Sep 27

If you can paint a wall, you can paint this dog silhouette art.


Remember when I teased you with pictures of a painty mess? Well today I am super-excited to show you what I painted… and yes, if you can paint a wall, you can paint this dog silhouette art. I promise.

But first, a little background. In our new house, my little man, YMGP, lucked out. There is a very large bonus room that is his very own playroom. He loves it, and I do too, but it currently isn’t very inspiring. It is home, of course, to a lot of toys, but also to some old olive green couches and stark cream colored walls. Even though we are renting and can’t paint the walls, I want his space to be inviting, engaging and to inspire him to play and create. So, as you read above, I am going to pimp his playroom. I am going to show you the first project for this room today, but I also wanted to add a disclaimer… I don’t really have a grand plan for the room yet. I have lots of ideas, but am not yet sure how it is going to come together. Therefore, “pimp my playroom” posts may be a little sporadic.

So, as I said before, I am not an artist. I can’t draw, I have never taken an art class and I know nothing whatsoever about painting. But, I love to experiment, so I gave painting a shot. Here is how that little experiment turned out.

dog silhouette art

Did I mention that YMGP loves dogs?

I used skills that I have developed painting walls to make those dog silhouette canvases for the playroom walls. It was so much easier than I thought it would be. Here is how I did it.

I started with a yard stick and some painter’s tape. I measured and placed a strip of painter’s tape every 1.5 inches to make horizontal stripes across the 16×20 canvases that I picked up for around $4 a piece a the craft store. I used the first canvas as a template for the other three, so I only had to measure once.

painters tape on canvas

Then I painted the stripes with acrylic paint. I had some help with this part. Hey, they are for his playroom, he should get to contribute, right?boy painting

Once they were all painted and dry, I removed the tape.

striped canvas

If you look closely, you may notice that I didn’t get the cleanest paint lines ever. Some paint leaked in through the fine texture of the canvas. I decided not to worry about it – it seemed to add a little character.

While they were drying, I got to work on the dog silhouettes. I wanted four different dogs, and at least one of them to look like our dog, a boxer. I downloaded a stock vector image containing a bunch of dog silhouettes and picked out four dogs. I enlarged them to fit the canvas trying to scale them to the size of the dog. I used the tile setting to print them out across four sheets of paper.

I taped the sheets together to make a pattern, and used some painters tape to hold the pattern in place.

trace dog pattern

I put embroidery tracing paper (it’s what I had on hand) in between the pattern and the canvas and carefully traced the outline of the dog.

trace dog

I ended up with a solid, but kinda tough to see line. So I traced it with a sharpie.

dog outline

Then I painted the inside of the silhouette black with acrylic paint.

Did I just make that sound easy? It wasn’t. Honestly, I was terrified. I can barely color inside the lines with a crayon, forget about painting inside lines. But, being a good experimentalist, I took a step back and thought about what I could do. I could paint a wall. When you paint a wall and you need to keep paint inside a line (say off a ceiling) you cut in, right? That is exactly how I approached filling in my dogs. I cut in with a medium sized artist brush along the edges and filled in the rest with a foam brush. Surprisingly, I did a good job.

The secret? The sharpie lines. They were thick enough to give me a little room for error. Also, if I left a small gap, or there was a detail I didn’t have the guts to attempt, I could go back and fill in the spots with my sharpie after I was done. I am sure if you got the right angle and the right light you could see the difference in color between the sharpie and the paint, but I haven’t been able to see it yet.

By the time I was done painting my dog silhouette art, I was feeling like a regular artist.

dog silhouette art

I just love them. More importantly, YMGP loves them. Every morning as we head downstairs for breakfast he points across the house into his playroom where he can see the paintings and exclaims “dog-dog” with a big ol’ grin. That is the only critique I need.

dog silhouette art

I can’t wait to continue decorating his playroom.

So, can you paint a wall? Great! Just tape and cut in and you can make adorable dog silhouette art too!

- Laura

This post is hanging out at these lovely parties!

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  1. Paula Laird

    They are so cute! Great idea! Making things your kids love is the best! And you are brave giving the little guy a paint brush! That would not end well here. ;)

    1. Laura

      Thanks so much Paula! Honestly, he wasn’t very interested in painting, and we didn’t get much further than what you see in the picture. Actually, letting him paint was no biggie, stepping back to take a picture… that was a little more scary! You will have to bring your kids by someday to check out the playroom.

  2. Kegga

    I am in LOVE with these!!! I though I was the crazy artist, and you were the scientist. You could have fooled me! Well worth the wait :-)

    1. Laura

      Thanks Kegs. Someday you will have to teach me how one is supposed to do stuff like this.

  3. Kayla @ Home Coming

    I love the art! Great job. I’d love if you’d link up to The DIY’ers! http://homecomingmn.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-diyers-31.html

    1. Laura

      Thanks Kayla! I love it too.

  4. Julie

    Love these! I’ve had a go at bits of “art” round the house in the past. Its nice to have something unique. These are brilliant, very inspiring! Maybe time to paint over an old canvas with something new…..

    1. Laura

      I love the idea of painting over an old canvas! Sadly my hubby gets to attached to things to allow them to disappear like that. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Alisha

    Great job on these silhouette’s!! TFS!! Stopping by from Sugar Bee Crafts linky party and your newest follower on FB, Pinterest and G+. Here is what I shared this week: http://craftybrooklynarmywife.blogspot.com/2013/09/aragon-test-pattern-and-happy-fall.html

    Please follow me on FB (CraftyBrooklynArmyWife), Pinterest and G+ too.

    Thank you.

    1. Laura

      Hi Alisha! Thanks your comment, and thanks so much for all the follows, you rock!

  6. Deauna

    Cool project! I saw this on the Wow Me Wednesday link party. I’m going to do this for my herb planters.

    1. Laura

      Thanks Deauna! Herb planters? That sounds like a fun place to put some silhouettes! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Allison @ Dream a Little Bigger

    This is so great, Laura! I love the colors and I love that there are dogs on them and I love that your little guy got to help decorate his own playroom. I’d totally buy these :)

    1. Laura

      Thanks Allison. That is really the ultimate complement. Actually, I was at a local kids consignment shop the other day and noticed a set of kinda bad paintings they had for sale… and got to thinking that the art I made for my little man was better than that, perhaps I could sell them. Then I had to stop myself – cuz how boring would it be to paint the same darn canvases over and over again. I am lucky I managed to make a set of 4! Somehow, I think you might understand what I mean.

  8. Hani Shabbir

    I love the strip silhouettes.. Great idea…

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