DIY Abstract Art – Quick and Customized Modern Artwork

Can you make DIY abstract art? Of course you can! Art is a critical part of successful home décor and making a place feel like an actual home. 

DIY Abstract Art

It does so many things, from showcasing the personalities of the people who live in the space to providing conversation pieces to bringing in color and form where those things might otherwise be lacking.

Not only that, but wall art in particular is helpful in those ways without taking up any floor space – a win-win for many pressed for square footage.

Easy DIY Abstract Art
How to paint abstract canvas wall art

This tutorial will show you a fast and easy way to create modern artwork for your home or office. As a DIY, this inexpensive project can be completely customized to your color preferences and space constraints, which is certainly a bonus.

DIY Level: Beginner

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Materials Needed to Make DIY Abstract Art

  • Stretched canvas in your preferred size (shown is 18” x 24”)
  • String, any type (recommend thicker over thin string)
  • Tape
  • Spray paint (recommend at least three colors)
  • Matte finish spray (optional but recommended)
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How to make the abstract wall art on canvas

Step 1: Tape down end of string

Flipping over your canvas, tape the end of your string securely onto the frame. TIP: The thicker the string you use, the more prominent your artwork’s contrasting lines will be. Your contrasting lines will end up about 1/4 to 1/2 the thickness of your string, so don’t be afraid to go much thicker than you think.

Step 1: Tape down end of string

Step 2: Pull string in straight line across canvas

You’ll want to pull the string tight enough so it lies flat against the canvas and so the line is straight.

Step 2: Pull string in straight line across canvas

Step 3: Wrap string around back of canvas; repeat steps 2 & 3

This is where you let your inner artiste out. Alternate the angles, distances, and positioning of your string. Wrap tightly around and around your canvas. TIP: Use tape on the back frame to secure the string with any sudden changes in angle so the string won’t slide around and loosen.

Step 3: Wrap string around back of canvas; repeat steps 2 & 3

Step 4: Stop wrapping and tape the end of the string when done

Check the front of your canvas frequently to gauge when you feel you’re done wrapping the string. Secure the final string’s end on the back of the canvas frame with tape.

Step 4: Stop wrapping and tape the end of the string when done

Step 5: Prepare spray painting space

Position your canvas in a well-ventilated area. Gather your spray paint colors and decide on the order you want them on your artwork.

Step 5: Prepare spray painting space

TIP: Because you’ll be painting the sides of the canvas as well, use boards or disposable plastic cups or something else to elevate your canvas off the ground prior to painting.

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Step 6: Begin spray painting

A couple of things to keep in mind for this project: (1) Spray as close to parallel to the canvas as possible, so as to keep the white space (under the string) white. (2) Spray from further away than you normally would; recommend at least 18” away. (3) Use a very very light hand in spraying so your white lines will stay true.

Step 6: Begin spray painting

TIP: We’d recommend, after doing this DIY abstract art project, starting with your middle color, spraying ever so slightly wider (or, toward the ends) than what you want to actually end up with. Then work in from the ends with the other colors. It’s very important to use as little paint as possible while still getting the color coverage you’re after; your white string lines will be grateful.

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Don’t forget to spray the canvas ends as you go! Let dry thoroughly.

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Step 7 (optional): Spray canvas with Matte Finish spray

After carefully removing the string from your piece, lightly spray the entire canvas with a matte finish spray. This helps the art piece to look less like a glossy, glaring spray paint job and more like a piece of real art.

Step 7 (optional): Spray canvas with Matte Finish spray

Step 8: Let Matte Finish dry, then hang art

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You’re done!

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That was easy, wasn’t it?

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And it adds a contemporary touch and a pop of color to the space.

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We love the versatility of an abstract piece like this; it blends well with all types of décor.

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And it’s so fast and easy to do, too! Good luck creating your own beautiful DIY abstract artwork.

Types of Canvas for DIY Abstract Art Painting

Heavy Canvas

Usually stretched over a large frame and made of thick cotton or jute. You want a heavy canvas for oil painting or textured painting. The build can support the dense materials.

Light Weighing Canvas

These are often found in department stores or dollar stores. Made of cotton, usually. Because they’re thin and lightweight, the canvas tends to move and stretch. So, it’s best used for water-based paints and starter projects. Personally, I use them for practice.

Linen Canvas

The most coveted form of canvas for painting. This is because a true linen canvas is made with care and quality. You don’t get stretching or movement, and you don’t often see knots or imperfections. Just a nice, smooth base to paint on.


Not the best choice if you’re a seasoned painter. Hessian canvas tends to be rough and hard to work with. You’ll most likely have to prime the heck out of it before use. But they’re great for kids, making fun messes, and practicing.

Types of Spray Paints for Making Art

The type of spray paint you use for making art entirely depends on the type of art you’re doing.


If you’re graffitiing on stone or any outdoor surface, you definitely need an outdoor spray paint. You can get them in both acrylic and oil based. However, most artists state that oil is best for color saturation and longevity.

Painting metal

By far, the best spray paint for painting metal of any kind. is Rust-Oleum. It’s formulated for adhering to metal surfaces and actually protects it, too. If you’re making art on a metal surface, this is the one to use.

Painting plastic

Get a fusion spray paint that all in one and designed for plastic surfaces. The best brands for this are Krylon and Rust-Oleum. Th special paint is formulated to be thicker and adheres to plastic surfaces with ease.


Ensure your canvas is primed and prepped before using spray paint on it. When you’re ready, look for spray paints that are water-based and have a low flow pressure.

How to Hang a Canvas Painting

How to Hang a Canvas Painting

There are two ways to do this, and it depends on your canvas size and weight.

How to Hang a Large Heavy Canvas

What You Need

  • Power Drill
  • Two D-rings and hardware
  • Measuring Tape
  • Stud Finder
  • Plastic Anchors

Step One: Attach D-Rings

Using the hardware that comes with them, attach two D-ring hooks at the back of the canvas frame along the top bar.

Step Two: Measure

Take your measuring tape and figure out where you want the canvas to go on the wall. Mark with a pencil.

Step Three: Find Studs

Using the stud finder, locate the studs in the place on the wall you want to hang the canvas. If the studs don’t line up, then use wall anchors.

Step Four: Hang

Hang the canvas by placing the attached D-hooks over the screws you’ve put in place on the wall.

How to Hang a Small Lightweight Canvas

This one is easy. All you need is one or two finishing nails. Because the canvas is so light, you don’t need to worry about studs. Just figure out where you want to hand it, hammer in the finishing nail(s) and simply rest the top bar of the frame over it.