"Better to Be Strong" Mixed Media Canvas

"Better to Be Strong" Mixed Media Canvas

Posted by DecoArt on May 28th 2014

Mixed media and decoupage combine on this strongly creative mixed media canvas.


    • water container
    • paper towels
    • tracing paper
    • transfer paper
    • scissors
    • ruler
    • pencil
    • #3 round brush
    • 1" chip brush
    • 1" flat brush
    • #2 liner brush
    • 1/2" flat brush
    • palette knife or craft stick
    • cosmetic sponge
    • assorted scrapbook paper
    • letter stamps
    • 18" x 24" canvas
    • black and white photographs of strong men and elephant
    • white paper



    Let dry completely between painting steps.

    1. Gather scrapbook papers and rip them into pieces approximately 3" x 5". (Some can be bigger or smaller.) Decoupage the pieces down using Americana Matte Decou-Page and the 1" flat brush. (For the bigger pieces, wet the paper so you don't get bubbles or creases.) Don't completely cover the canvas but put on about 10 pieces of scrapbook paper. (Some can wrap around the edge of the canvas.)
    2. Use the Kaleidoscope Accent Stencil, the palette knife, and White Modeling Paste to make some three dimensional stencils randomly on the canvas. (Don't put the dimensional stencils where any of the words, flags, or photos will be. Make about 10 stencils.)
    3. Using the 1" flat brush, cover the canvas and the stencils in a wash of English Red Oxide. While the paint is still wet, dip the wet brush in Titanium White and paint random areas of the canvas. Do the same with Cobalt Teal. (This will create a multicolored wash effect. Make sure you don't get too opaque; you want to be able to see some of the scrapbook paper showing through.)
    4. While the canvas is still wet, dip the 1" flat brush in Burnt Sienna and paint around the edge of the front of the canvas so the edge is darker than the center. Also paint around the sides of the canvas.
    5. Load a small amount of Gold Metallic onto the palette knife and scrape it randomly around the edge of the front of the canvas. Continue to scrape the paint until you get the desired effect. (You can rub with your finger on areas that are too bold.) Do the same with Cobalt Teal. Mix (1) part Cobalt Teal with (1) part Titanium White and continue with the palette knife. (Save this mixture for a later step.)
    6. Using the Kaleidoscope Accent stencil and the cosmetic sponge, place stencils around the canvas randomly of different sizes with Burnt Sienna and the Cobalt Teal/Titanium White mix from previous step. (Use very little paint on the sponge to keep the stencils soft. I did about nine stencils.)
    7. Print out an old black and white photo from the Internet. (I chose a strong man from the circus. The photo should be approximately 16" inches tall. Don't worry if the photo looks soft when you enlarge it that much; that adds an interesting effect.) Print out another 2-1/4" tall strong man for his shoulder and an elephant that is approximately 2" tall by 2-1/2" wide.
    8. Stamp the saying you want onto white paper using the letter stamps. (If the letters are smaller than 1", enlarge them to 1".) Print the enlarged letters onto some of the scrapbook paper by placing copies of scrapbook paper in the paper tray of a photocopier. (Make sure the paper is light and not too patterned so the letters show up.) Cut out each word.
    9. Decoupage down the large strong man with the 1" flat brush and Matte Decou-Page. (Refer to photo for placement.) Be sure to wet the paper to avoid bubbles and creases. Make him fade off of the bottom and the right side of the canvas. (Take your time and glue down a little at a time while smoothing the paper with the 1" brush.) Apply the tiny strong man with the #3 round brush and Matte Decou-Page.
    10. Apply the words with the 1/2" flat brush. Apply the elephant. (Refer to photo for placement.)
    11. Cut triangle shapes out of bold scrapbook paper to make the banners. The triangles should be 2-1/2" wide by 3" long. Cut out seven.
    12. Decoupage them down with Matte Decou-Page and the 1/2" flat brush.
    13. Using the tracing and transfer papers, make a pattern for the strong man's clothes. Cut the clothes out of scrapbook paper. Stencil on the clothes with Burnt Sienna, Titan Buff, and the Gears & Cogs Stencil. Decoupage the clothes down with the 1" flat brush and Matte Decou-Page.
    14. Using the #3 round brush, add accents to the painting: Make a watered-down version of Cobalt Teal and shade the elephant, some of the words, the strong man, and the tiny strong man. Do the same with a watered-down version of Burnt Sienna. Add a tiny bit of Cadmium Red Hue to Titanium White and barely load the #3 round brush to add a blush to the strongman's nose, cheeks, ears, and chin.
    15. With the #2 liner brush, draw little dots, dashes, swirls, and circles randomly around the canvas for interest. Outline the words, banner, and photos. Draw some circles and swirls with the Cobalt Teal/Titanium White mix from step 5. Smudge the lines with your finger to create a shadow effect.
    16. Cover the strong man with tracing paper and dip the 1" chip brush in watered-down Burnt Sienna. Flick the brush bristles with your thumb to spray tiny droplets on the canvas. (Practice this first on a piece of scrap paper.)