DIY Nursery Ideas: Wall Art

DIY Nursery ArtIts tough to find decor for a nursery, especially when you don’t select a typical theme. Our nursery theme is a bit eclectic; grey, ivory and teal/blue, chevron stripes, and elephants. It sounds a bit disconnected, but it is coming together nicely.  The problem is finding decor that works with our theme. This is why I am constantly looking for DIY nursery ideas, so that I can find items that work well with what we have.

I have seen some really adorable paintings and posters on Pinterest and Etsy, but nothing that I fell in love with. I did, however, find some inspiration pieces that I have used to create my own DIY nursery decor. Here are the steps I followed to make these adorable paintings.

Make Your Own 

DIY Wall Art SuppliesSupplies

  • 4 Canvases (I used 11×14)
  • Acrylic Paint (I used Folk Art Acrylic Paints in #481 Aqua, #320 Jamaican Sea, #708 Dove Gray, #427 Ivory White)
  • An assortment of Paint Brushes
  • Painters Tape (I used 3M’s .70″ tape)
  • A box of toothpicks


To begin, I painted each canvas in a base color. The canvases that would feature writing were painted Dove Gray, and those that would feature stripes and elephants were painted Ivory White.  I applied two coats to each, for an even finish.

While those were drying, I started designing the wording. I used Microsoft Word to design my lettering. Two of the canvases will feature the words to “You Are My Sunshine.”  Since my canvases are 11X14, I set up my page using landscape parameters, so my letters will stretch across the canvas perfectly. Here is the document I created (You Are My Sunshine Lettering). I used the free fonts Hipsterish and Archistico.

Once I was happy with my lettering layout, I printed it out on plain printer paper. Don’t use anything heavy, because you will need to be able to see through it!

Transferring Lettering to Canvas

Transferring Letters to CanvasTo begin, I flipped my printout over. I traced the letters carefully with a soft lead pencil. Don’t be afraid to make the lines heavy and dark. This will be helpful later on.

Transferring lettering to canvas Part 2I positioned the words on my gray canvas. Once I was happy with the positioning, I used some of the painters tape to tape it into place (printed side up). Then, I took a pencil, and I traced over each of the letters firmly, to transfer the image onto the canvas.

Once I transferred all of the words, it was time to paint over them using the Aqua paint. This is where it became tricky. Some of these lines are VERY thin. For these, I used a toothpick. Yes, it was tedious, but it created very clean lines.  For the the thicker letters, I had to resort to my makeup tools, as none of the brushes I had purchased were firm enough. I found that a lipliner brush was the most effective tool for painting the letters. Now it was time to move on to the other two canvases.

Painting Chevron Stripes 

Painting Chevron Stripes on a CanvasThis was the most difficult aspect of this project. Check out this website for directions on laying out your chevron pattern. It took me a few tries, but I figured it out (kind of).  Once I taped off my pattern,  and removed the necessary pieces of tape to create the chevron pattern, I made sure to firmly press the tape to the canvas again, to make sure that no paint would leak beneath it. Then, I used a small sponge brush to apply the Dove Gray paint in between the tape. It took two coats to achieve the color I was looking for.

While the paint was still somewhat wet, I removed the tape. I repeated this same pattern on the second ivory white canvas.

Adding the Elephants

I chose to use elephants for these paintings. To begin, I searched the internet for free elephant clip art, and I found this adorable image that would work perfectly for this project.  I copied it into a word document, with a landscape layout, and resized it so that it would fit well on the canvas.

I then printed the elephant image, and carefully cut it out. I used this cut-out as a template, positioning it on the chevron painted canvas, and carefully tracing around it.  I used a thin brush to go over the outline with the Aqua paint. Then, I used a wider foam brush to fill the image in completely. It took two coats to achieve the coverage I was looking for.

Painting an ElephantOnce the elephants were dry, I used the ears from the elephant image, and carefully traced them onto the canvas.  I used the Jamaican Sea paint to fill in the ears. Here again, I used two coats. While I was at it, I used the Dove Gray to add eyes and toenails as well.

I repeated this entire process on the other chevron striped canvas as well, with the elephant pointing in the opposite direction.

And, there you have it. While this was a time consuming project, I am incredibly happy with the way these paintings came together. And, DIY nursery projects like these are filled with so much more love than anything purchased from a store.  I can’t wait to hang these up in our little man’s nursery.

DIY Nursery Art

What types of DIY Nursery Ideas do you have? I would love to see what you have created!


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About Me

Hi! I am Amy, the creator of RunawayTeacher. I am a mom to two boys, and I married to my best friend. I love mom life, crafting, and blogging. Read More.

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