And off I went. I gathered my paints, my used Paint Nite canvas, my beloved Modge Podge, my scissors, my brushes, thick paper...etc. Bottom line: I used a lot of stuff to make this piece. And it took a few days. And I let myself go off the deep end seeking perfection. Which is, honestly, probably just as crazy as spending $79 on a painting for a child. So be prepared, brave DIY-er. This one is a doozy, although I tried to consolidate and simplify the steps as much as possible - just because I got crazy doesn't mean you should!
Click "Read More" for the steps and photos.
As I noted above you'll need a whole bunch of gear to make this - luckily it's all stuff you probably have at home (I didn't have to buy anything, lately I haven't done a DIY if it involves buying something new).
- Paints - red, white, yellow (anything sunshine-y). To make the pink paint for the lettering I mixed red and white and to get the orange I mixed red and Cadmium Yellow.
- Canvas - I repurposed a Paint Nite canvas because I didn't like the painting I made very much (altho I do love Paint Nite in general).
- Paint brushes - you'll need one with a very thin tip, one for applying the Modge Podge (I typically use a sponge brush I can trash when I'm done), and a couple of medium tip ones for doing the other bits.
- Couple of pieces of thick paper to make the sun (alternatively you could just paint the sun right on the canvas...might be easier). I used Charcoal sketch paper.
- Modge Podge (only needed if adhering paper to canvas).
- Staple Gun.
- Water. Use to lighten paint colors, keep brushes from getting dried out, wash away mistakes, and mix colors on the canvas.
- Rag. For blending and cleaning.
- Wood, saw, and nails. To make the frame.
I put several coats of white paint on the canvas to cover up the crazy bird flowers originally painted on there. Each coat only took about 10 minutes to dry, but feel free to start Steps 2 and 3 while waiting (I did, I'm an antsy DIYer).
Skip this step if your canvas is a freshie.
Cut out a round circle from a piece of your heavy-duty paper. It doesn't have to be perfect but it's easy enough to make it symmetrical by folding the page and cutting a half circle, like making snowflakes in elementary school. Start big - it's easy to trim down and re-starting is the pits.
Once you have a pleasing round shape, paint it orangey-yellowy. The color doesn't have to be perfect the first time around because you can always touch it up later. I ended up painting it (and the canvas and the sun rays) several times once it was all assembled.
Cut out strips of thick paper that start a bit thin and get a bit thick. They don't have to be (and shouldn't be, in my opinion) perfect or the same length/width. It helps to place your sun face on the canvas and arrange the pieces of paper out around it as you go so you know how long each piece needs to be and so you can decide how fat you want the ends of the rays to be (I wanted mine to all be approximately 1/2" - 3/4"). Of course once you take them off to paint them it can get hectic and mixed up - so don't marry yourself to the placement.
I placed the sun to be in the lower right hand corner to give the words - which I planned to place in approximately the center of the canvas - room to stand out. For that reason some rays only needed to be a few inches long. I only used 2 or 3 pages of paper to make all of the rays in the picture on the left.
Once they're all cut out, paint them the same color (or a similar color) as the sun face.
Glue the sun face and each of the rays to the canvas. I planned to use a glue stick to do this (love them because they don't puff up paper as they glue the way white glue and Krazy glue does), but my crumby glue sticks were all dry (PSA: Don't buy Caliber brand glue sticks).
Don't worry if your glue stinks too - I used Modge Podge in place of glue. It wasn't as perfectly flat as I would have liked, but it did securely adhere the paper to the canvas. Since I was already Modge Podge-ing, I decided to just put a coat over each piece of paper as well so they would become one with the canvas. My love for Modge Podge is strong.
The only thing I love more than Modge Podge is my staple gun. I used it to staple each of the sun rays to the back of the canvas, so each ray would wrap around the canvas. At this point I didn't plan on putting a frame on it, so continuing the rays over the edges made a lot of sense. Since you can't see the wrap once it's framed, feel free to skip this step. Although it did make it very tidy looking on the back.
If you aren't framing it or just like to follow steps to the T, also trim the rays once they're stapled on to get rid of any flaps.
I was pretty stoked about how it looked at this point (less stoked about the 4-6 hours I spent working on it), but I wanted it to be lighter so the lettering would really pop. To get that effect I mixed some Modge Podge, white paint, and water together and painted the entire canvas with the mix.
I kinda copied the PB lettering/style (making the "are my" lowercase, and the "YOU"/"SUNSHINE" uppercase), but also give it my own flair. I wrote the phrase in pencil so I could erase my mistakes.
I drew guide lines across the canvas so I would know where to write the words (see the line going through the sun face). I measured it (loosely, I'm not known for measuring) so each line of words would be approximately the same distance apart and so each line of words would be straight. In order to keep the letters from getting lost in the sun face I placed them a little closer to the top of the canvas.
Once I had all the letters written (free hand, but I'm sure you could print and trace something from dafont.com) I erased my guide lines.
Using the thinnest paintbrush in my collection, I painted over the penciled letters. I mixed a tiny bit of red paint with white paint to get the pink I wanted. This part is always the trickiest - especially if you don't have a steady hand. My advice: do it when you're not tired, focus completely on it, keep water on hand to wipe away any mistakes immediately, and exhale huge when you're done.
Nico did this for me while I was out on Ruskin errands. It look him less than an hour because he's a total champ. I made a collage of the pics (see left). The final photo (pre-painted) can be found in Step 10.
NICO'S DIY FRAME STEP BY STEP:
I used a table saw, but you can do this with a handsaw as long as it doesn't have a spine.
STEP 1: Take a piece of 1 x 4 and cut it into four 1" strips, a couple of inches longer than the longest side of the painting.
STEP 2: Cut one side of strip at 45 degrees. Again, I used the table saw for speed, but you can easily do this with a cheap miter box.
STEP 3: Cut the other of the first frame piece to length, so the short ends of the 45 degree angle line up with the outside corners of the painting.
STEP 4: Nail the first piece to frame. Use small finishing nails so you don't split the frame.
STEP 5: Fit each following piece to the pieces before it. The temptation for me was to cut them all at the same time, but the irregularities of the canvas will make them not fit, especially the last piece. Instead, cut and fit each piece as you go, and nail each into place before moving on to the next piece.
STEP 6: Sand the corners where they stick out past each other, and sand the saw marks as desired.
I wasn't planning on this because I loved the simple look of the reclaimed wood against the canvas, but my sister is a lover of all things white, and for her I'll add an extra step. It wasn't very hard because any white drips from the frame were easy to blend into the white-ish canvas/painting.
Repeat if necessary. I put 3 coats of white on the frame before it looked white enough to me, but I was using leftover house paint and that stuff is not the best.
At this point I recommend you stop and pat yourself on the back and admire your painting, so I won't even bother showing you pics of what I did...but. I will tell you what I did, just so you aren't wondering why yours didn't come out like mine (I hate that):
- Painted the white bits between the rays a yellowish white, instead of a pure white. This hid mistakes and felt more "sunny" to me.
- Put 3 more coats of pink over the lettering to make it really stand out.
- Double-checked and touched up any other parts that didn't look "right" or looked "dirty" to me (each night in our house = more dust on the canvas). I got a little carried away.
We hung it right on the canvas piece - which sticks out plenty enough for it to hang properly. It looks totally darling in my niece's room. I hope she likes it. :)