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How to Make a Light Up/ Lighted Art Canvas

Updated on December 11, 2012
A lighted canvas is a beautiful customized craft that makes a great night light.
A lighted canvas is a beautiful customized craft that makes a great night light. | Source

How to Make a Light Up Canvas

Whether you want to make custom décor for your home, thinking of making a gift, or considering creative night light options, a light up canvas is a unique craft that anyone can make. Canvases are inexpensive and can be painted to match any room and even look beautiful left unpainted. Natural items look stunning on a lighted canvas. This idea can be customized with a tree, cherry blossoms, and even your favorite photo or painting. No matter what your skill level as a painter, a simple canvas like this is simple to create. With some affordable supplies and a little creativity, you too can make your own lighted canvas.

Supplies needed for a Light Up Canvas
Supplies needed for a Light Up Canvas | Source

Supplies Needed For a Lighted Canvas

  • One canvas in any size you prefer. The canvas should be mounted to a plastic or wooden frame.
  • Paint for the image you want on your canvas. For this canvas, I used spray paint to create an abstract background. The fern is painted with blue and brown metallic acrylic paint
  • A stencil of any image you prefer if you aren't painting an image with a free hand style
  • One paintbrush if using a stencil
  • A stencil in any style you prefer
  • One flat stencil brush or paint roller
  • A nail for poking holes or a razor with a straight blade to cut an outline
  • One small set of lights. 20 to 50 lights work well. I have used a battery operated set to avoid having a cord to plug in coming from behind the lights. The more lights in the set, the brighter your canvas will be.
  • Sturdy tape like duct tape or electrical tape to put the lights on the canvas

If you don't want an all white canvas, spray paint is an easy way to create an abstract background.
If you don't want an all white canvas, spray paint is an easy way to create an abstract background. | Source
If painting a stem or a tree, use a regular paint brush.
If painting a stem or a tree, use a regular paint brush. | Source
Paint the greenery with a flat stencil brush.
Paint the greenery with a flat stencil brush. | Source
Allow the paint to dry completely before removing the stencil.
Allow the paint to dry completely before removing the stencil. | Source
When the paint is dry, use a nail to poke holes to create your design.
When the paint is dry, use a nail to poke holes to create your design. | Source

Instructions to Make a Light Up Canvas

The first step in creating your canvas is to decide on your design. For this project I wanted an abstract background in blue and chocolate. I chose spray paint for this project because it is a great way to get an abstract look for a novice painter.

To start, coat the canvas with a light color and let it dry for at least four hours. Next, apply your accent color on top of the base color. Holding the can away from the canvas while spraying will give you a lighter, abstract looking coat. Let the canvas dry for four more hours.

If you want to apply decoration to the canvas, you can paint it onto the prepared canvas. If you have no artistic painting ability like me, you can use a stencil to create a design on your photo. Choose a stencil with your desired design. Tape it to the dried canvas before painting so it stays secure and so that paint doesn't seep outside of the design. Stencils can be painted with a paint brush. I prefer to use a flat stencil brush as pictured because this method does not show brush strokes.

When finished, allow the paint to dry for four hours. When dry, remove the stencil.

Next, take a nail and poke small holes around the outline of your design. Poke the holes from front to back. Add more holes for a brighter canvas and less holes for a more subtle glow.

For the last step, tape the lights to the back of the canvas. If using a string of lights with a cord, tape it so the cord dangles at the bottom. When secure, hang the picture and turn out the lights and admire your new home decor.

A lighted canvas makes a beautiful nightlight.
A lighted canvas makes a beautiful nightlight. | Source
Consider a beautiful pre-made panel for lighting
Consider a beautiful pre-made panel for lighting | Source

Canvas Décor: Make a Melted Crayon Canvas

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    • goego profile image

      goego 4 years ago from Loserland

      Perfect timing...

    • zsobig profile image

      Sophie 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is a great idea, maybe if we will finally be able to buy/build our new home in the future I will give this a try!

      Thanks a lot for sharing!

      Voted up + awesome!

    • Helna Reneesh profile image

      Helna Reneesh 4 years ago

      Heee coool hub i will really try to make it soo we be great friends

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      OMG Tammy.....I give up...you're just too artsy/crafty for me! It must be so nice to be talented and make all these wonderful, unique things and be proud of your work! Want to know how TOTALLY UN-artistic I am??

      My DIL is like you....a Martha Stewart type......she did her walls with 2 tone blues.....and used like a bath sponge to make what looked like lilacs all over the wall. You probably know what I'm talking about....anyway...I liked it and asked her how she did it. Then I got this big idea I could do it too.

      Well.......when she came over to see it........she said....."Mom, I'm gonna have to honest......it looks like you let the boys have a paint ball war in there."

      We laughed so hard we cried.........Next day I used a roller and covered it allllll up!!..........Sure, go ahead, laugh....I don't care!! UP++

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, you are just too clever! Was that you in the video? I watched the whole thing hoping to catch a glimpse of you? Did you shoot the video? Great idea if you did!

      Obviously I'm not going to do this, but it was a really cool hub and the finished product is awesome. I loved the one with the girl and umbrella under the rainstorm.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Such a great idea you have posted here! There's no end to the designs this could be used for, and with the holidays around the corner we should definitely have some fun with this project. Thanks!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      You are so creative, Tammy. This is beautiful and something I would have never thought of myself. It's also compelling and simple enough that older kids would want to do it. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi tammy, this is such a simple yet great idea, even I could do this! lol! you are so clever! voted up and shared, nell

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      How so goego?

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading zsobig. I hope you will give it a try to send pictures. :)

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading Helna!

    • goego profile image

      goego 4 years ago from Loserland

      The title, 6:54 westcoast time:)

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      You crack me up fpherj48! I guess I was just immersed into crafts and projects ever since I was born. During long bleak winters in Pennsylvania my parents did tons of crafts and we all entertained ourselves with it. My mom is a knitter and a beader and my dad started me off on dollhouses, miniature furniture, etc.. Both of my parents were extreme perfectionists and that rubbed off too. I appreciate that and I am sure you could learn to sponge paint. I would probably trade this talent for musical ability. Thanks for your comment and I appreciate how you always make your follows and followers feel like we are the only other people on Hubpages. :)

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi billybuc. That is NOT me in the video. The only video I am in any of my hubs I think is the interview of Scott Tepperman. I can't set a camera down and record myself because I have a beautiful 3 year old photo bomber who LOVES the camera. I used that video because of the outstanding canvas décor ideas. I hoped it would make up for my own lack of painting ability. :) One day I hope to come up with a craft idea that even you would try. Thanks for reading my friend.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for your kind comment RTalloni. I think a Christmas background would be just gorgeous. That is a fabulous suggestion too!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for your kind comment Alocsin. I always appreciate your visits. :)

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much Nell Rose. It is always good to see you!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      If it helps, I didn't create this video. :() Intriguing indeed!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Will pas this on t my wife's son, Justine. He is the artist of the house. Thank you

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Mhatter99. That is very awesome of you. :)

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Tammy,

      Awesome hub Tammy! I wish I had some creative genes within me so I could post amazing hubs like this one! Great job here Tammy!! :)

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Josh. I just wish I could make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich like you. :) I appreciate your visit.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Wonderful ideas Tammy! these are so good!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks unknownn spy!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      Gee! Those crayons wanted to spill their rage on my screen! Your crafting mind is so wonderfully creative. I guess being a mom to a little girl cna spark so much creativity. Hope those Barney DVD's didn't get on your nerves. All is said by fellow writers... but we want to add our own words for this hub. Definitely a great article for parents and kids. Thanks for taking your time and... certainly your efforts will be rewarded. Now back to my Harp and inspirations...

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Lord De Cross. Funny you say that.. I have been watching Barney for 21 years. LOL! I appreciate your visit.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Another non craft guy here Tammy but do know someone who is. That was pretty neat watching the melted crayons. Almost brought out the kid again lol. Up n use of course!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Nice. Good idea. Night light for any room. Love it. Voted Up.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you for reading and commenting Alastar Packer. I loved the crayon canvas. If I were to melt crayons here at home, I think my little one would get upset. :)

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for stopping by moonlake!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      The leaf here is such a perfect gift for an autumn present! I love the lighted up canvas idea! How awesome! What you did here looks really good and it doesn't look to hard at all! Now, I'll have to add this to my growing lists of crafts to try - especially ones that you have shared. Voted up/tweeted/pinned. Awesome!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much CCLitgirl. Thank goodness for stencils. I have never been a drawer or painter but there are ways to get around what we don't have. It is always great to see your perky self. :)

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Tammy, voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. You always create the most interesting things Tammy. This is cool. I will have to get the kids together, they can't go without a night light:) Looks fun. They would have fun creating one for their rooms. Awesome idea!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much lyricwriter. I hope you guys will try it. It is fun and easy!

    • profile image

      Kate 4 years ago

      A couple safety factors to remember when using techniques that emit fumes: work in a very open space, preferably outdoors; wear a mask or ventilator to filter out toxic fumes; if working indoors take frequent breaks to allow fumes to dissipate and so crayons don't get overheated. With those things in mind, get creative and have fun!!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Great point Kate. Thanks!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Wow! You are so multi talented! I would love to give this a try but I bet it looks like a little kid did it:) haha You make everything look so easy!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Realhousewife. I was hesitant to "paint" something that went public. I wish I could hand paint a glorious tree and light it up, but I don't have that skill. We just have to work with what we have. Thanks so much for reading and for your kind sharing. :)

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      This is a very useful & creative hub. I have been visiting various stores online an off but not seeing anything that would work well. Now I have the tools to make it myself. I only thought of painting some watercolors on a canvas and calling it a day. Thanks for sharing, would have never thought of this myself.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Express 10. These are 11 x 13 I think.. they were on sale at Hobby Lobby.. 2 for $7.99. They are a great deal because they have the wood frame in them and not a cardboard frame.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Wow, Tammy never heard of this kind of art. I will try it.

      Many votes my friend. You are a talented soul and I am so lucky to have met you...thank you!!

      Voted up and sharing across

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much Ruchira. This is fun and could really be a great craft, especially for someone with painting and drawing skill. Thanks so much for reading and sharing. You are one of the kindest Hubbers I have met!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is a great idea! I think maybe I can even manage it with all your helpful instructions. I love lights and what they do for nighttime décor. Voted up and shared!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for stopping by Vespawoolf. This is an easy project for anyone. I made it and I have NO painting skills. I hope you will give it a try!

    • TycoonSam profile image

      TycoonSam 4 years ago from Washington, MI

      This is great Tammy! My daughters mess around with canvas painting all the time. I will pass this on to them!

      Voted up and useful

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I hope they enjoy this craft Tycoon Sam. If someone had some painting skills, these could be some really nice, high end gifts. I appreciate your visit.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      A smart & unique craft idea! Your tutorial is direct and detailed with helpful step by step photos. The end result is wonderful. Made me want to try this. Way to go!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up, pinned & shared both on HubPages & Facebook

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Wow, Tammy, this is such a marvelous idea for adding to the walls or for giving as a unique gift. You are really great at giving step by step How-to details. This is a great, well done hub. I think someone with no talent or creativity at all could do this.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much ishwaryaa! I appreciate your visit and your kind comment!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much Cyndi10. This is fun and easy for anyone. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Urban Accents profile image

      Benjamin 4 years ago from New York, New York

      This would actually work perfectly on the blank room divider canvas screens I feature on my website: UrbanAccentsNY.com. You can remove the hinges and mount the panels to the wall or use it as a portable folding mural. I would love to link to your site.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I think that would be something that readers and crafters would enjoy. Send me the link and I will add it. :)

    • Urban Accents profile image

      Benjamin 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Thanks Tammy, here's the link: http://UrbanAccentsNY.com

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Gosh Urban Accents, those are just gorgeous. Added!

    • celeste inscribed profile image

      Celeste Wilson 4 years ago

      I am a craft addict and love new, interesting and unusual ideas. Voted up and beautiful. Thank you.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much celeste inscribed!

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 3 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      My wife will love this, she's one of the most creative people I know. Now you've gone and done this, she's going to have to read it and glean some ideas off of you! The picture was absolutely gorgeous and bravo on the great job Tammy! You have quite the talent there and please continue to rock your creativity more as time goes on. I haven't seen you write too many hubs in a long time, taking a break? Voting this up and sharing!

    • Aplethora23 profile image

      AngPow 3 years ago from North Cali

      Up Vote for sure and an A+ for creativity! First thing I thought of when your instructions said to poke holes for the lights was the little Brite - Lite thing I used to have when I was a youngen. I loved that thing but I love this idea way more!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading and commenting Kasman. I have gone back to the world of full time work so I am not on Hubpages as much any more. I appreciate your visit!

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