How to make wall art with paint pens

I stumbled on a half-finished, abandoned canvas in a drawer the other day. Poor thing. I felt sorry for it, so I turned it into a DIY tutorial. If you've got some wall space to fill, here's a way to use transfer paper and paint pens to make your own decorative art.

Paint some abstract stripes on your canvas with acrylic paint. No need to be too careful. Be free!

Choose an image you'd like to reproduce, and size it for your canvas with a photocopier or printer. Tape sheets of paper together if needed. This Victorian ornament is from one of Dover's electronic clip art books. You could also search this vintage clip art library, or draw your own if you're good like that.

Cut a piece of graphic transfer paper to the size of your image. This stuff is found at art stores. Be careful when handling it or your fingers will turn gray. Place the paper graphite side down on the canvas. Place your image on top, face up. Use a few pieces of tape to fix the stack in position.

Then trace over your image with a pencil, being careful not to rest your hand heavily on the paper or you'll end up with unwanted graphite smudges. Remove the papers.

Trace over the transferred lines with a permanent paint marker. I like DecoColor markers, which come in various tip widths and tons of colors. They're available at most art stores. I've used Sharpies before, but they tend to dull and dry up quickly, and it's hard to get even coverage. As you're tracing, keep a blank sheet of paper between your hand and the canvas to avoid smearing the graphite lines. The paint marker will dry almost instantly.

If the paint marker lines look too shiny to you when you're finished, give your painting a coat of clear acrylic gel medium to even out the shine difference between the matte acrylic paint and the shiny marker.
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