Do you have a space in your home that seems nearly impossible to find the right piece for? You want art, or a wreath, or you want a saying on a canvas or a farmhouse sign, but you can never seem to find it?
We have a wall off our kitchen that is so difficult to decorate. It’s a small wall, open on both sides to either our garage entrance on one side and to our living room on the other. There’s no outlet on this wall (still cursing myself over that one during the remodel!) so it limits what can be placed here. It maybe should have had cabinets installed for a coffee or wine bar, but a little too late on that one now, too (cursing myself twice).
So for awhile now, I’ve kept this one of a kind piece we found at a local furniture store years ago, housing all of my mom’s Christmas china and my grandmother’s crystal. It’s the perfect size, the wood is stunning, and it fits so many meaningful pieces to have a constant reminder of the people who have passed in my life.
But what goes above it? What fits the transitional space, is size appropriate, and pretty? Oh yeah, and it doesn’t cost a fortune. Because let’s be real…all art costs a fortune. No matter what you are looking for, if it’s larger than a 8″x10,” you’re digging deep into that wallet for it.
As I scoured Pinterest for ideas, I kept Pinning and revisiting canvas signs with Bible verses time and time again. But the price tag for a 36″ x 48″ canvas were upwards of $200+
So what do you do when you see something you love, but don’t want to pay that amount of money for it? You do it yourself. Because you can. I promise you…you CAN!
Here’s a step by step guide on how you can create a canvas or wood sign of your dreams for under $20 WITHOUT needing a Cricut. Any saying, any design, any picture. Let’s make it!
- Blank canvas or wood in the size you need – mine was a 36″ x 48″ canvas from Michael’s (wait until they go on sale!)
- Computer and printer to design and print your design
- Transfer paper
- #2 Pencil
- Scotch Tape or Drafting Dots
- Art supplies to create your final piece – markers, paint, chalk markers, pastels, etc.
- Krylon Workable Fixatif
First is just where you need to decide what exactly you’re looking to create. My favorite go-to spot for inspiration is always Pinterest. Be as specific as you’d like in what you’re looking for in the search bar, and you’d be amazed what you’ll find. I know others use specific hashtags on Instagram or can work their way around Google Images. Or maybe you want to recreate something you love from a store. Find your design, your quote, or your verse that speaks to you the most.
I used my favorite Bible verse from Thessalonians: “Rejoice always. Praying without ceasing. In all circumstances, give thanks.” My kids are 6, 4, and 1 and terms like ‘rejoice,’ ‘ceasing,’ and ‘circumstances’ are tricky. So I took the NIV version for this sign as it was the best version for my kids to know, understand, and use in their daily lives. It’s truly what I’m teaching my children every single day. What better way to keep it in their minds than to show them those lessons come straight from the God Himself.
Once I found my verse, I went to my computer and found a font I loved on Microsoft Word. Google, Creative Market, FontSpace, FontFreak, and FontSquirrel are all great free font websites that you can scour if you’ve got a particular look in mind. To create my sign, I used a Script (size 400) and Bahnshcrift (size 100) fonts on Microsoft Word.
When you’re satisfied with your fonts, print the document and line them up across your canvas or blank wood frame to ensure the sizing is correct and it looks as you imagine. This is the easiest time now to make adjustments and be sure of your work.
When you’re happy with the font and sizing, clear your canvas/wood and lay down sheets of transfer paper (the dark side of the paper faces the canvas – but double check with the instructions on your sheets to be sure it’s correct before securing), leaving no spaces in between sheets. This is where I taped small pieces of Scotch tape to hold the transfer sheets together and to keep them secured to the sides of the canvas I was using. The Scotch tape will easily come off my canvas so I put multiple pieces around the edges of my canvas to hold all the transfer paper in place.
Next, I placed my printed sheets on top of the transfer paper, lining them up across the canvas the way I like them. This is the crucial time to make sure your pages and font are level and spaced out exactly how you like. There’s truly no going back from this point on so take your time here and make sure it’s just the way you want it to look.
Now it’s all about the tracing! Trace those beautiful font letters with a sharp #2 pencil, being sure you’re not skipping the dots on the eyes or the openings in the o’s and e’s.
It’s time!! Take off the printed pages and your transfer sheets and see the beauty underneath. The hard part is done! Celebrate it. Do a little dance. Take a break. Sit back and stare at your work a bit. Get your markers/paints ready and know that the very hardest part is done.
The only step left to do is to trace your pencil marks with a marker or paint of your choice. For my sign, I didn’t want the jet black of a black Sharpie marker, but wanted more of a subtle, faded black that can only come from a black washable marker. It has a vintage black, a subtle grey undertone, that softens it so much more than a solid black would do. I traced each letter and then settled in for a beautiful therapy of coloring in the letters. There’s no wonder the adult coloring books are flying off the shelves anymore. Coloring is such a therapy for me.
To protect my canvas from just about anything that could accidentally spill on it (I have kids…you just never can tell what can make it up on your wall!), I did a quick spray of Krylon Workable Fixatif spray. One quick coat and it seals and protects your work from colors running or smearing over time. I love this product and it’s saved me through many craft projects in the past!
You can do this. Know that you can take a space and fill it with something beautiful, personal, and perfect for a fraction of the cost. You. Can. Do. This!