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Outdoor Canvas Wall Art - Create Your Own on the Cheap

By Edited Apr 29, 2016 0 1

If you are trying to update your backyard or patio and are on a tight budget, there are some really cool ways to give your space some personality without breaking the bank. 

One of my favourite ways is to use outdoor canvas wall art.  This is the perfect way to cover a bad fence or even a bad wall, or just give you something to look at other than the traditional hooks with hanging plants against the fence.  Those hanging baskets of flowers are always cute, but why not add just a little bit of whimsy to your outdoor room?

You don’t have to be an artist, you just have to get creative, and we all can get just a little bit creative if we are on a budget!  You could scour thrift stores for things to simply hang on the fence, like old picture frames or metal pieces of art, but an outdoor canvas just has a nice clean finish to it as well as a 3D look that simply makes it pop.  I personally like to leave the background white to make the image really stand out.

You can purchase ready to go waterproof outdoor canvas art, or you can have some fun and make your own.  If it is under a porch or covered patio then you don’t need to spend too much time on the waterproofing part, but if it is out in the yard open to the elements of the summer, then you will need to add some waterproofing, but that is easy too.

Dollar Store Canvas – Many dollar stores are now selling canvases.  They are not super large but that can work to your advantage.  If you purchase a few of them then you can create a grouping of art for your fence or wall.

This way if you only get a couple of seasons out of them, or something hits them from a storm, or a spilt drink or a food fight, it is not the end of the world; you can simply make another one!

How to Create Your Own Fast and Easy Outdoor Canvas Wall Art

Step 1 – Purchase your canvases at the dollar store or online.  I don’t recommend getting expensive artist ones, as this is for a quick art project on the cheap.  You could also do this project on a large piece of wood that you could frame, but I found this to be quick and easy and I love the idea of the white background.

outdoor canvas wall art

Step 2 – Use an outdoor white primer.  Coat your canvases with a couple of good coats of the outdoor primer, and don’t forget the sides and even the back.  Let it dry well.  This will give your pieces a bit more protection.

Vinyl Decal Stickers – You can get these everywhere now with the cutest of designs and pictures and they are so affordable.  Amazon is a great place to find a huge assortment of sayings, as well as simple pictures such as the one pictured here.  If it is a large saying or picture then you can split it up amongst the canvases.

outdoor canvas wall art
Lot 26 Studio Burnish Birds & Blossoms Vinyl Wall Decal, 16 x 24-Inches
Amazon Price: $29.99 $1.00 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 29, 2016)

Step 3 – Lay your now dry canvases on the ground and then decide how you want to display them on your wall or fence.  If it is a large decal picture, then you simply split the decals up between the surfaces and then hang them with a 2-4 inch gap.  This creates a really cool 3D effect with a bit of the fence or wall showing in-between, rather than just one large canvas.

Peel off your stickers and place them on your canvas surface and really rub them on to make sure they are adhered.

Step 4 – If you are happy with the look then you are ready for the finishing layer.  If you are feeling really creative you could add to this scene with your own paints, but I found the white background with the black or brown vinyl decals to really work without adding anymore paint.

outdoor canvas wall art

Step 5 – It is now time for the outdoor varnish.  The varnish will protect your pieces from the elements the same way it protects other varnished outdoor wood.   Make sure and put at least 4 coats on your pieces, letting them dry between coats as per instructions on the can.  If you use a water based varnish it will be very clear and the whites will stay white, but if you use an oil based one, the whites will yellow a bit, so just be prepared for that look if you want that.  I personally prefer the water based.  Just make sure it is for outdoor use and coat everything front and back.

Step 6 – Done!  Now all you have to do is put some hooks or even screws or nails in your fence and hang your artwork.  You will need to use some math to figure out a 2 – 4 inch gap between the canvases or whatever you prefer for the look.  Now step back and admire. 

It would be best to store these pieces in the house over the winter, but the outdoor varnish does wonders at protecting the canvas over the summer.  You could also create your own art with paint if you prefer but I love these stickers as they are quick and easy.  

Stencils – These work well if you have some and don’t want to purchase vinyl lettering, using a stencil with acrylic paints will work well too.  Keep it very simple, you just want to add some whimsy to your space and give it some personality and something to look at.

outdoor canvas wall art
Cape Craftsmen Outdoor Canvas Kathleen's Geraniums Wall Decor
Amazon Price: $64.95 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 29, 2016)

You can Purchase Ready Made Waterproof Art - You can also purchase waterproof canvas wall art online if you really want to add some color and lots of art to your space that is more detailed.  These work really well in a covered porch but they do advertise that they are waterproof.

outdoor wall art
Gardman 8415 Aztec Sun and Moon Wall Art, 26" Long x 24" Wide
Amazon Price: $32.48 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 29, 2016)

Metal Wall Art – You can get ready to go metal pieces for your wall too.  You can get them online or you can scour thrift stores and find something you like cheaper.

There are all kinds of ways to update and personalize your outdoor space without replacing patios and fences, just cover up the bad bits with something whimsical and enjoy! 



May 27, 2015 11:50pm
Great ideas, we bought a house which the previous owner drew some branches on a wall with birds on them. They look great although it was not finished. I wasn't sure what paint to use. Now you have motivated me to finish it. Thanks
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