Last year, I whipped up this little DIY Christmas art using chipboard letters and a little wooden nativity ornament.
It was a fun little project, and after the holidays were over, I stored it back in the dark recesses of our guest closet, where my piles of unused decorations go to hide.
I suspect when we turn out the lights, they probably come to life, Toy Story style, with the ceramic animals singing a collaborative musical number and the empty vases leading a fight-club style throwdown. That’s the only way to explain how my Christmas canvas came out this year looking like this:
Is there any other logical explanation for this?
It was super easy and only took me maybe an hour total. I seriously slapped it together. I get a lot of comments and emails from people asking me to just make them one of my other Christmas canvases because they’re afraid to attempt it. You guys: it’s hard to mess this stuff up! If I can do it, you totally can.
I taped off a little manger shape with painter’s tape on a 16×20 canvas.
Then poured a bunch of different blue and black acrylic paints onto a plate and mixed them together, then smeared ’em all over the canvas, making sure to be extra careful on my tape lines. The best way to do it is to start with the brush on the tape and brush away from the tape. I forgot to take pictures of this step because I was doing it after the kids went to bed while watching something intelligent on TV (or maybe it was reality TV, hard to say which).
For last year’s canvas, I painted the star with more acrylic paint, but this year I wanted to try something different. At first I thought I would make a star stencil, and spray paint inside it with acrylic spray paint… but once I drew out the star (freehanded) on a piece of cardstock, I decided I kinda liked how the texture of the pen marks looked.
So I took it outside and zapped it with some metallic gold spray paint.
Then I just cut the shape out and glued it onto the canvas with some good ol’ elmer’s glue, to keep it classy.
Next up was the hand-lettering. I used a silver metallic sharpie this time. It worked great. First, I practiced the lettering on a piece of paper, then traced it lightly on the canvas in pencil to see if I liked it. Then I decided I couldn’t really tell, so I just grabbed the sharpie and went for it.
I think if you’re doing swirly, loopy handlettering like this, it’s easiest to draw out all the main parts of the letters first and leave the swoopy parts for last so you can see where to fill them in:
This is what I ended up with:
At this point, I stopped and stared at the canvas for a while, not really sure how I felt about it. Something seemed off…
Then Andy pointed out that it didn’t really make any sense to have a white manger, so I taped back over the manger and painted it with a glossy acrylic black paint.
That felt better. I like how the glossy black, the shiny letters and the metallic star all have a little gleam too ’em that you don’t get with the rest of the sky.
It was a fun little project, and hopefully this painting won’t get so beaten up in my decoration fight club closet.
Are you attempting any holiday art this year? Do you have a closet full of decorations that get into mischief when you’re not looking? (That’s a normal thing, right?)
P.S.: Check out these other holiday decorating ideas!