Friday, October 14, 2011

Canvas + Paint Chips = Awesome Art

I came across THIS awesome idea for using paint chips to create custom art MONTHS and MONTHS ago:

This is my inspiration piece from Life Crafts and Whatever


—and I have been wanting to give it a try ever since. 

one.  because it looks like custom, awesome art that you would pay big money for.

and two. because you get all the chips for free and so it hardly costs you anything!!!  I’m cheap like that.

So I started by collecting a ton of paint chips every time I went to the paint isle in Walmart and Home Depot and then cut them down into uniform squares (and the way I determined the size of squares was just taking the width of the paint chips and just cutting the other edge so that it was a square—it saved me on the amount of cuts I had to do.  However—not all the paint chips I collected were the exact same width—so then I did have to cut some down on both sides). 

Here I am with my adorable sister starting to cut and lay them all out.


And just let me tell you—if you are going to do a large one like I did--you need A LOT of paint chips.  I think that mine had almost 200 squares that measured over 2 and a half inches each.  So I opted to gather all my squares in a few trips rather than stuffing my purse full of 200 paint chips at one shot!

I decided to glue my paint chips onto a canvas instead of a wooden board.  Just because I wanted it to be light weight and easy to hang—and it has such a nice finished edge.  I wanted a really big one—and they just happened to be on sale at Michaels for 40% off and I had a coupon for an additional 20% off.  SO I paid something like $14 for a $40 2 x 4 foot canvas!!!

So I started off by addressing the edge of the canvas first.  I wanted them brown—so I used brown craft paint (don’t be fooled by the little can of stain in this picture—I was going to use stain—but it wasn’t getting a rich enough color—so I decided to use paint instead.) and I painted the edges of my canvas.


Here it is all painted on the edges.  Next I found the center of the canvas and drew some pencil lines making myself a grid so I would have something to keep me gluing all my squares on straight.


Then I did a practice run and laid out all of my squares before actually gluing.  I wanted to make sure that I liked the configuration of colors before I started gluing!


Then I stacked them all into piles according to their row.  Then I laid all the piles in order—and starting in the center I started mod podging them all on to the canvas.

Now—this was the hardest part.  So I don’t have any pictures of this process because I was so in the thick of all the glue and such that I couldn’t take a picture. 

But—what happened here was that as I was gluing the paint chips onto the canvas—they wanted to curl up and not lay flat.  So I would have to press them down as best I could and then lay a flat board over them while I moved onto the next section.  And finally after finishing gluing all of the pieces down—I turned the whole thing over and let it lay face down on the table with a few boards on the back of it to hold it down so that all the paint chips would be pressed flat!

This worked out all right in the end—but during this whole process I thought it was going to end up a DISASTER!  I was just thinking that I had wasted all my time and money on this wild project!!

(As I am writing this post—I just went back and read the post from my inspiration piece—and she used SPRAY ADHESIVE instead of mod podge!!!  I wish I would have read more carefully and done that!  It would have saved myself a lot of grief!!)

But finally that part was over and I could move on to the next part.

So next I put two coats of mod podge over the paint chips to seal it. 


Then I took some dark stain and put a good layer of stain over the whole thing and let it sit for a few minutes—then wiped it off.


I actually ended up wanting it a bit darker—so I did that step twice.

And I have to admit that I am in LOVE with the finished product.


I LOVE how big it is on the wall.


And I LOVE the pop of color that it gives the entry way.


But most of all—I LOVE that I made it, and that it only cost me $14!


  1. I have that some tutorial bookmarked! I"m so glad you tried it, I couldn't figure out where in the world I could put one in my house (maybe in some future pretend house). I LOVE where you put yours it looks awesome! So where did you put the other things that were hanging there?? so many questions I know. ALSO I saw your family pictures on facebook! OH MY WORD they are so beautiful. I think I need your photographers info. Great job on the art!! Can't wait to see it

  2. This is genius!! My little boy, he is six, picks up tons of paint sample colors every time we are at Menards. We have tons, I think I will put them all together for him and create this for his wall!! I love it!!

  3. HI there,

    Love how this came out. I was wondering did you seal it? If so, with what? I made two of them and sealed one with Modge podge after all was said and done, and I like the unselaed one better?


  4. Looks great! My hubby did a similar artpiece, but used pi, as in 3.14159... etc. and each number he designated a colour to, up to 100 decimal places!!! So we get cool funky art hung in the house, and he gets to be a giant maths nerd! ha ha :)


  5. I'd like to invite you to join me at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    I hope to see you there!
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  6. I have started a paint chip wall in my dinning room but i need to seal it so the chairs don't scrape them off! do you know what I could use on top of the paint chips??? I asked a woman at the hardware store if I could use wall paper glue and she just yelled at me for stealing and kicked me out..... even though I called and asked someone else if I could take them and they didn't care. anyways! any ideas on how to seal the wall????

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