Create Personalized Art with Acrylic Paint and Canvas

I like to think of myself as artistic and crafty, although I seem to have very little time for either these days. It’s been one of my goals as a mom of boys to make sure that I’m exposing them to the world of arts and crafts. My older son, who’s  now four, loves to color, create, and paint. One our favorite ways to create art is using acrylic paint and canvas, which we started when he was just under a year and a half.

I love acrylic paint on canvas for a variety of reasons:

    1. It’s inexpensive. You can usually find acrylic paints for around $1 each when they’re on sale. Sometimes they’re less expensive. Canvas comes in all sorts of sizes but is fairly inexpensive too. I love using coupons on larger sizes or on packs of them so I have always have some on hand in case we feel the mood to be artistic.
    2. You’re creating art. We have at least half a dozen pieces of my sons art in our house and these are pieces we love to show off. We’ve also made gifts for family members that they love to display in their homes. Using the canvas rather than paper takes your art up a notch and makes it easy to display and be proud of. Not all of our pieces have been hung up (a few are hidden in the closet or in less obvious places), but in general, we love to show off what’s been made.
    3. Easy set up and fairly easy clean-up. Throw a tarp or sheet down on a table or the floor, squirt some pain on a plate and go. I like to strip my kiddo down to underwear and toss him in the bath when we’re done if needed. As long as you wash hands (and other body parts) right after painting is done, the paint will come off pretty easily.
    4. These make great gifts. I’m all about giving gifts that people want, and while kid-made art doesn’t usually fall into this category, I find that acrylic and canvas can help you do this well, even if no one in your family is “artistic.”

A few tips for creating pieces of art:

  • Think about your color selection. When my son was younger, I’d choose the colors he could use so that we could hang the picture in a place I had in mind. As he got older, I gave a selection of “mom approved” colors and he could select from those.
  • Consider using stencils, painters tape or stickers to give some structure within your free-form art. Letting kids use paint brushes or fingers are good options for getting paint on the canvas, and the art can look great. But, having a shape, such as a heart can be a nice touch, especially for a gift.
  • Don’t forget the sides. I learned this in those “paint and sip” adult classes. If you’re painting to the edges of your canvas, wrap the paint around the sides. You’ll see these when you hang it up on the wall and it will look much nicer with the side painted too. I usually help with this step.
  • Put a date on the back. It’s so hard to remember when we created these works of art, so put the date on the back and when your child gets old enough, have them sign. They’ll take pride in this and it’s fun to see how this all evolves over time.
  • If you want inspiration rather than a finger-paint free-for-all, use Pinterest to give you inspiration. We’ve done footprints, hand prints, heart stencils made of tape, and now that we’re a family of 4, I have plans to do a project with all of our handprints as trees.


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  • Omg I love the painted letter! I’m going to have to do that with my little one when she gets older.

    • Isn’t it amazing?! And I have to admit, my hubby and son did this. I was a little nervous because this is on display in our house so I was hesitant to let them take over. I gave them “mom approved” colors to choose from and let them have at it! It was a good exercise for me to give up (some) control. And I am so happy I did! I love that they did it together and it’s seriously one of my favorites of anything on our wall.