Day 8-DIY Gift- Mini Canvas Painting Set (with only three colors!)

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, five golden rings, four mocking birds, three french hans, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. 

So for day 8 I have another cute Christmas DIY- a mini canvas painting set! This is super simple, only three colors went into this! Everyone knows that paints are crazy expensive, so this is awesome that you only need three colors to make a totally adorable homemade gift.

So before we start I need to cover a few things- I did mine with oil paint because I'm an oil paint kind of girl. If you have never painted with oil paint before and have no idea how I do not recommend going and buying oil paints just for this project and just getting started like that, oil paint requires A LOT of specific materials (some of which are toxic) and you need to do some research before you jump in. I will most likely be doing an oil painting how-to post after the Christmas series, and I can't wait to introduce you to the wonderful world of oils, but until then, hold off on the oil painting unless you know someone who can help you.

And guys, acrylic is awesome, I recommend using that instead of oil paint if you are new to this whole oils thing.

Ok, that's enough of that, let's do this thing! I'm just going to go for this in steps, if you have a question about a specific step or need help with your materials, drop me a comment and I will be sure to help out :)

Step 1:
So first gesso your super cute mini canvases (duh).

Step 2:
Choose a dark blue as your first color. If you need to, you can mix around a little to find the color best suited for you, but I actually just went with the straight tube color (sorry art teachers). I used Phthalo Blue, by Winsor & Newton (love Winsor & Newton, by the way). Using a medium sized filbert brush, apply it evenly to both canvases. You want the base color to be the same for both so that they correspond in the set. Cover the entire canvas with a nice thick coat. You can let some brush strokes show through so that you really get that sky feel, if you catch my meaning.

Step 3:
So now we're going to focus on just one canvas at a time. I'm going to start with the starry clouds one. Using the same filbert brush (but clean it off first), apply some white in the spots you want to be the clouds. Start with a really thin, wispy coat, then work more into the spots you want to look thicker and fluffier. Let your brushstrokes show through a little to emphasize that cloud texture.

Step 4:
Use a very small, thin, round brush to dot in the stars with white. You could make them sparse for a more cloudy night, or abundant to show a clearer night. It's up to the artist. After that, sign your canvas, and you're done with the first one!

Step 5:
Next canvas! Switch back to your filbert. Start by doing the mountains. Straight black from the tube worked great for me. Make them look like mountains- lumpy and irregular.

Step 6:
Time to make a nice gradation. You want to make it so the top is much darker than the space very close to the mountains. Work black into the very top, carefully mixing it with the phthalo blue. Then add a touch of white to the bottom, near the mountaintops, to make it lighter. Add thicker little wisps to mimic clouds.
*Note- the white is not in this picture- I hadn't added it yet.

Step 7:
Almost done! Use your thin brush again to paint in tiny dots for stars and a crescent moon, or you could make it full if you like. Put these up top, in the black part only, not near the mountains, to show that night is just falling, and that twilight has just passed. Sign it, and you're all done!

There it is, two beautiful paintings for a loved one! I hope you enjoyed this DIY, and remember, all questions can be answered, painting is tricky and I will try my very best to help you out, wether it be materials or technique. Thanks guys!


  1. I love these, you're so very talented! I think I have some mini canvases lying around somewhere...


  2. Those are beautiful!