Spray Paint Canvas Tricks

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By using a few simple techniques, it is possible to create unexpected effects with spray paint on canvas. With little to no artistic training, you can produce original artwork that appears much more complex than it really is. Because spray paint is available in a vast array of colors, your work can be as colorful or as muted as you like. However, it is important to remember that spray paint can be hazardous. Work in a well-ventilated place and always follow the manufacturer’s directions.


Masking is the opposite of stenciling. To create a mask, draw the outline of an object on a piece of paper or cardboard and cut it out. Spray paint your canvas in any color you choose and then affix the cut out shape to your canvas. Spray paint around it to create an outlined shape that you can either leave alone or decorate. One effective use of this technique is to make a mask of a human form. You can also use objects such as rubber gloves, leaves or dolls as masks.


Spray paint thick layers of color on top of each other. Before the paint dries, carve patterns, designs, simple pictures or other marks into it, revealing the colors beneath. Etch your designs with a knife or even a nail. As you work, shift the amount of pressure you apply in order to expose the various layers of paint. You can apply this technique by etching written words into the canvas painting.


There are several ways to add a border to your painting using spray paint. One simple way is to cover the center of the painting with a rectangle or square piece of paper, leaving an even border around the edges of the painting. Spray paint this border and when you remove the paper you will see an even border or frame around your work. You can create a more complicated frame by cutting scallops around the paper.

Colored Images

You can create multi-hued images with spray paint. Spray several colors over one another, overlapping, so you can see parts of each color. Blow the colors around the canvas with a straw, so they flow on top of each other. This may take some experimentation until you are satisfied with your work. While the paint is still wet, place an object such as an old shoe, a fork or a pencil over the paint. Spray paint over the object, making sure that you paint around all of the edges. Gently lift the object up and away from the painting to reveal the imprint of the object, embedded in a mixture of colors.


About the Author

Laura Myers has been writing professionally since 1992. She has edited the print publications "Stamp Stories" and "Chiaroscuro." Myers holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Victoria and is a certified family law mediator. She also holds diplomas in early childhood education and interior design.

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