By Home Decor Contributor Alyssa
I LOVE Spring Forward. Love it. From the second I turn my clock back an hour in the winter until two in the morning the next spring, I quietly tell myself, “just a few more months and you’ll be able to soak up another hour of sunshine.” Or, you know, overcast skies or whatever. It is Seattle, after all. Working in an office all day makes the dark months especially painful, knowing that when I get home it will be just as dark as when I left for work that morning. It does, however, make me appreciate the spring, summer, and autumn months that much more. Nothing makes me happier than being able to leave my curtains open an hour longer while I make dinner and catch up on my HGTV, letting the…cloud…shine…stream in.
To honor the coming of spring (my favorite season), I wanted to make something that gives off the same carefree vibe that spring gives me. Breezy, tropical, sunshine and rain, and all the lovely green we see returning to the trees. I’ve provided printable templates so you can recreate my art piece and hang it on your wall to help welcome spring!
What you will need:
- A sheet of canvas
- Hem tape
- Scissors and craft knife
- Cardstock (for printing your templates)
- A pencil
- Various shades of green, yellow, and brown acrylic paint
- Small and big flat paintbrushes
- Textile medium
- A wooden dowel
What I love about this craft is the ability to change it based on what you like. You can use all of the templates, just one, you can do different colors, a different layout of the templates, create patterns, make it as big or as small as you like, you’ve got lots of options!
To start, print your template(s) onto cardstock and set them aside. Here are the templates I’ve provided:
Next, lay your canvas out flat (I laid it on an old sheet, using it as a sort of drop cloth and easy clean up surface for loose canvas strings and pieces of paper) and measure how big you would like your piece to be. I made mine 18” wide by 25” long, but measured an extra two inches in width and an extra five in height for hemming and hanging (that’s where the weird extra line came from)
I wanted the bottom of my piece to come to a point, so I measured up about six inches on both sides, then seven inches in from either side up an inch from the bottom, and marked all the spots.
This is what I would cut:
Remember to cut about an inch lower than where you will want the edge of the canvas to be, as you’ll be folding an inch under to create the hem.
Cut a slit up the center from the bottom, about an inch long, and fold the first side of the point under, flattening the fold with an iron (I used my straightener because it’s what I had, and it worked great).
Add the hem tape between the fold and re-iron to meld the tape to the canvas.
Repeat this on the other side of the point, then on the sides of the canvas as well, until all sides of the fabric are hemmed but the top. That can be left unhemmed.
Next, cut out your templates, using scissors to cut out the outline and your craft knife to cut out what will be the holes in the leaves.
I wanted to create an overlap in my design, so it looked more like a forest, but use transparency as well so you could see all the leaves individually. But you can do whatever suits you best!
I started by laying a couple of my leaves down to create the first layer. I traced them with a blue pencil (this would blend in more easily with the green paint without making the leaves look bulkier, like if you were to use a green pencil) and kept in mind that I would want to paint inside these lines, not necessarily over them.
I then mixed a light green/brown color of paint. Because you’re painting on unprimed canvas, you’ll definitely want to add a large amount of acrylic medium, which makes the paint less heavy and more fluid. It makes your paint go a lot further. I like to load my brush up with pure mixed paint then add a dollop of acrylic medium straight to the paintbrush.
Here is how my first layer looked right after being painted, and after I’d gone back in and added a border/a little more filler to make the leaves more defined. Because the canvas is unprimed and the surface has much more “tooth,” or texture, it’s harder to get a clean, clear border on the first coat. I’d highly recommend adding a border to your leaves after they’ve dried.
I kept mixing colors and adding layers, creating my tropical forest.
Leave each layer to dry before adding the border or the next layer. Here’s what the design looked like all finished:
After your finished piece has dried, decide where you will want the wooden dowel to go by placing it behind the canvas and moving it to the desired spot:
Wrap the canvas over the dowel and flip it around so the back is facing up:
Glue the canvas down over the dowel, creating a loop. After it’s dried, you can trim any excess canvas.
Hang with a couple nails and enjoy your fun new piece of the outdoors. Bonus: you don’t have to keep it alive!