I love me some canvas projects. But not all canvases end up being winners. I have 3 favorite projects for upcycling your old canvas. Ok, well, 3 favorites that don’t involve simply painting a solid color over it. I’m going to show you one today that I’ve known for a while, one next week that I learned on Pinterest, and one the following week that I just learned from a friend and will flat out rip off and call it my own. Or I’ll give her credit. We’ll see.
For today’s upcycle, you will need an old canvas, decoupage glue, and an old book or newspaper. My basic inspiration for this specific project comes from Creating While Waiting. While the decoupage-over-canvas is something I’ve done in the past, I loved the birds on a wire theme. I mean, fat birds, thin wire. What’s not to love?
The first thing I did was spread some decoupage glue on my canvas and add a sheet from a book. I glued on top of the paper as well, gently pushing out any wrinkles. Then I added glue to another section, added another piece of paper, and repeated the process. I kept on truckin’ until my canvas was covered and was, more or less (less, for the record), wrinkle free.
This process would be helpful to show, right? See, this is the problem with being a new blogger. I just do stuff and then partway through I think, “this would be AWESOME for Three Blind Wives!” And then I start taking pictures. So this is where I started taking pictures — at the end of step one.
I liked the fat birds and considered also using fabric like my inspiration did. In other words, blatantly copy her. Then, in my “random stuff I will craft with” collection, I saw a deck of playing cards that was short a few cards. I was saving them to make Christmas ornaments (idea stolen from Daniél!). But I love the universal playing card motif. Everyone will recognize it the second they see it. I enjoy tapping into our collective cultural awareness.
The pattern says “quail” to me more than “cute little birds.” I never expected anything to inspire me towards quail in any form however who am I to argue with the voices in my head? I cut out my fat birds into vaguely quail like shapes.
I added some detail to my birds. See what I did here? The heart wing? The spade eye? Clever, huh?
My kids tried to talk me into finding a way to use both the diamond and the club as well, but I already felt like I was overplaying my hand. Get it? Overplaying my hand? Yeah, got it. Overplayed.
After I had the birds together, I decoupaged them to my decoupaged canvas. Thick paper like playing cards don’t become one with the item the way napkins do when you decoupage them. Don’t expect miracles but do expect lots of glue to be used. I used decoupage under and on top of the birds.
Then I decided that I wanted a word to go with my birds. My inspiration uses the word “hope” which I like, but it doesn’t say “bird” to me. I don’t personally find birds hopeful unless I’m hoping they don’t poop on me or try to steal my food at the beach. Damn seagulls. I couldn’t think of a word so I turned to the insightful mind of my 6 year old.
Me: Eden, what word do you think of when you think of birds?
Insightful 6 year old: Chirp.
A realist. I like it.
This is where I look at it and say, “that’s just not right.” I used the yellow for the inside of the letters to add a splash of color, but it simply doesn’t work. As my husband would say, I’m going off brand (he’s so corporate). I’m going with this red, black, and white playing card theme and then BAM! Yellow letters. Out of nowhere.
Back to my motif.
The plan is to let it sit and then see what else it needs me to do. For starters, I can tell I need to darken the letters and wrap the fake telephone wire around the edge of the canvas. Maybe sharpen the edge of the fake telephone wire… if I can find my fine point sharpie, that is. Yes, that’s sharpie baby. I’m a highbrow crafter fo’ sho’.