Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I wanted something big and bold over the crib in our daughter's nursery.  I spent hours hunting around Etsy, but decided to try my hand at painting something.

I used a 50% off coupon to purchase the biggest, deepest canvas I could find at Michael's (4'x5').  It sat in the nursery for weeks...I felt like those underpants gnomes from Southpark.  Step 1: Buy Giant Canvas.  Step 2: ??????  

I finally found this on Pinterest and figured it looked simple enough.  I grabbed 2 quarts of paint from the hardware store in pink and white, a few paint brushes, and got to work.

Even though I took my time planning and sketching, I messed up my first two attempts.  I was able to paint over my mistakes, but was completely stressed by the experience and began searching around for less intimidating alternatives.  I wound up in my gift wrap closet, and had one of those 'aha!' moments when I saw a pile of red tissue paper.  A quick search on pinterest for 'fox illustrations' revealed some simple geometric designs and I got busy cutting.  

The process is pretty straight forward...cut out the pieces, place them on the canvas, move and trim as needed, then mod podge the pieces down starting with the bottom layer and working your way up.

I loved the freedom of being able to tweak things before committing to a shape or placement.  One downside to this method is the tissue paper can tear if you are not careful..I had to water down the mod podge a little to keep it from pulling the paper too hard.  It's also helpful to have a few extra pieces cut out in case something goes wrong, then you can just peel up the botched layer (while it's still wet) and put another piece down.  Each layer needs to dry for an hour or 2 before moving on to the next, but I found this process worked well with my mom-schedule.  I could pop in and lay down a layer in just a few minutes then walk away for days if I needed to, rather than trying to find a large chunk of time to spend on the project.  
The other speed bump I encountered was how transparent the white tissue paper became once it came in contact with the mod podge.  I ended up doing about five layers of white to get it to show up, and it was still more transparent that I would have liked.  You could save a lot of time by doing one or two layers of white tissue, then going over it with white paint, but after my failed attempts with paint, working with more tissue paper seemed easier to me at the time. 
In the end, I kinda like how the various layers show through...I think it gives it character!  
The gold leaves were a late addition. I didn't plan on doing anything else besides the fox, but he just looked so lonely all by himself, I pulled some inspiration from my original design idea.  Fun fact, that tissue paper is from's what they used to wrap some purchases I made for the nursery in.  Waste not, want not! :)  

This project probably ended up costing about $90 ($50 of that was for the canvas), but could easily be done for a fraction of the price if working on a smaller canvas.  Time wise, I spread it out over two weekends, but you could knock it out in a weekend or even a day depending on the number of layers your design has.  

I'm thrilled with the outcome, and so is Grace!  She loves the bright colors and contrast and I absolutely love that I was able to create something special and one-of-a-kind for my daughter's nursery.  

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