DIY: Easy-Peasy Artwork

Today my sister came over, and we whipped up a painting to hang in her new apartment. Believe it or not it only took us a few hours to complete. You can easily make your own with a canvas, a paint brush, 1/2″ masking tape, and three colors + white acrylic paint. Just tape up your canvas every which way, paint a gradient of each color in the taped segments, remove the tape, and enjoy!

tape painting


  1. artist

    not to get into a ‘what is art’ conversation, or belittle this because crap damien hirst and other so called’ artists’ spew out isn’t even art.. but I would call this decorative design not an ‘art work’
    that’s why so many people like say mark rothoko prints its really about how it looks in a room, completments the furniture etc.

  2. Wit & Whistle Post author

    artist – Yeah, that’s fair to say. Our goal was to fill some empty wall space with something that coordinates with her decor. Mission accomplished!

  3. roddy

    Go to a fabric store and buy a couple of yards of cloth that is too gaudy for clothing, but perfect for abstract art. Use cheap furring strips and corner brackets from Home Depot to make a frame. Stretch the fabric tight and staple it from the back.
    Presto! A solution for that big empty space.
    No talent required.

  4. Josh

    Wow, that really looks amazing. I’d love to have something like that on my wall, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it for a long time to come.

  5. Emily

    I would love to try this, but I have no experience or knowledge of painting a gradient. What’s the best/easiest way to do paint a gradient for this project?
    And what is the recommended canvas? Anything? And the canvas is already attached to something to hang it? Looks nice.
    Anyway, cool idea. I’d love to try it!

    1. Wit & Whistle Post author

      To paint a gradient you need white paint and another color of paint, let’s say brown. Squeeze a little blob of each color onto a paper plate or something similar. Start on one side of the taped off shape with brown and paint a small section. Then mix a little white into the brown on your paper plate to make a lighter brown. Paint that color on your canvas next to the 100% brown. As you move across the shape painting just continue to mix the brown with more and more white paint so it gets lighter as you continue painting. By the time you reach the opposite edge you should be using 100% white. Hopefully that makes sense. It’s kind of hard to describe, since it’s something you partially figure out by trial and error as you go along. :) You could practice on a scrap piece of paper before painting on the canvas to make sure you have the hang of it.

      If you go to any art or craft store you can buy stretched canvases. They should also carry mounting hardware to hang your canvas on the wall.

  6. CJS

    I am wanting to try this project on two canvases I have. I am fairly talented when it comes to this kind of thing, but I want to understand what “tool” you are applying to the canvas in the picture in the upper right of the graphic with this post. Can you shed some light on what you are using and doing there? It would be greatly appreciated!

  7. CJS

    WW: and you just used some white paint to apply the “streaks” to the already painted canvas. Was the paint area you were covering with that brush still wet?

    1. Wit & Whistle Post author

      Yes, the painted area we were painting in the photo was still wet. We did each taped off segment all at once without waiting for the paint to dry. It’s easiest to blend the paints into a smooth gradient when the area is still wet.

  8. Jen

    I love that! Did you use acrylic for all of the colors as well? Is there a special brush that you would suggest to use?

    1. Wit & Whistle Post author

      Yes, all the colors are acrylic. Just use any brush you’re comfortable with! I used a round tip brush.

  9. Aneesa

    Let’s say, hypothetically, that I don’t know what acrylic paint is….

    How does the paint have different shades? or do you just keep mixing it with white?

    1. Wit & Whistle Post author

      You just mix each color with more and more white paint to get lighter and lighter shades of the color.

  10. EMily

    Wow, that looks amazing. I wish you had a few more “in progress” photos. I love the mod look of it, do you think it would work as well with colors?

    1. wit & whistle Post author

      Not off the top of my head, but I’ll brainstorm to see what I can come up with. :)

  11. MaxBasile

    I have bought a few $100 artworks from Melbourne based artist Mendo (from Graysonline). Was better than getting in car, finding an art store, paying $58 in materials, making a mess somewhere in my house, cleaning that up and then realising it looks like crap :)

    Why do I know this? Yes I did make an artwork! Never again. That took a day off my life, wasn’t fun and I earn more than $100 in a day.

    Hope they go up in value :)

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Yeah, if you don’t enjoy the process of making something yourself this project probably isn’t worth the effort. :)

  12. Nicole

    WW: I love this and want to make this my project for the weekend, can you tell me what colors you used? Because whatever you did will go perfectly with my living room decor. Thank you!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Oh, I have no idea Nicole! I have a huge box full of paints and just grabbed some. Sorry I can’t be more specific. If you just use burnt umber, burgundy, and a dark (almost black) brown it should come close to the photos.

  13. jennie3576

    as a graphic designer and fine arts major, i find it disheartening when people criticize other people’s art work and decide that it’s “not art.” frankly, like beauty, art is in the eye of the beholder. i can tell you that i have many friends and family members that “don’t get” or don’t like my art. but there are many that enjoy what i do. the mention of some “famous” artists in a post before mine prove my point. one was mentioned whose artwork i despise and frankly don’t understand. but that doesn’t mean it’s not art.

    the masking taped lines actually remind me of an artist i did a series of studies on: piet mondrian. is it exactly like his? no. is it similar? no. but the lines dividing the colors is a similar concept. does that make his better? that i leave up to the individual to judge for him/herself.

    kudos to the wit & whistle ladies for being creative and expressing their artistic talent!

  14. Christine

    I love this and going to try it! I don’t have much experence with painting. Does it matter if you remove the tape while the paint is wet or wait for it to dry?

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      It’s a little better to remove the tape when the paint is still damp, but since acrylic paints dry quickly removing it right after the paint dries is fine too. I just wouldn’t let it dry too long before removing the tape, so the paint doesn’t peel up with it.

  15. kathy Brazil

    Great lesson to do with my middle school students. This is great for those who feel that they are not good in art beacause they can’t draw.

  16. Amateaur

    Hi Amanda, I made a similar painting and it’s come out really nice. But the problem is that my paint has leaked through the masking tape in different parts of the painting. If I paint with white paint in only those parts then the painting will end up looking patchy. Any ideas on how I can fix this issue?

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      If you painted on a canvas with acrylic you can try getting a damp paper towel wrapped over your fingernail to scrub/scratch the unwanted paint away. Sometimes that works for me if the paint hasn’t been drying for too long. Other than that I think your only other options would be to try to mix a white that perfectly matches your canvas color and paint over the unwanted spots, or you could paint all the white areas with white paint so they cover the unwanted paint and don’t look blotchy.

  17. Tamara

    Thanks for posting this! My boyfriend and I used your photo and tips as a guide to paint a 2′ x 4′ canvas to hang above our bed. We’re so happy with how it turned out. What a fun way to spend our anniversary!

  18. Beth

    I’m thinking of making some gradient artwork with acrylic paints myself. There are a lot of digital artists using blended gradient shapes that overlay each other and make new colours where they cross. I want tol try to replicate that effect but I’m not sure what would be the best medium to achieve that. I was thinking of glazing medium but it might be too shiny. Would matte medium work? Anyone got any advice?

  19. Glenda

    today at our paint and pottery studui I painted the design on a 4×6 inch tile…I have not fired it yet, but it looks good. If it turns out I will try design on another tile and use light and dark olive green, peach and pastel orange. Thank you for the idea.

  20. julianna

    Hi i am wondering what color and brand paint you used? i know its acrylic but it looks like it has some kind of shine to it, so i am hoping you can help specify if it was a certain kind

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      It has been so long since I did this project, I’m not sure what kind of paint I used. Sorry about that!

  21. Stacey

    This sounds silly, but 76 year old mothers can be funny. I bought mine an electric tea pot that shuts off automatically since she is a tad forgetful. She loves that tea pot so much she wants something to incorporate those colors more into her kitchen. I think she will love being able to help tape up her own design. Some big box craft stores have bundles and singles of inexpensive gallery wrapped canvases, an FYI to others trying this too. I’m going to do the edge of my canvas in a solid color to compliment. Thank you for sharing!

  22. Dale Jean

    My son painted one wall of his new apartment like this, in black, gray and white. It looks amazing. I never thought to do a small one on canvas. Thanks for the great idea!

  23. Nids

    Hey there… lovely piece of art…
    did you paint the back of the canvas first so that colour doesn’t run through the canvas? I have to start my first canvas , hence been reading through some articles….

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