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September 30, 2011

DIY Large-Scale Quote on Canvas

Hi friends! As you know, I love a good DIY project. A friend came to me a while ago and asked if I could help her blow up her favorite E.E. Cummings quote on a large canvas. I thought, sure; how hard can it be? Well, I'm going to be honest, it sure wasn't a piece of cake! But with a few suggestions and guides to use as inspiration, I was able to get the job done just fine (with a little assistance from James and Bianca the cat, of course). Here's my handy little DIY guide, in case any of you are itchin' to make a similar project of your own!
The canvas that I used for this project was made of wood and came painted and textured with oil-based paints. The texture really gives the canvas dimension and makes it unique. Anyone can do this to a plain canvas -- simply layer paint until you get the desired look you're going for. Of course, you can write a quote on almost anything -- a cloth canvas, a large sheet of paper, a wall, etc. etc. etc. The possibilities are endless!

Now, onto the supplies list...

1. A paint pen. 

Have you ever tried painting words with a paint brush? It is hard! Since I don't recommend painting words with a brush, I suggest a paint pen instead -- I used a "DecoColor" acrylic pen in black, and it worked great. For extra large projects, like this one, go ahead and buy 2-3 pens in case they dry out prematurely.

2. A pencil, ruler and eraser

You'll need a pencil and ruler to measure out each line of the poem or quote. You'll also need a big, fat eraser to get rid of the pencil marks when the project is all finished! 


3. Photoshop and/or Microsoft Word are your friends

These programs are awesome tools when it comes to projects like these. I played with this poem in a shape similar to the size of my canvas on my computer before I ever picked up a pencil. If you want the words to extend the length of the canvas, like this one, use the alignment button to stretch the words as you wish. Once the poem fit within the rectangle like I wanted it to look, I counted the lines, (24), then drew 24 even lines on the canvas, using my pencil. 

4. Get in touch with your mathematical skills (and let a furry friend in on all the fun, too)

For those of you who know me, math is not my specialty. Thankfully, it is my husband's, so I borrowed his brain (and hands) to do the math and measure 24 even lines for me! (Thanks, James!)

5. Use a print-out as a guide

Use a print-out of your handy dandy Photoshop/Word layout of the quote or poem as a guide for where to draw each letter as you move down the page -- and the canvas. For example, if the line above where you're writing starts, "It's you..." refer to your print-out and see how the letters on the next line fall in place under the "I," the "y," etc. It's a little time-consuming and nit-picky, but it will save you time in the end, and the canvas will look exactly as you planned! (And you'll still have most of your sanity to show for it, too!)

And ta-da! You have a lovely piece of art to hang in your home -- and it'll be extra special, too, because you put your own love and elbow grease into it! 

Good luck, and please feel free to message me with any questions you might have...

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