Monday, July 19, 2010

Colorful Bird Canvas

I've been wanting to add some color to my daughter's room. After much searching, I found this painting on Pottery Barn Kids' website.
Perfect, I thought. I love the colors. Problem is, it costs $250!
Could I make something similar?? Keep in mind...I have NO painting skills, NO background in sketching, NO history with art what so ever.
Never the less, I was inspired.
After a quick trip to Hobby Lobby, I was ready to go.
Supplies: Canvas (30x40)
Mod Podge
A few paints
Scrapbook paper
Total: $32
I painted the canvas first. I started at the top left, mixing different shades of blues as I went along, sometimes adding white to get lighter pastels. As I approached the areas where I thought the branches might go, I changed to shades of green. Again, mixing greens & adding white every now & then.
There is NO rhyme or reason for any of my brush strokes.
Up close it looks very random.
I then came back with a pencil & sketched out my branches, using the PBK's painting as my guide. If you look closely, you can see pencil marks that I failed to erase. I figured once I added the birds & flowers they wouldn't be noticeable.
Next, I made the cherry blossoms out of scrapbook paper. This is the easiest part of the whole project. Using 4-5 different pink papers, cut imperfect blooms of various sizes. With mod podge, glue smaller layers on top of larger ones & add a dot of green or brown paint to the center. If you're new to mod podge, know that a little goes a long way. 1 thin layer is all that it takes. Too much, and the paper wrinkles.
Using more scrapbook paper, I made 5 pretty birds. Draw & cut out the body of 1 bird first. Once you get it how you like it, use it as a guide to make the others, making some a little smaller or fatter or with a longer/shorter tail. Face a few the opposite direction. Then cut wings and tail feathers using different blue or green paper. For the faces, make cheeks out of pink paper and eyes and beaks out of brown paper. Mod podge them on. Use brown paper to also make feet. Mod podge the feet to the back of the bird's body.
Position the birds on the branches where you'd like them to go, again
using the PBK model if you'd like.
With yellow paint, "highlight" just a few areas around the tail or belly of the birds, making sure that when you put the birds back on the highlighted section, their feet still touch the branches.
Once all of your paint has dried, layout your birds and flowers along the branches. Get it just how you want it before mod podging anything to the canvas. Remember when mod podging, to use a thin coat on the back of each flower and bird, getting all of the edges of the paper. Because of their size, the flowers are easier to mod podge. Start with them and then move to the birds.
Sidenote: Some people apply mod podge to the back of the scrapbook paper, lay it down & then add another coat to the top. I find that the paper gets too wet and stretches out. Mod podging on the top also makes the paper glossy. Unless you plan on going back with a thin coat of mod podge over the entire canvas, I would limit the mod podge to just the back of the flowers and birds.
And here is the finished project!! Made for $32 with lots of love and lots of flaws. I may go back and add a yellow butterfly like the one in PBKs (look closely), but for now, I'm very happy with it.
If you love this idea, but want a 1-Day project, check out the bird canvases at Colorful Kisses. There are step-by-step instructions on how to make them, even templets that you can print out and trace! Super cute!!


  1. I LOVE the canvas!! You did a great job:) Thanks for the colorful kisses link!

  2. Oh my gosh... make it stop. I'M COMING OVER NEXT WEEK. SERIOUSLY. :)

  3. wow, i'm so impressed! it is darling and looks great over her dresser.

  4. I actually think that your painting/creation is cuter than the PB one. Adorable!

  5. I definitely like yours better than the PB one. The colours and contrasts are nicer - great job!

  6. This is STUNNING! I actually have a jpeg of that art saved to my computer in my "I wanna make that one day" file. What a great job you did with this! Thanks so much for posting this gorgeous project :) I'm sure your daughter loves it!

  7. I just did this project myself, thanks to you for the expert instruction! I love how it turned out and will definitely send you a picture of it if you are interested. I'm not sure how to attach one to this post.

    It took me quite a while because I have a one-year old, so many days and evenings were spent during his sleep time working on it, but I had so much fun doing it myself and saving $249 for something else fantastic for our soon-to-arrive baby girl's nursery.

    Keep your great ideas flowing and thanks again for your inspiration. I didn't think I could do it, but I did and I love it!


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