This is a super easy tutorial for anyone looking to cover their apartment walls. It’s a simple way to add a punch of color, extend a theme’s room and it’s got a nice organic, vintage feel to it. I like how it looks with a group or pair of these, but a solo project could work well too. But be warned: you’re gonna get paint on your hands. Acrylic paint seems to come off with handwashing just fine. I also recommend wearing clothes you don’t mind getting paint on.

You will need:

  • acrylic paint in your desired colors (I chose to go with blue for all 3, but feel free to mix it up)
  • 1 or more canvases (I got mine at a dollar store for about $2 each; don’t go too big, or else your shape is going to look too small on the canvas)
  • paint knives, brush or a flat/smooth wooden stick
  • computer printer, paper
  • scissors or an Xacto knife
  • newspaper

1. First, find some basic shapes online to print off. You’ll be cutting these out and peeling this out of paint, so you want something that is easy to cut out. Avoid shapes with narrow parts. (The mast of the sail boat ripped a bit when I was peeling it off, so avoid something that narrow.) I’m not sure why, but round shapes worked better for me. When printing, go with large images. The images do not have to be high res, so it’s fine if you have to stretch the images to fill the page.

2. Cut the shapes out with scissors or an Xacto knife. If the paper starts to curl, press them under books for a day.

3. Lay newspaper down on your work surface (perhaps a kitchen table, like mine) and have your paint, brush/knife/wooden stick nearby. I chose to work with acrylic paint because it gives you enough time to work without drying.

4. With your first shape on the newspaper, spread a layer of paint over it, going over it completely. The layer of paint doesn’t have to be super thick or even, just make sure it’s all covered.


5. Using the edge of your brush, knife or stick, CAREFULLY peel the paper shape from the newspaper. This is the part where you will likely get paint on your hands. Peel slowly and carefully.

6. Lay your shape down on the canvas, painted side down. You really only get one shot at this, so make sure you are centered before you put it down.

High-speed action shot compliments of Colby. haha

7. Smooth out any wrinkled edges and let the shape sit for a moment. Press down any loose pieces. You may need to add a bit of extra paint to any edges you missed and press them down gently. Don’t worry about any stray bits of paint that fell off the paper. It actually adds to the effect.

8. Again, be very slow and careful and peel the shape off, especially when you reach narrow pieces. It’s ok if it rips, just try not to dap your fingertips into the paint. We’re going for that chipped-paint look. The coolness of this art comes from the imperfections.

9. Set your artwork in a place where it can dry and won’t be disturbed for a day or 2. Hang on your wall using 3M picture hanging strips or set on a book shelf. Whoo! Done! 😀

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this tutorial, please share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest! 😀

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Jillianne Hamilton is an author, crafter, hobby addict, history enthusiast and graphic designer in Charlottetown, PEI on Canada's beautiful east coast. Her debut novel, Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, was shortlisted for the Prince Edward Island Book Award in 2016. Her fourth book, The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, will be published in 2018.


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Hi, I'm Jill! I'm an author, a Lazy Historian, a web/graphic designer, a bookworm and a hobby addict. I live in Charlottetown on Canada's beautiful east coast. Learn more.

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