Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nautical Canvas

As part of the "artist in residence" program I'm currently conducting each class is completing a canvas piece.

This is the Grade 2 project.  They are currently studying water, learning about buoyancy, why boats float, types of boats, etc.


- pre primed canvas, I buy the Michael's Value 10 packs when on sale, you can also use cardboard
- drywall compound, I bought a large bucket for $20 and the whole school has used it
- spatulas, old gift cards, plastic knives, or even rectangles of cardboard for spreading
- wax paper
- cardboard scraps
- scissors
- paint
- Aleene's Tacky glue or a glue gun (to be used by an adult)
- string
- colored tape
- Mod podge for sealing, optional

Take the cardboard scraps and cut out a hull (boat) shape.  Depending on the style of boat you are making you can add sails, cabins, exhaust pipes, paddle wheels, etc.

Place on top of your canvas or cardboard to make sure it fits.

Set shapes aside for now.

Take a little bit of drywall compound and put on a recycled plate. Place your canvas on top of wax paper.

Spread the compound on the bottom 3rd of the canvas making wave patterns.

Set aside to dry.

Take the remaining compound and spread a layer on top of your shapes.

Using a skewer or toothpick you can etch in some designs for your boat.

Leave shapes to dry.

When the drywall compound has dried (about 6 hrs or so) you can start painting your pieces.

Paint your canvas background. 

Then paint your boat shapes.

Add details.

When the canvas and the boat pieces are dry glue into place with either Tacky glue or a glue gun.

You can add some string for rigging.  Just glue into place tucking the ends under the boat shapes.

Add little flags with colored tape.

Finally you can seal the whole thing with some Mod Podge for a nice shiny coat.

I hope to show you some student results shortly.

 That's it.

See you soon.


  1. Wow! Gorgeous! Love the texture :)Will these be displayed in the school somewhere?

  2. I just want you to know that I steal (borrow) all your ideas lol! You're brilliant.

    I also nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award:

    God bless!

  3. What did you use to spread the drywall compound onto the canvas to make the waves? I love this idea!!!cant wait to do it.