DIY Designer Inspired Art and Frame

The time has arrived for our next installment of the DIY Look-For-Less challenge {read the first one here}. You caught a preview of my project in my office makeover reveal on Monday. Now for the nitty-gritty of the artwork I made.

This is an image-heavy post. However, I felt the images do a better job in terms of a tutorial than actual words do so you can see how I layered the paint on the canvas. But first, here is the beautiful designer inspiration artwork:


It looked abstract enough that I thought I could make something similar {but obviously not nearly as beautiful} and the colors are what drew me in. I bought all of these craft paints from Hobby Lobby {30% off}, not knowing what to expect, but I honestly used less than half of them {although I went through nearly two bottles of white alone}. I also bought a heavy-duty canvas from Hobby Lobby that measured 48″x48″ – different orientation than the inspiration photo but I felt it would work better in my space. If you prefer to shop online, here is a similar canvas and similar paints.

One of the hardest parts is just starting. I tried to mimic the movement in my inspiration photo and just went for it. You’ll see I gradually began to add layers and various colors. I used an “economy” brush that I had on hand from one of the big box hardware stores {not sure where I got it}.

At this point I decided to start adding in some of the greens as well. Here was my set-up. I kept the blues on one paper plate and the greens on another.

Still keeping the brush relatively dry, you can see here how I held the brush to apply the green. Somewhat scrunched up. I’m a pretty technical artist – obviously.

I then began to add in some more blurred areas of focus {using a fairly dry brush and round, swirly, cloud-like strokes}, again mimicking the shapes of the original inspiration piece.

I then began to fill in all the edges with aqua, blues, mints, etc. all created with the colors I had opened and then adding white as necessary. I also tried to fill in areas where the white canvas was showing through – evening if it was an area I like the look of. Regardless of where I was on the canvas, I still tried to mimic the brushstrokes of the area on the inspiration piece accordingly.

At this point, I stopped to compare the two pieces. Not bad, but I also noticed the areas the needed some tweaking and got to work once the first layer fully dried.

After a few final final tweaks I called it quits before I ended up ruining a decent piece. I tried the art in a few locations {living room, upstairs hallway and the office}. I ultimately settled on the office and it couldn’t have turned out more perfectly here.

A few days later, I built out the frame with my husband’s help. I purchased some lattice wood from Lowe’s. I painted one side gold {along with all the edges} using Valspar Metallic gold spray paint and the other dark brown {with the craft paint} to mimic the look of the frame in the inspiration photo {see first photo below for the gold on the top two pieces and the brown on the bottom piece}. I intentionally purchased lattice that was wider than my canvas so that it would stick out about 1/2″ and show the dark brown. I cut all the pieces myself  with a miter box {which honestly were not perfect – but hey – it was my first time!} – all cuts were on a 45 degree angle. My husband then helped me nail it on to the canvas {I lined up the back of the lattice with the back of the canvas}. Down the road, I may use wood filler on the corners to better seal the gap, but I actually like the look for now. I feel like the frame really finished the piece and made it look a little less DIY.

I love how the art finished the office makeover and helped to tie everything together. This project only took me about two hours total but I love the impact the large-scale art and colors make to this room!

Be sure to stop by the other fabulous Look-for-Less DIY projects from each of these talented bloggers. Each one is so unique and they are all a must-see! And I apologize in advance if the links and images don’t line up – I’m currently updating this while at sea and iPads are not the most convenient blogging tools. Enjoy nonetheless!

How to Build a Focal Wall Headboard by Home Coming:

Bathtub Caddy from Sewing Barefoot:

Faux Fur Vanity Stool from Life.Love.Larson

Glass Bottle Lamp DIY Like A Saturday

Work Bench Look for Less from Kitchen Table Art

Salon-styled Blowout at Home from Absolutely Arkansas

disclosure: some affiliate links used


  1. says

    No one would ever know that took you 2 hours! That is amazing!!! A trick that can help make a painting look better is to do a wash as your first layer. That way you don’t have to worry about your canvas coming through in spots!

  2. says

    I’m pinning the shite out of this awesomeness. Also, you should start taking commissions for pieces like this, amazing (you know in between your demanding full time job & life).

  3. says

    You are so right, the frame takes this piece to a whole new level! Love it!! And I have so been guilty of not stopping when my project was good, which turned it into absolutely “not so good”. Nice work and knowing when to back away!
    Jeannine @ The Concrete Cottage

  4. says

    Hi Sarah,

    Just found you from the City Farmhouse link up. Love your style and that art! I look forward to reading more of your projects, I’m going to check them out right now. Loving your office too!

  5. says

    I am SO glad that I stumbled upon your blog. I absolutely love this and love how creative you are. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be coming back!!

  6. says

    All I can say is WOW, you did an incredible job and the frame looks great! I’d love it if you linked up to The Makers link party going on right now. Hope to see you there!
    ~Katie @ Upcycled Treasures


  1. […] Sarah from Life on Virginia Street designed the most drool-worthy office, including a piece of large-scale artwork that she painted herself. Sarah created her beautiful abstract canvas by layering craft paint and walks you through the entire process so you can make your own. For a more finished look, Sarah added a gold-painted wood frame.  I just love the vibrant pop of color against the charcoal gray paneled wall. Gorgeous!!! […]

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