How to Paint Exterior Canvas


Art is a beautiful addition to the inside of a home or business, but it can also be an unexpected element on the outside. Outside canvas paintings are not only found at artist’s colonies but can also be displayed on your own property. While there are many places that sell exterior canvas artworks, these types of paintings can be easily created by artists with little or no painting experience.

Things You'll Need

  • Canvas
  • Exterior-grade acrylic paint
  • Image
  • Pencil
  • Paint brushes
  • Paper towels
  • Cup
  • Water
  • UV-protective canvas spray
  • Waterproof sealing spray
  • Soft cloth
  • Select a canvas that has been stretched over hard wood and is attached to the wood with galvanized staples. This will prevent the structural decay of the canvas from its exposure to the elements.

  • Paint the surface with white acrylic paint. This foundational layer is important to help the paint to adhere to the canvas. Make sure that this layer covers the entire surface and is smooth.

  • Select an image to reproduce or create an original image. Since this painting will be displayed outdoors select images that are commonly found outside. Flowers, barns, forests and rivers are all appropriate choices.

  • Lightly sketch the image directly onto the canvas. Paint the background images first and work your way into the foreground. Work fast, because acrylic paint dries quickly. Always paint the general shape of an element and then add the detail. Painting dark colors first and then adding the lighter colors over the top helps to give the painting added dimension and depth. Allow the painting to dry thoroughly.

  • Place the canvas onto a flat surface. Spray the painting with a UV-protective canvas spray. Use slow even strokes. Make sure to keep the can at least 18 inches from the painting to prevent the pooling of the UV spray. Allow the UV spray to dry completely.

  • Carefully turn the painting over. Lay the canvas onto a soft cloth so that the painting will not be disturbed. Spray the backside of the canvas with the waterproofing spray. Allow the waterproofing spray to dry thoroughly.

  • Turn the painting over and spray the front side of the artwork with the waterproofing spray. Make sure you use smooth even strokes so that the spray will not damage your painting. Allow the painting to dry completely before displaying it outside.

Tips & Warnings

  • Outdoor canvases can be displayed on the sides of houses or barns. They also look nice in garden areas, sun rooms and outdoor kitchens. They can even be displayed as welcome signs by the front door.
  • To make a space even more attractive, add containers of flowers to the area where the painting is displayed. If possible, use flowers or elements that are portrayed in the painting.
  • Always use paints, UV spray and waterproofing spray in a well-ventilated area.

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