Cute Multi-Media Initial Cavas Craft for Kids

This summer my girls and I have been adding little "extras" to their room decor including an art display board my handy husband created, adding 3-D butterflies and flowers to their focus wall, dance photos (finally) in frames and hung, and a shelf each to display their sculptures, pottery, canvases and other special treasures. I am trying to teach my girls to take pride in their room and their creations in the hopes this will entice them to clean their room everyday without having to go into nagging mommy mode. 

To continue with the personalization of their room we created these cute, simple, multi-media initial canvases to put on their shelves. This project not only created a beautiful final "crafty" product but allowed them to explore sponge painting (a favorite paint technique in our house), the use of buttons to create dimension, and working on hot glue gun skills (without burning fingers). 

This craft is simple, fun, inexpensive, and is something your kids will be proud to display. It would also make a great homemade gift to give to a special friend or family member.

What You Need:

  • Canvases
  • 3 colors of acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Foam sponge
  • Scrub sponge
  • Buttons of various sizes
  • Hot glue gun

We purchased all of our supplies at the dollar store, so each canvas only cost approx $6 to create. We still have lots of left over paint and buttons and the sponges can be reused over and over for other projects.

Creating Your Canvas

Start by picking your darkest paint color and paint your entire canvas with a paintbrush to create your background. My girls' room is shades of pinks, purples, and white so we stuck with pink and purple for our canvases.

Once your, canvas has dried use your foam sponge to gently dab on a lighter color to create your first layer of texture on your canvas. We decided to do a lighter version of our background colors, so light pink and purple. One tip when applying the sponge paint is to make sure you don't over saturate your sponge. Just dab on a light layer of paint so all of the holes from the sponge show up on your canvas. 

When the second layer of paint has dried (if your kids are impatient like mine, a blower dryer will do the trick in 1-2 minutes), add you final layer of paint using a scrub sponge. This sponge created a "splatter" effect without the mess of splatter painting (although splatter painting is a great outside summer art activity!).  Again less paint is more for this technique. My girls wanted to incorporate both pink and purple into their canvases so they applied the opposite color to their background. 

Once all layers of paint are dry on your canvas, use a pencil to draw on your child's initial. I just free handed mine, but you could use a stencil is that makes you more comfortable. This will be the guide you use for glue gunning on your buttons. 

I don't have any pictures of the girls using the glue gun, because frankly this step will require your 100% attention to avoid any potential burns. Younger kids like Malia (age 4) may be happiest to help you by picking out the buttons and choosing where they want them applied on the page. Malia put about 3 buttons on herself but decided it was much more fun to find all the buttons she liked best for her canvas. 

Older kids like Bria (age 7) can do much of the glu gunning themselves with supervision and assistance. Bria did many of the larger buttons herself but did ask me to help her with some of the smaller buttons, as she was afraid of being burned. The great thing about using hot glue guns in these kinds of projects is that it dried in seconds and it is strong so it works very well for creating 3D projects. 

I love the way these turned out and so did the girls! They are now proudly displayed in their rooms on their new shelves.