The Art of Improvisation

I spent my Sunday covered in paint and ready to give up on this blog post.

Though it was a trying evening, I learned a few important lessons and created an awesome piece of wall art in the process.

This blog is as much about finding inexpensive ways to shop for clothes and other goodies and trying out interesting ways to decorate my tiny bedroom, as it is about trial and error. This weekend I saw more of the error part of that mission than anything else.

The idea for this week’s project began innocently enough with the usual perusal through Google in search of interesting DIY ideas on which I could put a personal spin. Friday evening, I made the rounds through the local Goodwill in search of used canvases of varying sizes, followed by a trip to Walmart where I procured the supplies necessary for my crafting endeavor.

After seeing an online tutorial by Sarah Hearts, I had my sights set on creating a piece of wall art with cheap, used canvases on which I would spell out the text of a section of a Shane Koyczan poem and paint over.


The first canvas, which reads “WE HUNGRY UNDERDOGS” came out nearly perfect. There were a few small splotches, but nothing anyone would notice from its perch above my bed. With one success under my belt, I began work on the second canvas, which reads “WE RISERS WITH DAWN.”

This is where everything went horribly wrong. When I peeled off the stickers when the paint seemed dry enough, the letters wouldn’t come off without tearing bits of the paint. After going through the painstaking process of slowly peeling each letter off centimeter by centimeter in an attempt to salvage my hard work, I applied painter’s tape and tried to clean up the torn edges of the letters.


This first impromptu attempt at fixing things took the canvas from bad to worse. Rather than simply tearing the letters’ edges like the stickers did, the tape actually tore off entire chunks of the paint. I spent the next hour or so slowly but surely trying to free-hand apply the paint to fill the spaces. While I never did figure out what made that second canvas go so wrong, I learned DIY decorating is all about innovation. If at first you don’t succeed, paint it another way.

It took longer than planned, but, ultimately I came out with a great product to fill the barren space above my bed.


Here are the purchases:

Three canvases of varying sizes – $6.99; $4.99; $2.99

Acrylic paint – $7.79 (the price of the additional package I purchased at Walmart, to go with what I already had available)

A package of three brushes, which I’ll be able to use again – $3.99

Three packages of letters, which I painted over to make the canvas’ existing picture show through underneath – $1.99 each

A role of blue painters tape, which I already had on hand

If anyone out there in Internet land has any ideas as to what exactly did go wrong and how I can avoid it in the future, I’d love the insight. Feel free to comment below.


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