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The Quick and Easy Way to Turn Anything into a Canvas

If you’ve been following the blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a really bad cook, but I’ve got a surprise for you today. I’m actually going to share a recipe GASP!! But not one you’d normally use in the kitchen. Nope that would be way too dangerous. This is a recipe for gesso so you can turn almost anything into a canvas.

Gesso pronounced guess-o or jess-o has been used for centuries to prime a surface before painting. I always say geuss-o but I have no idea if that’s the right way to pronounce it. I’m Afrikaans and we have a tendency to say things in a weird way, think jean pants 😉 Way back when it was made with lime and resin. Famous artists like Leonardo used calcium sulfate and rabbit skin glue. Eewwww, that’s so not going to happen here. To make your own all you need is some PVA glue, craft paint and talcum powder.

Wouldn’t you love to make your own canvas out of almost anything? Here’s a super easy way to do it with things you probably have at home.

What you need

The gesso you buy in arts and crafts shops consists of three parts; a binder, chalk or gypsum and color pigment, normally white. To make your own you’ll need:

  • 1 portion of warm water and 1 portion of PVA glue to bind the mixture on to the surface you’re going to paint on.
  • 1 portion of talcum powder. The powder creates texture and gives the paint some teeth to adhere to the surface. You can also use crushed chalk or plaster of paris.
  • 1 portion of craft paint

Note a portion could be a cup, a teaspoon or any small container depending on how much you want to make.

Wouldn’t you love to make your own canvas out of almost anything? Here’s a super easy way to do it with things you probably have at home.

Ingredients

You can use any color paint to make gesso. When I painted the Wild Woman I used black acrylic paint. Just make sure it’s water based, which is the fancy way of saying that you can clean your brushes off with water 😀 Mix the water, glue and paint together and then add the talcum powder until it looks like a thick gooey syrup without lumps.

Wouldn’t you love to make your own canvas out of almost anything? Here’s a super easy way to do it with things you probably have at home.

Making and Prepping the Canvas

Apply the mixture to whatever you decide to use as a canvas. I took one of our palm seed pods, cleaned it off with soap and water and cut it to the size I needed.

Wouldn’t you love to make your own canvas out of almost anything? Here’s a super easy way to do it with things you probably have at home.

Cut to size

You can apply the gesso with a paint brush, palette knife or just use your hands. I prefer the hands on approach because I like getting dirty I can feel the texture of the gesso and squish it into the crevices.

Wouldn’t you love to make your own canvas out of almost anything? Here’s a super easy way to do it with things you probably have at home.

Applying the gesso

The mixture dries pretty quickly, depending on how thick you apply it and you can add as many layers as you want. The pod needed two layers, with a light sanding in between, to create a smooth canvas. Once it’s dry you’re ready to make some art.

Wouldn’t you love to make your own canvas out of almost anything? Here’s a super easy way to do it with things you probably have at home.

Transferring the image

Don’t you just love giraffes? They one of my favorite animals, they’re so comical. Did you know in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp?   Go figure? If I ever take my pet giraffe for a walk there, I’ll have to remember that, LOL.

Wouldn’t you love to make your own canvas out of almost anything? Here’s a super easy way to do it with things you probably have at home.

Look at those faces

Gesso creates an absorbent surface with ‘teeth’ that allows the paint to grab onto the canvas (this comes from the talcum powder). The glue in the mix protects and seals the canvas, which is important if you’re using oils. They can be corrosive over time. The giraffes were done with oil pastels and while I don’t think they’ll corrode a seed pod, you can never be too sure. It’s also a great way to make sure that nothing seeps through from the “canvas” into your master piece 😉

Wouldn’t you love to make your own canvas out of almost anything? Here’s a super easy way to do it with things you probably have at home.

Pinny Please

I’ve used the gesso recipe to prepare a bread board, rusty saw, pallet off cuts, pieces of wood, plastic bottles and drop cloth for painting in the past. We even used it when we made our giant rusty faux metal key. Feel free to experiment and add more talcum teeth if you want a rougher canvas with loads of texture. Happy creating everyone and have a blessed week.

P.S. You can download the cute giraffe couple here if you’d like to make something similar. Just add your own spots 😉

Made with love by a Crafty Mix

 

Categories:   Art by Mix, DIY Crafty Tutorials, Home Decor Crafts, Paintings

Comments

  • Posted: May 21, 2017 19:40

    Maya

    This is a fantastic idea Michelle! I too love giraffes and yours are delightful!
    • Posted: May 22, 2017 06:04

      acraftymix

      Great minds think alike ;-) They're just the cutest, gawkiest animals ever. Thanks Maya
  • Posted: May 21, 2017 10:08

    Cristina

    So creative, and so beautiful. You make it sound so easy, but I don`t think it is :)
    • Posted: May 21, 2017 13:58

      acraftymix

      This one really is Cristina, all you're doing is just sealing the "canvas". Just mix and stir ;-)
  • Posted: May 20, 2017 10:59

    Debrashoppeno5

    This is so amazing. I am glad to have the gesso recipe but I love the idea of using the palm seed pod as a canvas. And you know I have one just waiting to be cut down.
    • Posted: May 20, 2017 12:15

      acraftymix

      Thanks so much Debra. I love the shape of the seed pods, they're so unusual.
  • Posted: May 19, 2017 15:25

    jodie

    What a fabulous project!! You really are so creative and talented! Jodie www.jtouchofstyle.com
    • Posted: May 19, 2017 17:03

      acraftymix

      Thank you Jodie :D
  • Posted: May 17, 2017 20:37

    Keri Roberts

    Michelle, this is so great to know! Thanks for sharing. The giraffes are too cute and they look wonderful on the seed pod!!
    • Posted: May 18, 2017 13:18

      acraftymix

      My pleasure Keri ;-)
  • Posted: May 17, 2017 11:07

    Angie ~ ambient wares

    This turned out amazing and I'm absolutely going to have a go at it! My nephew loves giraffes and he would be so happy if I made him something like this. Now I have to find a cool canvas. Thanks Michelle!
    • Posted: May 17, 2017 11:22

      acraftymix

      Yay, you need to find something that as gorgeously wacky and unique as what you are Angie. I'd love to see it
  • Posted: May 16, 2017 21:05

    yvonne

    Oh I love this - so creative and fun! My little boy dylan loves giraffes too, I will show him this in the morning.
    • Posted: May 17, 2017 08:02

      acraftymix

      That's so cool Yvonne, Dylan's got good taste in animals ;-)
  • Posted: May 16, 2017 14:05

    Gina

    What a cool craft! I like how versatile the recipe is so that you can make any amount you need. And those giraffes are adorable! I'd love to give this a try sometime over the summer. :)
    • Posted: May 16, 2017 15:26

      acraftymix

      I hope you do Gina. All those beautiful things you find while you're foraging would be perfect as a canvas
  • Posted: May 16, 2017 11:51

    Lisa

    This is a fantastic tip! It's going to be so useful.
    • Posted: May 16, 2017 13:12

      acraftymix

      Glad you like the tip Lisa. It works out so much cheaper than the gesso you buy in the shops and I love the fact that you can change the color to suit what you'r painting. It makes it so much easier
  • Posted: May 16, 2017 02:36

    Sadhna Grover

    This is really an awesome work, the giraffe is my favorite animal too, they look so cute here. Michelle, in your post you explain so nicely that anybody can understand.
    • Posted: May 16, 2017 08:18

      acraftymix

      They're just the cutest animals in the world. Thanks so much Sadhna
  • Posted: May 16, 2017 01:00

    Amy

    Oh wow. This is very cool. I absolutely love the giraffe print, and I'm not sure I would have thought to use it on a palm pod. It looks fantastic!
    • Posted: May 16, 2017 08:20

      acraftymix

      Thank you Amy, I love the shape of the seed pod. It kinda fit with the tall giraffes
  • Posted: May 15, 2017 19:01

    Linda at Mixed Kreations

    You never cease to amaze me with your creativity! Your giraffes are adorable! I will have to remember if I ever get a pet giraffe, and take it to Atlanta Georgia to never ever ever tie it to a telephone pole or street lamp, lol. I use gesso every once in a while, but just bought some more not to long ago. I will have to try and make my own next time I need some. Thanks for the recipe, and the tip 😉
    • Posted: May 16, 2017 08:20

      acraftymix

      LOL, that rule just cracks me up Linda. I wonder where you are allowed to tie a giraffe ;-)
  • Posted: May 15, 2017 18:22

    Deborah

    How cool is this? I need to do it!
    • Posted: May 16, 2017 08:21

      acraftymix

      Glad you like it Deborah :D
  • Posted: May 15, 2017 16:26

    Beverly

    This is so cool! I love the giraffes. Your diy gesso looks easy to mix together and I love that it can be used on all kinds of surfaces. Pinning. This is going on my must try list!
    • Posted: May 16, 2017 08:22

      acraftymix

      That's great to hear Beverly, thanks so much for the pin :D
  • Posted: May 15, 2017 14:30

    Mary

    Michelle your giraffes are so cute! I've never seen a plant turned into a painting before. Very creative. It looks wonderful wonderful with the plants. That is a very interesting technique.
    • Posted: May 15, 2017 14:36

      acraftymix

      Thanks Mary. The possibilities to change something into a canvas are endless as long is it prepped with some gesso ;-)
  • Posted: May 15, 2017 12:39

    Katrin

    Oh my Goodness [I'm pretty sure I start every one of my comments this way ;) ] but how do you come up with this amazingness? is that a word? I'm floored yet again, I just love this so much Michelle! Here I am painting flower pots - booooooring! This is so cute and I just love how you used the palm pod as a canvas! I'll look at palmtrees in a totally different way now!
    • Posted: May 15, 2017 12:48

      acraftymix

      LOL Katrin, thanks so much, I really appreciate all your comments and love, it doesn't matter what you say. And painting flower pots isn't boring, you've got talent streaming out of your pores. They are going to look elegant and gorgeous if you do them.

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