DIY Wall Art: Simple and Cheap Recycled-Paint Project

Wall art really amps up the level of style and polish of a space. Unfortunately, it can often be quite expensive, or hard to find the perfect piece in terms of size, color, vibe, etc. That’s where DIY wall art comes in! Especially a super simple project like this one, where you can use up some of your extra paint to boot. And the best part is, you don’t have to be an artist to create great-looking wall art. Here’s how.

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Materials Needed:

  • White poster board
  • Leftover paint in colors you like (these retro rainbow colors were left over from this DIY dresser project and are a favorite of everyone who lives here)
  • Foam paint brushes
  • Picture frames (these are cheap, minimal-modern frames from Walmart)

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Begin by marking the poster board to the size that will fit into your frame(s).

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Use scissors or a paper cutter to cut straight, precise lines. Particularly with slim-profile frames, you don’t have much wiggle room for error.

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Make sure it will fit perfectly into the frame, as once your artwork is on there, you won’t want to deal with trimming or gaps from mis-cutting.

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You might have a vision in your head, and if that’s the case, you might feel like skipping this step. But I always find it helpful to sketch out vaguely what I’m after for DIY wall art. Once you have your idea nailed down, you’re ready to begin.

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Lay out the poster board(s) in the formation you will use for displaying them. This will make a difference in what colors you choose to place in what positions on the poster boards. It will help with balance.

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Grab a scrap piece of poster board, and give a practice stripe a go. When painting with latex or acrylic paints onto poster board, it is key to get enough paint to go on smoothly, but not so much that you have a bunch of excess. The more that you make painting strokes on the poster board, the more wrinkled it will look.

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When you’re ready, use the foam brush to apply your paint onto the poster board in even strokes and in the places you want. Remember that this is art; go with your gut as much as anything else.

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Once your paint is applied, if you’re after a more crisp aesthetic for your DIY wall art, use the tip of the foam brush to straighten out your edges and firm up the corners.

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Again, you want to make sure you have just enough paint on the brush to apply smoothly. Not more, and not less.

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Step back every few minutes to make sure you’re painting level across your poster board (if, in fact, your DIY wall art involves straight lines and shapes).

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Take care to wipe excess paint off your foam brush every time you reapply paint on the brush, or you might get drips in less-than-desirable places. That happened here. If this happens, just leave the paint alone. Do not try to wipe it off, or it will smear into a much bigger smudge than just the line.

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You might try to cover up some of the misplaced paint by changing your design. I painted a much larger square here, in a darker color, than I originally intended. It “erased” half of the paint drip. The other part is just part of the painting now.

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Another great trait of DIY wall art is that it is fully customizable. These art pieces are going in a bedroom of two sisters, whose initials were able to be subtly worked into the design. Don’t hesitate to really personalize your artwork.

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Let your paintings dry completely, overnight if possible.

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Remove the clear section of your frame (glass or acrylic), and place your artwork inside.

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Put the frame back together, and repeat for as many frames as you have for your DIY wall art.

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Hang them on the wall. I find it helpful to use a level when matching up holes, both vertically and horizontally.

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(L and A are the two initials in these pieces, if you’re curious.)

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I hope you enjoy creating your own modern wall art in this very simple, straightforward way, and that it makes you happy every time you look at it, splatters and all. Bonus: You’re recycling unused paint, which is a green move we can all be glad of.

Happy DIYing!