love, you’ll find that one of life’s simplest pleasures is seeing your masterpiece displayed in your home.