Monthly DIY Challenge: Abstract Canvas Art that Anyone Can Make!

Welcome, dear friends, to March’s Monthly DIY Challenge! These posts are always some of my favorite 🙂 In case you’re new, here’s the scoop: on the 2nd Wednesday of every month, me and my amazing blogger friends make something based on a common theme or material. Here are some of my favorite past Monthly DIY project materials: Michaels crates, wood slicesplumbing piecesbalsa wood/craft plywood, and cork. Last month we worked with metallic paint, which was ton’s of fun, and this month’s material is canvas! Yay art!

monthly diy challenge

I know a lot of you are probably out there thinking “I’m no artist, I can’t make pretty artwork to hang in my home” – but that is where you are wrong, my friends! There is a creative person hidden inside of you just waiting to come out! If you aren’t sure of what to paint, working in abstract will be your best friend 🙂 Just pick your fave color palette and away you go! You’ll make something beautiful, promise 😉

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Abstract Canvas Art Materials

Here’s what I started with – a blank canvas. I decided to work a bit bigger and got a 20 x 20 canvas, but you can work in whatever size will fit your space or needs.

diy easy abstract canvas art

I find it easiest to work on an easel, but if you don’t have one at home, you can still do this piece easily by laying it flat over some newspaper on a table. Work with what you have! You don’t need to have all the fancy schmancy tools to be an artist 😉

Step 1

This step is optional, but I find that it gives the finished piece a more textured and professional-looking finish. Take some modeling paste and a palette knife, as seen here:

diy easy abstract canvas art

Load your knife up with some paste and then smear it across your canvas in a haphazard fashion. Smooth some areas out and leave others bumpy and raised. Experiment with different swooshes and swipes until your entire canvas has a pleasingly textured surface, like the picture below, and let dry.

diy easy abstract canvas art

Step 2 – whenever!

Pick out some acrylic paints in your favorite color palette. I absolutely adore blues and greens, so I decided to make those hues my main color scheme. Now, the great thing about abstract art is that it doesn’t have to be perfect and is completely up to interpretation 🙂 Take one of your lighter colors (or mix a darker one with white to lighten it up) and make some random dabs and swoops on the canvas. If you feel so led, paint along some of the modeled paste areas that you laid out earlier.

diy easy abstract canvas art

Since it’s a bit difficult to instruct someone on how to paint an abstract painting, I made a little flipogram showing you the progress of my painting. My best advice would be to mix colors and work in layers. If you want your colors to blend, use the same paintbrush as you did for the previous color and paint when everything is still wet. If you want a layer or color to stand out and not be mixed, wait until your current layer dries before adding new paint and use a clean brush. It’s all up to the artist (yes, that’s YOU!) on where you want your piece to go. Notice in my flipogram that I worked in layers of color – first aqua, then dark blue, then greens, and so on. Even consider leaving some areas white for stark contrast and interest!

For a more modern look, I used a lot of up and down and side to side brush strokes. I wanted a more clear focal point, so I decided to add some metallic gold and tan paint to the center area to draw the eye across and upward. Experiment with a contrasting or coordinating color to direct the eye or add an unexpected splash!

Final Step

If you want to add a bit of extra pizazz to your painting (and who wouldn’t, really) then you can apply a bit of gold leaf for some fun texture and a metallic pop! How you apply depends on the kit you buy (I got mine from Michaels) so I applied the adhesive with an easy to use applicator pen, waited for it to dry to a tacky consistency, then placed the gold leaf sheets over the sticky areas and rubbed with my fingernail until it adhered to my canvas. It was my first time using gold leaf and it it was easy peasy!

diy abstract canvas art

And that’s it! A fun and beautiful piece of DIY abstract canvas art that you can make yourself – even if you don’t consider yourself an artist! This was a fun and relaxing way for me to spend my afternoon and I loved not having to put pressure on myself to make it perfect – it is abstract after all! 😉 I just put on the Harry Potter Marathon on ABC Family (or “Freeform” as they are trying to get us to call it… hah) and painted the day away. Ahhh, relaxing! Now I have a pretty piece of DIY art for my home 🙂

diy abstract canvas art

diy abstract canvas art

diy abstract canvas art

My abstract canvas art looked nice on my mantel, but I think it’s final home will be on the sideboard in the same room. I like how it looks leaning agains the wall and I think it pairs nicely with my geometric buffalo art, too!

diy abstract canvas art

diy abstract canvas art

It felt really good to get back into painting and I encourage you to give it a go, even if you don’t think of yourself as an artist. This abstract canvas art is so easy, anyone can do it! So unleash your inner creative self and create some beautiful artwork that will last for a lifetime – I believe in you 🙂


Wanna try it yourself? Get the tools you need!

Now that you’ve seen my Monthly DIY Challenge canvas project, be sure to check out all of my friend’s awesome canvas projects! They are so creative and clever – you definitely don’t want to miss out! Just click on a picture below to be magically transported to their blog via the interwebz 🙂 


Love the project? Pin it! <3

diy abstract canvas art tutorial

Would you give this abstract canvas art a go? What’s holding you back?





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