I am going to start right out here by admitting that this is the first canvas I have painted. Ever. I am not a painter! So be gentle with me. That being said, I loved how my birds on a wire canvas turned out- and if I can do this, guess what? YOU CAN TOO.
- 18×24″ Prestretched Artist Canvas
- Standing Wood Bird Figurine (2)
- 2mm Black Satin Rattail Cord
- Wooden or Chipboard Letters
- 1 7/8″ Wooden Clothespins
- Eyelet Setter and Large Eyelets (4, silver)
- Hot Glue Gun/ Glue Sticks
- Acrylic Craft Paint – Black, Island Blue, Antique White, Christmas Red, and Burnt Umber
- Foam Craft Brush
- Coarse Bristled Paint Brush
- Duct Tape (optional)
You will notice in my “supplies” photo, I included gesso. Normally you need to prep your canvas for painting. My canvas came pre-treated. I did not need to prep it with anything, and it took paint wonderfully. Check and see if your canvas is treated. If not, you will need to coat it with gesso before painting.
Begin your birds on a wire canvas by painting the edges with red paint. You do not need to take care when doing this. Just slop it on there!
While the paint it still wet, you can begin painting the blue. Take the brush strokes from the canvas and downward into the red. The paint will begin to mix – that is okay. The beauty of the canvas will be the worn and weathered look.
There are so many different ways to alter a canvas. You can get really creative here- adding texture paste, Mod Podged paper, crackle medium, etc. I found a lot of really great online tutorials on different methods. I stuck with pretty basic stuff here. I let the paint dry a bit-until it was tacky. Then, using some tape, I lifted some paint off of the canvas to give it an uneven, worn look.
When the paint is dry- you will be hitting it with a dry brush method of painting. Take a coarse bristled brush, and lightly tap it into your paint. I used Antique white here. You just want a little bit of paint- tap the brush off onto a scrap piece of paper, so there are no globs of paint. With a light hand, drag the brush across the canvas. I chose to use long brushstrokes extending the length of the canvas horizontally. Repeat until you like the look. The light brushstrokes are really going to bring out the texture of the canvas. Using the same technique, I added more red paint to the edges of the entire canvas. Let the canvas dry. To add depth to the birds on a wire canvas, and really make it look distressed, add some brown paint to the edges. I just used a clean cotton cloth. A little goes a long way- rub the brown into the canvas. If it is too much, wipe it off before it dries. See how nice all the layers look? At this point, I put the canvas on a photo easel, and stood back so I could see the finished product, and how it would look hung on a wall. I added more red and more brown in some areas. Other parts of the canvas I felt like I went a little too nuts with the brown- I fixed it by painting over it with the blue. You can really manipulate the canvas at this point. Have fun with it! When you like what you see, let it dry completely. I have seen similar birds on a wire canvases in boutique type stores. The birds are screen printed or painted on the birds on a wire canvases I have seen. I loved using wooden birds! I like to add dimension to my home decor projects, and let’s be honest- gluing a bird on the canvas is a whole lot easier then trying to paint one. These birds came on a stand. I need them flat. Using a knife, gently separate the bird from the stand. The bird will have staples, and possibly residual glue at the base. Trim the staples using pliers. Sand the residual glue, and rough edges from the bird. Then paint the birds, clothespins, and your chosen letters black. Allow the birds, clothespins, and letters to dry completely. Then lay them out on the canvas how you like them. Add the wire (rattail cord) also. Now we are going to set metal eyelets for the “wire” to be string through. Using a ruler, mark the birds on a wire canvas where the “wires” will go- making sure you are even side to side. Take into consideration the wooden frame of the canvas. I had to measure 1 1/2″ in from the edge of the canvas to be inside the wooden frame. Mark your birds on a wire canvas accordingly. You should have four marks. Using an awl, or pick, make a hole through the birds on a wire canvas at your marks. “Wiggle” the eyelet into the hole. Turn the birds on a wire canvas over, with the eyelet in the hole, and using an eyelet tool, set the eyelet. Repeat for all four marks on your birds on a wire canvas. Bring your rattail cord across the canvas, stringing it between two eyelets. Flip the canvas over, pull tight, and tie the string together in the back. Repeat for the second set of eyelets. Using hot glue- adhere your birds to the canvas on top of your first “wire.” Arrange your letters on the second “wire.” Hang the letters to the “wire” with wooden clothespins. I chose to adhere the bottoms of my letters permanently to the birds on a wire canvas. It would be fun to change the letters out with seasons! Other ideas for the letters would be a surname, or a significant date. I love the dimension the letters hung with clips adds to the canvas! That is it. Your birds on a wire canvas is finished! Now you just need to find a good place to hang it- a place where a lot of people will see your ART.