Toddler & Pre-School Decorative Canvas Art Painting

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Maybe the summer heat is getting to me because I took on a brave project the other day with the kids, but it turned out really cute so I wanted to share it!

First, I took two budget canvases that I bought on impulse in one of those too-amazing-of-a-deal-to-pass-up moments on a recent trip to the craft store for something completely different.  When I got home, Chloe was sooooo excited about painting.  But, I wasn’t really ready to completely let her loose on a perfectly good canvas.

Step 1: Make a template on a canvas

So, I did what any other sensible person would do, and created some templates using my Silhouette vinyl cutter (that does other things pretty good, too… catch that reference, anyone?) and stuck them to the canvases.  And everything else around me because they didn’t love sticking to the cheap canvas.  Eventually, I got to basically stuck down.


You really do need to use something substantial here so the vinyl will peel off, but it could be a piece of scrap wood, fabric, the wall (don’t do that).  It was tricky to get the big designs to stick.  I ended up not using transfer paper, because the transfer paper was much stickier than the cheap vinyl I got off of eBay (don’t tell Sihouette, mmmm?).

If you don’t have a craft cutter, any stickers, vinyl decals, lettering from Walmart or Office Depot, or even masking tape will do.

Step 2: Pick paint colors… wisely

This is the trick to making kid art worthy of home decorating.  Let them use the colors you would want on the wall.  I pretended it was their choice.  I said “what’s your favorite color” knowing that one child would say “pink” and the other would say “purple”.  My little secret was that I knew that already and had those colors in mind.  In fact, I already had the particular shade of those colors picked out.  Okay, so it was in my left-over paint bin, but they were basically what I was going for.  I limited them to two colors, and next asked “Cora, you also really like blue, right?”.  Make it their idea and everything will be peachy.  Or whatever color you want.

I picked these colors to make their rooms.  If I planned to hand them in a different room, I would have used those colors.


Step 3: Let ’em at it

At 2.5 & 3.5, I decided to take this project outside on the porch and cover the table with a drop cloth.  I also made them wear their painting smocks.


I did my best to explain that it would look best of they covered all of the white, but to be very careful with the purple so it wouldn’t come up.



It came up in a couple of places, but I was quick to put it back down.  Both girls asked me to help at some point, so I filled in the spots near the decals that they were missing.





Step 4: Paint the Edges

When they declared their masterpieces “all done”, I excused them inside to wash their hands — with my husband’s help.

Then, I painted the wrapped canvas to hide the craziness on the sides.



Step 5: Peel off the decals/stickers/tape

I did this right away so it wouldn’t peel dried paint up with it.  Maybe it will work with the paint is dry as well, but this worked nicely.



Step 6: Enjoy

These turned out so cute!  I was initially thinking that these would be cute on the kids’ doors, but the size isn’t quite right.  Looks like we’re hanging them in their rooms, at least for now, since they are so excited.  They didn’t turn out perfect, but I love that they are perfectly imperfect.  I love the grungy-cute look, personally.  It would have had cleaner lines if the vinyl had stuck better, so if you want a clean-edged design, make sure that whatever you are using sticks well to the surface.







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