DIY abstract art the smart way

Bare walls make a home feel unfinished as if there’s a missing piece in a puzzle. Sometimes all it takes is a well-chosen, bold piece of wall art to turn a room into yours.

But you don’t have to buy art to have art. Instead, make it!

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Not only will you have something you can be proud of, but creative work causes you to secrete dopamine, a hormone that can make you feel absorbed and fulfilled. People are most creative when we’re happy and relaxed, and conversely, by undertaking a creative task, we can steer our brains into happiness.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a trained artist to create wall art that makes a high impact.

All you need is to make bold, abstract art is:

  • Canvas
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Painter’s tape
  • Dropcloth (optional)

First, determine the size of your canvas. This involves measuring the open wall space where you want to hang the painting, so if you’re hanging the painting above a fireplace, only measure the area above the fireplace rather than from floor to ceiling.

Then, account for proportion. Paintings hung over furniture should be less than 75% of the width of the furniture, while artwork hung over a fireplace should be as wide as the opening of the fireplace.

Next, choose the paint colors. I recommend choosing 2-4 colors. For my painting, I used two pillows in the room where I planned to hang my painting for color inspiration. I didn’t have the exact shade of teal that I needed, so I mixed blue, green, and white paint together to make my own.


Now you’re ready to set up your paint station. I laid out a dropcloth onto the floor and put my canvas right on top. (The canvas was too big for my easle.) If you don’t have dropcloth, you can use newspaper or pick an area where you can make a mess, like a garage.

Finally, it’s time to create your art.

Start by laying out painter’s tape in an interesting pattern. Try not to stretch painter’s tape when applying it because this affects its adhesion. The areas where you put the tape will remain the color of the canvas. An alternate to this project (if you have the time) would be to paint the entire canvas, wait for it to dry, and then put painter’s tape over it.

Once you’re done laying out the tape, start painting in bold blocks. There is no science here. Do what looks interesting to you; this is what makes it your own.


Personally, I wanted to have each color in my palette fill up one big block in the pattern. Then, I filled in the blanks, making sure to balance out the colors; in other words, I didn’t want to have all of one color in one quadrant.

When you’re finished painting, you have to wait for it to dry before removing the painter’s tape. I waited 24-hours to be sure.

Once the paint dries, carefully remove the painter’s tape back over itself, avoiding ripping it from the canvas as it might tear or strip away paint.


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