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DIY Canvas Project

About The Author: Callum Mundine is the co-owner of L.E.D World – a lighting design business that he started with his brother. When he is not designing lighting products, he is creating fun DIY projects like this one, mostly for his two children (but he loves it too). If you’d like to know more about him, you can checkout the linear led pendant light he designed.


Lately, it seems like all the home decor stores have been inundated with pretty canvases with awesome quotes or designs backlit with soft golden lights. They’re all flying off the shelves! Unfortunately, they can be pricey. The good ones, (AKA, the only ones that are really worth buying) average between $30-$60! Fortunately, there’s a hack.

Would you believe that it is incredibly easy to make these beautiful pieces for yourself for much cheaper than what you would get it for in the store. You can make a canvas in thirty minutes of hands-on time and depending on the type of paint you use, you could have it displayed in your home within a few hours.

What you will need

  • A blank mounted canvas
  • One or two packages of LED lights, depending on the size of your intended project. Choose multi-colored ones if you want to make the lights pop or clear ones if you want a soft, elegant glow.  (To make life easier, opt for battery operated lights with automatic timers.)
  • Acrylic paint, watercolours, or any other paint medium you like.
  • Paint brushes
  • Precision/craft knife
  • mod podge

DIY Canvas Project

DIY Canvas Project - Materials

Optional items

If you really want to go all out, visit your nearest craft store (or order from Amazon if you don’t mind waiting) and pick out pretty cardstock for cutouts, glueable/ sew on gems, iron-on patches, tracing/transfer paper and whatever else tickles your fancy.

Getting started

Before you get started, you need to create a workstation for yourself so you can spread out your supplies and still have elbow room to move around freely. Make enough space so that you are not cramped or crowded – you don’t want to risk something falling on your canvas by accident and ruining it. Lay out old newspapers or drop cloths to catch any mess. Then get your coffee, tea, or wine and settle in. It’s time to get the party started!

Browse through amazon or etsy, even Pinterest for inspiration on what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to test out ideas on your canvas (draw lightly!) or on some blank paper. If you have no artistic skill to speak of, it’s alright – that’s what stencils are for! Another option is to trace a picture and transfer it onto your canvas.

TIP: If you see an image online you love, turn up the screen brightness all the way and tape a thin sheet of paper onto it and trace away. Keep your pencil strokes light so as not to damage your screen. Then, carefully cut out your image and arrange it on the canvas and draw around it. Voila – you are an artist!

Once you’re done putting your image on canvas, you can paint it or colour it in with whatever medium you wish to use. If you sew or glue on jewels, cardstock or adhere patches to the canvas, make sure you paint everything over with mod podge (once the paint is dry!) so that there is no chance of it falling off. You may want to do more than one coat if your extras are somewhat thick. Don’t worry, the mod podge will dry clear.

Light it Up!

Now comes the easy part. Once everything has dried and there’s no chance any piece will come off, turn your canvas over and make tiny Xs in the fabric where you want your lights to go.  Insert your LEDs through each x and ensure they are wedged in tight. You can seal the opening with a hot glue gun to reinforce the slits.

DIY Canvas Project - Materials

Once everything is dry, tape the battery and timer to the bottom corner of the canvas so that it is out of the way.

Now all you have to do is display your handmade masterpiece in a prominent space and enjoy it!

DIY Canvas Project - Materials

DIY Canvas Project - Materials

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