Light Up Your Night With This DIY Canvas Project

Callum Mundine is a father of two and the co-owner of LED World (with his brother). They are an Australian based lighting design firm. In his spare time, he enjoys photography and creating DIY projects with his children.

This DIY canvas light is the perfect way to add a unique touch to your home. It doesn’t matter how artistically inclined you are. Grab some paint brushes (or use your hands!) and let your creativity run wild.

Things you’ll need:

  • A blank canvas
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes or sponges
  • LED lights
  • Masking tape
  • Pencil and permanent marker (optional)
  • Glitter, stars, anything to add a decorative touch (optional)

Choosing your canvas

All you need to start is a blank canvas. Square, rectangle, round, whatever fits the space you have in mind. These will look great in your living room, kitchen, kid’s room, on a shelf, etc… and they also make really personal gifts.

To keep your workspace clean, set your canvas down on some newspaper or old towels. Getting a little paint on you is all part of the fun. Ruining your table or floor isn’t!

Get painting

I chose acrylic paint as it dries faster, but you can use anything you like. Adding thicker layers helps add some texture to the painting, just remember it will take longer to dry (more time to enjoy a cup of tea). I also added some gold as I love the way it contrasts with the blue and it also helps illuminate the canvas.

You could go for an abstract look, use bright colours, choose just one shade, draw a landscape or write your favourite book quote over the top.

If you like this idea, wait until the paint is completely dry, then write it out with a pencil first. Slanting your writing to the right and making your downward strokes thicker will help give it more of a calligraphy look. Once you’re happy with the way it looks, trace over the pencil with a permanent marker.

Light it up

I’m the first to admit I find it hard to throw things away, so when I’m working on DIY projects I try and use any bits and bobs I have in the house. This canvas project is a great way to use any extra Christmas lights, as long as they’re LEDs which don’t get hot.

Remember to plug them in and check each light is working before you get to work, as it’s incredibly disappointing to see fused bulbs when you think you’ve finished the project.

Coloured lights also look nice, but this time around I chose white bulbs with white wiring, as I prefered the final look on the wall.

If you don’t like the idea of a cord hanging out of the canvas, choose battery-operated lights instead. Even better if they have a timer, as you won’t need to lift the canvas to switch them on and off.

You can tape the switch to the back of the canvas to keep it hidden and secure.

Cutting holes for your lights

Once the canvas is completely dry, turn it over, and use a pencil to mark where you want the lights to go. LED strands come in different lengths, so if you’re working with a smaller canvas, you’ll probably find strands with 10 or 20 bulbs will work best.

You can follow a pattern or space them randomly, but I found it helpful to measure the space between each bulb so I didn’t make the holes too far apart.

This is probably the hardest part of the project, as a uniform spacing will give a more professional finish, so take your time and think about where you want the lights to come through.

Next, use a sharp knife to carefully cut a slit in the canvas where you’ve marked each spot.

Final steps

Push each bulb through the slits you’ve made in the canvas, just enough so you see the light poke through on the other side, and then secure them in place using some masking tape.

And that’s it! Hang your canvas on a wall or prop it up on a bookshelf. You’ll be amazed at how a little unique wall art can light up your room. I’ve received so many nice comments about mine I can’t wait to start work on the next one.