Crafty Mama: Show your love with an easy painted canvas

By Sarah E. White

Many of the moms I know are crafty but wish they had more time for the crafts they enjoy. While I can’t give any of us more hours in the day, I do have some ideas for crafts that are easy, accessible, cute and quick.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many of our homes are filling up with hearts of pink and red. A more sophisticated Valentine is this painted heart canvas made with, of all things, white glue, and which requires no painting skill at all.

The steps take very little time but there is a lot of drying involved, so plan to do this one with your pockets of time over a couple of days.


  • One artist canvas, 8×10 or size of your choice
  • White glue in a squeeze bottle
  • Red paint (I used plain washable poster paint for the main sample and some fancier acrylic for the variations shown below)
  • Paintbrush (mine was labeled a “tempura brush,” but any paintbrush you have handy will do)
  • Newspaper and a paper plate

How to Do It

  1. Cover your workspace with newspaper and lay out your canvas.
  2. Using glue, draw a heart shape (or whatever shape or words you like!).
  3. Allow to dry, then add another layer. The glue needs to be pretty thick. You can wait just a few hours between glue applications, but let the piece dry overnight before painting.
  4. If using paint in a squeeze bottle, put some on the plate to work with. Coat the whole canvas with paint. I tried to brush straight up and down so you don’t really notice the strokes.
  5. Allow to dry and repeat as desired.
  6. To fancy mine up a bit, I added another plain heart to the side of the bigger heart, a heart that I filled in with glue inside the big heart and the word Love written in blocky letters on the other side of the heart.
  7. You could leave the canvas just like that, or add more red paint.
  8. Or add a layer of another color. I used purple, and I really like the grungy look of the red coming through the purple. It makes it look instantly old, and not quite so Valentine’s, so you can use it all year long (see below).
  9. Give the canvas as a gift, install on the mantle, hang on a wall or display in any other way you like.

Variations and Options

  • I tried this project with more expensive acrylic paint on smaller canvases, with mixed results. The paint was so thick it made it hard to see the design.
  • Other things you might try include drawing concentric hearts, adding your initials to the heart (maybe in paint instead of using the glue?) or drawing something else instead of or in addition to the heart.
  • And if you feel you have so little artistic skill (or are such a perfectionist) that you don’t want to freehand a heart, try tracing a cookie cutter or finding a heart shape online you can cut out and trace. After you cover the markings with glue and paint you won’t be able to see them, and you’ll have a perfect heart to spread the holiday love.

Hat tip to Megan at Questionable Logic  for the idea behind this craft. You can find a simple heart to cut out at’s Family Crafts site .

Sarah E. White is a Fayetteville-based freelance writer, editor, crafter, wife and mom of a 2-year-old. She’s the Guide to Knitting for and shares her crafty exploits at Our Daily Craft.

P.S. — The mamas were so excited about Sarah’s craft idea, they decided to make their own! Below, see Shannon’s rose canvas (embellished with white craft ribbon) and her daughter’s ladybug canvas (using an oval canvas and pipe cleaners).