Painting Needlepoint Canvases

I picked up a hobby this weekend, and it totally consumed my past 48 hours. It's fun, relaxing, and it's something to do during quarantine. I've been getting some questions related to painting so I wanted to share how I started and how you can too!

First things first, you need some supplies. Most everything you can get on Amazon, Etsy or Michael's. Here's what I got:

Blank mesh canvas: I found most were available either from Amazon or Etsy, and it just depends on what size you want. There are a few different mesh sizes (how tight the mesh is) ranging from 10-18. Normally I work with size 18 mesh (for more detailed projects) but I've been playing around with size 13 and 14 and love how much quicker they are! I got a size 13 mesh from Etsy to start.

Brushes: The smaller the better honestly! You want to be precise with painting and I found that my smallest brush is the one I use most, and the next smallest is my second-most used. Needlepoint, and painting, are all about detail. You really want to make sure you're able to create detail. I just ordered one more of each. I love using them that much!

Acrylic Paint: When painting the canvas, you want to use acrylic paint. Idk why, but it's what the professionals use! I got some tubes of paint, but honestly, this little set with a ton of colors does the trick. Not only is it easy, but also mess-free (dip into the pot each time). These are all your basic colors and a perfect buy for a beginner! I also picked up this and this set yesterday to get more color options!

Erasable Pen: This is the only item that has yet to arrive, so I've been using a pencil and permanent marker but I don't suggest either! The marker will give you a major headache and it's just too dark for the canvas and paint. The pencil runs and smudges everywhere. A friend of mine who paints suggested an erasable pen which means that it erases itself after a period of time. Make your mark, but over time it will fade. If you're painting, that's pretty great.

Now that you have your supplies, it's time to paint! Starting is arguably the hardest and most intimidating part, but once you start it only gets easier. I suggest starting with something small like a keychain, ornament, or bookmark. Try to find a free or available pattern online that you can mimic to get a feel for how the process goes. You'll want to pay attention to how letters, objects, and lines are created, which you can do by paying more attention to your current canvases!

I have found three different ways to paint on canvas. The first is to trace your design. Because the mesh is mesh you're able to see through it and lay something underneath to trace over. It's harder than you think to look through at the picture below, but it can be done.

Next, is graphing your stitches out. There's a program called Mac Stitch that people use to map every cross-stitch, but I can't figure it out. It's an older program and not the most user friendly, plus there are no tutorials online. I feel like it would make a world of difference in painting but I can't get any help figuring it out!! 

And finally, you have the option to totally freehand it. I'm trying this now with a Veuve arrow I have in my house and boy is it hard. It's frustrating and for sure the hardest of the bunch, BUT it's still doable. Most designers freehand their canvases, but straight drawing on a mesh canvas with no guide is not for the faint of heart. 

For my first real run at it, I decided to not take the easy road and painted a house lol. It's actually the house we got married in and I want to be able to paint, stitch, and frame it with our vows to hang in the apartment. I've always had this idea but didn't want to spend all the money that it would cost to have it made! No doubt a professional could have painted it better, but it's more special now knowing I painted it.

I WILL say that the house overall was pretty easy! Straight lines are the easiest things to paint and stitch as there is little room for error. But when it comes to diagonals or curved anything, that's where it gets difficult. We'll see how it all turns out when I stitch!

I have a few more fun ideas of things I want to paint, but I now have too many canvases to stitch. I should be working on that instead, but honestly, painting is a little more fun!!! I've been able to connect with Joanna from The Plum Stitchery and she's who really gave me the push to paint. She's amazing, and has been so helpful throughout all of this!! When we were talking, she said that painting is more addicting than needlepointing and I thought, "no way!!" But now here we are.
I'll keep you guys updated going forward! I hope to not only get better, but also help and teach you guys to paint your own canvases. 

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