How can I make “canvases” reusing or recycling stuff?

stretched-canvasSo, as I’ve mentioned once or twice, we moved into our new house three weeks ago.

I do apologise for mentioning it a lot but it’s pretty much overwhelming my life at the moment – I’d lived in the last place for nearly a decade and hope to be here at least the same amount of time. It needs a lot of work doing to it – considerably more maintenance-type work than we’d thought (every floorboard creeks, every tap drips…) but also a lot to make it our own. It’s a lot of work but mostly very satisfying.

As we’re getting past the bulk of the “must do instantly” jobs, we’re starting to combine chores and fun tasks and one of the fun tasks is filling all the blank walls with pictures and other creations. I’m definitely going to use a lot of the frame ideas you wonder people suggested when I was asking about mirrors a few weeks ago but I also wondered how people have made the actual surface to paint on – what works well instead of actual canvas? I imagine other lighter cotton such as t-shirt jersey or bed linen might be too thin to hold the paint but would denim from old jeans work as a heavy textured alternative?

I’ve heard about the underside of hardboard being a good surface. What else?

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7 Responses to “How can I make “canvases” reusing or recycling stuff?”

  1. Bobbie says:

    Congratulations on your new home. I know you must be full of excitement and ideas. A fun place to be :)

    Masonite has been a standard painting surface for a long time, also wood but I think you should use hard wood. I don’t know why denim wouldn’t work, or any heavy canvas type material. It should be prepped with gesso which will make a good lasting paint surface. Temporary works could be painted on almost anything; cardboard, poster board, etc.

  2. Kara says:

    It really depends what look you’re going for. People have painted on everything from burlap to velvet to chiffon, but of course it doesn’t look like fine art canvases and mounting chiffon is not fun. You might consider picking up unloved paintings at a thrift store or tag sale for cheap and painting over them. A local painter picks up old giveaway canvas tote bags to paint on, although she usually keeps them as bags.

  3. Have you thought of using recycled stuff as decoration? If your rooms have picture rails (or rafters) you can make artwork without a canvas: put a broom handle through the arms of a kimono and suspend from each end of the broom handle. Or suspend just about any other interesting flattish object (old advertising signs, etc.) Or use old maps, wrapping paper, reproductions of catalogues from 1800s etc as wallpaper…

    If you live anywhere near a newspaper printing plant: they used to give away/sell cheaply their “end rolls” — very large rolls of newsprint (without printing on!) Flimsy paper and no texture but lots of room to express oneself and again, it is possible to tack one end to a broom handle and then attach that to the wall…

    Hope these are useful! Have fun!

  4. twinks says:

    Out of desperation in a frantic fit of creativity I used medium cotton over a stretcher frame and gessoed it, worked fine, the painting is now over 10 years old and still holdiing up fine. Considering that it is doubtful that my humble works will ever need to survive more than my lifetime, simple solutions work just as well.

  5. Karmae says:

    Sheets of used sandpaper make wonder surfaces to paint on. The texture is really interesting.

  6. Uluska says:

    Try several layers of window screen.

  7. Uluska says:

    Try burlap bags from rise, etc. Burlap is burlap. Cover with gesso and you are ready to paint.

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