A fun and easy way to Create Your Own Masterpiece.

Years ago we had a big blank wall over our sofa. I searched high and low for that perfect something to hang there but never found anything I liked or felt I could justify the money on. Plus I really like to have things in our home that mean something or serve a purpose, instead of just finding something to match the couch.

Finally I decided I would make something, or rather, in this instance, we would.

I mean, I have an art degree. I can do this, I thought.

So I headed out to the local art supply/craft store to pick up supplies. To make a long story short this is what we created, together, as a family.

Create Your Own Masterpiece

Composition? No. Balance? Huh? Harmony? Eh? We threw all the elements and principles of art out the window that day. I’m sure people who come over for a visit and don’t know that it was a finger painting (yep, finger painting) by 2 adults and 2 children (then ages 3 and 6) think, “Okay… and she’s got an art degree? No wonder she’s a stay-at-home-mom.”

But I know better. Plus we get to enjoy remembering that night we all circled the kitchen table every time we look at it – my son standing on a chair donning only a pull-up so as not to mess up any clothes, my daughter in one of her dad’s white t-shirts that hung down to her knees as a paint smock. What a fun, colorful memory. I hate I didn’t get pictures. That was way before blogging and smart phones were the norm.

So if you have a wall space you’re looking to fill, want to make an addition to your valuable art collection or just the thought of getting covered with paint tickles your fancy, here’s to Create Your Own Masterpiece.

First, the supplies.

Acrylic paints. Inexpensive acrylics like these work great. We painted ours in 2003 and it’s doing just fine. Plus depending on the size canvas you choose, you’ll need lots of paint. Choose the colors you like. We used primaries along with orange, purple and a few brighter greens and yellows. We had white on hand as well for lightening if needed.

Create Your Own Masterpiece

A canvas. Many sizes are available and our local craft stores regularly offer coupons for 40% off one item. I like the ones with the deeper edge. Of course, you could always make your own.

Create Your Own Masterpiece

In addition, you’ll need some paper plates, paper towels and newspapers or other covering for the work surface. That’s it for supplies.

Oh, and these of course.

Create Your Own Masterpiece

Next prep a table for the fun by covering it with newspapers or whatever you have to protect it. An outside table would be a good idea if available.

Then prepare the paints on paper plates (perfect alliteration) like this. You’ll want at least one plate per person … precisely (there I go again).

Create Your Own Masterpiece

Here’s a tip. Pair colors that are side by side on the color wheel so as not to create mud, if they (and they will) get mixed together. For example, green and blue like shown, (like how I coordinated the paint colors with the paper plate decoration… so Martha), or yellow and orange and so forth. This is about as much art knowledge as you’ll need to understand.

I’ll try to explain. Colors on the color wheel that are next to each other will combine nicely. Colors opposite each other on the color wheel, or complimentary colors, when mixed make mud. (I’m just on a roll with the alliteration today!) The trick is to control the paint colors by not letting them combine in a yucky way.

So when everyone is dressed for the mess and everything is ready, place the plates around the table and begin painting. I did not gesso or prime the canvas. Every now and then, rotate the canvas and/or exchange plates, being careful to watch for the colors getting muddied. Whatever works for you. Be sure to cover the whole canvas. The more paint, the better. Texture is good, so glop it on!

This is not complicated. Be sure to relax and have fun – you can’t mess it up. And if it does get yucky, let it dry and paint over it again. You could even paint all one color then let dry and add another color if you’d like. It’s yours, do whatever you want. That’s the beauty of it – it’s your masterpiece.

When finished let dry and hang. Possibly plan a gallery opening for the event.

Have fun. I hope you end up with a priceless piece that you’ll never part with (there I go again with the alliteration – what’s up with me…).

And maybe it’ll match your couch too!  (Mine does.)

Here’s the supply list again to Create Your Own Masterpiece:

Acrylic paints (get plenty)


Paper plates, paper towels and newspaper (or something to protect work surface)

Fingers (with people attached)