Canvas menagerie

My sweet little boy turns two in less than a month. It’s so cliche to say it, but time has flown by. I had an animal-themed vision for his room, complete with several DIY projects, some that were finished before he was born and some that still exist only in my head (future blog fodder, I suppose). One successful project was art for the walls, easy enough for my then 2.5 year old daughter to help with.

The supplies were simple: 10″x10″ canvases from Michael’s or JoAnn Fabrics, fabric scraps in various colors, and Mod Podge, plus a glue stick and a sponge brush. I searched Google Images for the animals I envisioned (turtle, whale and elephant) plus “silhouette.”

Elephant clips

Once I found shapes I liked, I printed them with reduced opacity to avoid killing my black ink cartridge. Then I used the glue stick to glue the papers to the back of my fabrics and cut around the outlines (not with my nice fabric scissors!). Here’s a caveat: when I did Noah’s art, I had a cheap Roseart glue stick. After I cut out the whale, I realized I should really load the glue on because when it stuck better, it was easier to cut a smooth line. Somehow, even with a lot of glue, the paper still peeled off the fabric easily. I recently made another set of canvases for Greta, but the only glue stick I could find was Elmer’s. I again applied the glue liberally, but this time when I went to peel off the paper, it seemed to pull too much on my fabric, distorting the shape. Eventually I learned to leave the paper on, which worked fine with the next step…assembly!

Here’s where Greta came in. We spread newspaper out on the table and poured Mod Podge out on a paper plate, which we each painted on the middle our canvas. I placed an animal on the prepared surface, eyeballing it to make it centered. I had sized all three pictures to about 7″ wide, but since they were different heights a small distance off center wouldn’t be too noticeable. Then we went to town painting over the whole surface with more Mod Podge. After letting them dry overnight, we had art!


There are a million different looks you could make with this. I love how they turned out, and Greta loved helping make something for her little brother. Every once in awhile she would ask me to make some for her, so for Easter this year, I left a surprise by her basket:

99wNOjgaXeooBMgC.jpgMy apologies for the poor editing of the pictures on my phone. We have yet to hang these, and I’m thinking I need to make a fourth so they can hang in a 2×2 grid instead of a line. I think a bird would round the group out nicely. The ladybug body was where I really saw distortion from peeling the paper off, so I’m not super happy with that one. The fish, with the paper left on, turned out awesome; the pieces fit together better than I expected.



Now if only I can make Noah’s cornice boxes before he outgrows the animal theme…

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