Typographic Canvas {DIY}

When I first moved into my house a little over two years ago, I was desperate for art to go on my new walls but was feeling empty in my bank account.  I was really into typographic posters and figured I would just make myself some art.  I have since made others for friends and for myself, so I would figured I would just show ya’ll how to do it and then you can make your own.  For this version, I decided to play with textures (shiny vs. matte) and a tone on tone look.

What you’ll need:

1) Canvas- whatever size you want.  These can be purchased at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby amongst other places.  For this, I used an 18X18″ canvas.

2) Cardstock (recycled if possible so as not to upset the earth and Colleen)  for letters.  This is what I used for several reasons.  For one, I was feeling cheap the first time I did this and just wanted to use what I had.  Also, I did not care for any of the fonts that were available in the pre-cut vinyl stickers and did not feel like  shelling out millions of dollars for chipboard letters.  I like that the cardstock comes up a little on the edges when you are spray painting and it looks a little more rustic, like…

(A previously completed canvas that showcases the effect better.  Ignore my shadows on the photo.)

Like I stated previously, you may go out and buy chipboard letters or vinyl letter stickers and it will take you less time for sure but you will have less options, it will be a little more expensive, and the edges will look crisp.

3) Spray paint- two colors.  One for the letters color and one for the canvas color.  If you would like to do tone on tone like me, choose one color and one white.

4) Spray adhesive

5) Scissors (if you are doing it my way)

What you’ll do:

1) If you are printing and cutting out your own letters like I did, choose your quote and your font.  I suggest a bolded printed font and not a scripted one.  I used “Bookman Old Style” font bolded at 175 size because that’s what fit my canvas.  On another project, I used 225 because it was on a bigger canvas (24″X30″).  Just make sure it will fit before you start cutting.  Print it out on your cardstock.

A little glimpse into why I can never get anything done around here.

2) Cut out all your letters and keep them together in piles with the words they belong to.  I did not cut out the circles in the middle of my letters because I did not want to have to bust out the exacto knife and am lazy.  I think it looks cute that way anyways.

3) Spray paint your canvas with the color you want your letters to be.  I used Krylon Satin Ballet Slipper.  Let dry.

4) Use spray adhesive and spray a lightish coat before arranging and applying letters on your canvas.  I had to keep spraying adhesive throughout to ensure it was sticky enough for the cardstock letters to stick.  Press the edges of the letters down as well as you can.  Let dry for 20 minutes or so.

5) Spray your second color of spray paint.  I used Krylon Gloss White paint as my canvas color in order to get the tone on tone effect (white spray almost never completely covers a color so it will just look like a lighter version of your color).  Try to stay directly above the letters when spraying and keep the bottle a foot or 2 from the canvas.  The edges will come up as I mentioned earlier so make sure to be careful not to spray directly under the letters.

6) Let dry for a few minutes and then pick all the cardstock letters off the canvas.  Once it is completely done drying, you are finished and have some cute but cheap art for your house.  Yay you.

 I also made a little “m” on a 6″X6″ canvas.  I was on a roll, baby.

 Here is a side view to show you the textural differences from the glossy vs. matte paint.

 I chose the excerpt from “Goodnight Moon” (obviously) since it was for my bedroom and I thought it was cute.   In the other canvas I showed you a bit of a quote I chose from “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles.  You could really do just about anything.

  1. Lindsay

    I love these! I’ve been wanting something above my bed. I think I’ll do a sweetie mushy quote on a big canvas! I love all these DIYs! Keep them coming!

  2. Colleen

    Oh Juice. You are so cute but you are really a menace to society.

  3. Lauren Tate

    I just love this! Now I will have no excuse to bother you to create one for my new house! I can DIMyself. 🙂 So cute!

  4. Lacey

    LOVE this! And usually I’m a hater for words on decor, but this is cute enough for me to put my word hating aside for a bit!

  5. Steven

    Haha, never listen to the naysayers Juice. Keep lending a helping hand wherever you feel its needed

  6. Taylor

    So i’m obviously very behind on my blog reading. Just getting to this one! I’m SO glad you put this up as a DIY. I’ve always loved the one in your house and the one you made Laura. I was hoping to do one for my friend who is having her baby in February and now I know how! So pumped. I only hope mine will come out as beauty as yours.

    Also, I should’ve reviewed your blog again before doing our jars last weekend. Some great tips that would’ve helped mine look better. Good news is, i now have a glue gun and plenty of jars that I plan to wash and create with 🙂 Yall are the best. I’m on my way to a crafty year… which is somehting i put on my vision board for this year.

  7. Pingback: How to Make Typography Art, 6 Simple Weekend DIY Ideas | Mixbook

  8. Flowermom22

    Super cool project and your step by step instructions are just as amazing! Thank you for sharing! Words can have such power and grace. So far I’ve been ordering typography from an etsy artist named John, but now I might have to try it myself. If you need it quick, John is easy to work with.

  9. tammy

    I’m loving the little “m” so cute.would you be able to let me know the font and colours used?..(silver and pink)’s really lovable ..thanks Tammy 🙂

    • Megan

      Hi Tammy. I used Bookman Old Style font. I used silver paint to cover the canvas first, then sprayed over the letter “m” with a spray paint by Krylon called Ballet Slipper. Thanks!!