Do It Yourself: Painted Stripes, Wallpaper, and Canvas Wall Art


Crafts are not really my thing. So when I moved into a 1970s raised rancher house with a big hole in the wall (was this ever stylish?) I needed a frugal DIY fix. I wasn’t about to patch or fill the big rectangular hole in my wall with drywall since I neither wanted a big blank wall nor needed the expense.

So after hitting the local artist supplies store, I found my fix in a simple ready-made cheap canvas. The project was easy. I bought three large blank canvases to fit into my 1970s wall pit, painted stripes and dots on one side using various paints, and then stapled some cool wallpaper on the stretched canvas backing. Presto! Instant art on canvas wall decor a la Martha Stewart!


It’s not a super frugal project, but it’s easy to do it yourself and visually pretty. I left some space between each canvas artwork since I like the look and I’m OK with the cheap canvas not being perfect. Most artist supplies stores will stretch and build a custom canvas though if a perfect fit is your preference.


Here’s what you need to do this DIY canvas art project:

DIY Canvas Art Materials:

  • Either: blank canvas, primed canvas, unprimed canvas, stretched canvas, or a painters canvas
  • Cool wallpaper
  • Masking or painter’s tape
  • Staple gun or glue
  • Paint (various colors)
  • Paint brushes, small roller
  • Pattern (optional)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Large spoon

DIY Canvas Art Instructions:

Here are the simple instructions for turning your blank canvas into beautiful art on canvas!

On Blank Canvas Side

  1. Paint the blank canvas with a background color using a roller or brush. Let dry.
  2. Apply strips of masking tape on the canvas to make stripes. Depending on your pattern, apply a mix of wide and thin stripes on the canvas by applying the tape stripes next to each other. If the canvas is large, use a ruler and pencil to mark stripe placement. Use a large spoon to apply pressure on the tape, this prevents the paint from leaking or bleeding through.
  3. Paint in the gaps using the masking tape as a stencil and let dry.
  4. Gently peel the masking tape off the canvas to reveal your stripes. Use a small brush to touch up stripe edges, if necessary.
  5. Paint other patterns on canvas (like dots) as desired. Presto! Instant art on canvas!



On Stretched Canvas Backing
Now it’s time to put wallpaper on canvas backing.

  1. Measure the stretched canvas backing and cut wallpaper to fit on the canvas backing. Be sure to cut the wallpaper pattern to line up and match if the canvas is wider than the wallpaper. This can happen with cheap canvases.
  2. Use glue or a staple gun to append wallpaper on canvas backing.
  3. Hang your new DIY canvas art!

A DIY canvas art project like this could also be done to create wall murals, to display wall decals, to hang inspiring quotations, or just enjoying painting oversized canvas art! If you ever get bored with your wallpaper on canvas or canvas artwork, just paint or wallpaper over it! Gotta love a project which is recyclable!

Another popular use for canvases is to create photo prints on canvas or photographs on canvas. For this you’ll need to contact a printer to get your photos properly printed.

Do you display canvas wall art? Found a frugal fix for an expensive home renovation project? Are you crafty?

More frugal DIY Art Projects


  1. Emily September 16, 2008 at 3:32 am

    Wow! Nice job!! Love it! I kinda wish my walls had a big hole now so I could do this 🙂 I have tiny versions of wrapped canvases in my house on my walls though.

  2. MoneyGrubbingLawyer September 16, 2008 at 6:03 am

    Looks fantastic! If I had a “wall hole” to fill, this would be my solution.

  3. Budgets are Sexy September 16, 2008 at 7:32 am

    That’s pretty hot – good work! i’d probably have started it, and then left it half way done 😉

  4. Connie Brooks September 16, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Oh what a cool idea!!!

    This would be so fun to do with my daughter too. I can just see a canvas with her hand prints and a few stripes or flowers. That’s very cool.

  5. Beth September 16, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Do you have a solution for the faux brick mortared onto the walls in my place?

  6. Kerry September 16, 2008 at 10:18 am

    @Emily Your posts on frugal renos are awesome, so I am thrilled you like my attempt. 😀

    @MoneyGrubbingLaw Be happy you don’t have a “wall hole.” It took me months to figure out how to solve this unsightly problem. My “better half” thought I was nutty at first, but now he’s pretty happy with the results (even though the wallpaper on the back is flowers, albeit masculine flowers).

    @Connie I think children’s hand prints on canvas is a stunning idea. I love it. An awesome project.

    @Beth There are two solutions: 1) Tear it down, 2) Cover it up. @Emily might have some ideas tooooo….

  7. Jules September 17, 2008 at 1:42 am

    We just got a sewing machine (secondhand machine, bought as a birthday present) and I’ve got lots of projects lined up with it.

  8. Al Pal September 17, 2008 at 5:55 am

    Very cool, Fox. Believe it or not, I have a very similar pattern in my son’s room. I used a different canvas combination, and different colours – but our ‘artwork’ is very similar. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. passdabeans January 8, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    You could have probably saved your self some money and bought plywood and covered the plywood the same as the canvas. Don’t get me wrong what you did looks good, I just know canvas that size is not to cheap. 🙂

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  14. Janis October 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Wonderful idea! Realized I don’t even need a hole in the wall…just made one as art. Everyone wanted to know where I bought it. What a hoot!

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