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5 Low-Budget Painting Projects to do Right Now

Raise your hand if you have some paint lying around. Many of us have paint that just sits in a cabinet tucked away, never to be seen. Go take those paints out! You’re about to have a great day because I’m going to share 5 low-budget art projects with things you may just have around your house. If you don’t have, I’ll also give some tips on how to easily acquire these materials!

1. Mid Century Modern Decor

What you need:

  • Vase, pitcher, or bottle you have around the house
  • Acrylic paint (white + any other color)
  • Baking soda
  • Paint brush
  • Mixing container
  • Newspaper 
  • Water container

Steps:

  1. Find an old vase or pitcher. This can even be a recycled can or glass bottle from wine, marinara sauce, you get the idea. 
  2. Gather the rest of your materials: Acrylic paint (any color) and white if you have, a mixing container (I use a red solo for mixing), a paint brush (larger size if possible), and baking soda.
  3. Mix paint and baking soda in the mixing cup. Depending on the size of your container, mix about ¼ cup paint and 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda. I provided amounts for those of you who need that but otherwise, play around and find a consistency you like. The more baking soda you add, the more chalky and textured the paint will become. Mix well!
  4. Paint! If you have a container that is wildly different than the color you’re painting, I recommend painting a layer of white first and then the mixture on top. Also, if you happen to have primer laying around, feel free to add first but this will work without it! Use a back and forth motion to fill in all the spots. I like earthy tones for this decor. I usually make a rust-red or terracotta color by mixing white, yellow, brown, red, and a tiny smidge of blue. Depending on which colors you have, you can mix lots of colors together to get brown and add as much white as you want to make the color lighter. Sage green (green + white) looks nice too. Be creative and see what colors will match your style.
  5. Let dry on newspaper
  6. Let dry and fa-la, you have decor! Feel free to put in some nice flowers or something fun to spice up your house!

2. Paint Over Wall Art

(Before - Framed art from Homegoods)
(After)
(Before - Found on side of street in Brooklyn)
(After)
(Another example - also found at side of street in Brooklyn)

What you need:

  • Cheap, already framed art (your attic, facebook marketplace, craigslist, Brooklyn streets, Homegoods)
  • Acrylic paint (white + other colors)
  • Paint brush
  • Mixing container

Steps:

This one does require a little planning. Go on a thrifting journey or to Homegoods. I live in NYC and find nearby neighbors giving away framed art frequently on the facebook group, BuyNothing. I’ve also found frames on the streets. One of my favorite painted-over art was one found in Homegoods for $16. If anything, Michaels has canvases you can get for very cheap. They’re usually on sale.

  1. Find old framed art or new cheap canvas
  2. Paint over the art white as a primer
  3. Then, paint over with a simple design or eccentric one! Have fun with it
  4. If you want and happen to have, you can spray a gloss over or varnish but it’s not necessary. I haven’t with mine…
  5. Hang up your new art! Now you have art you actually like and it’s more special because you made it. Plus, it’s already framed!

3. Make-over a Terracotta Planter

(I did not paint this. I bought it from Etsy and cannot find the person to give credit to!!!)
(From the Clever Poppy - check out her blog too!)

 

What you need:

  • Terracotta Planter, any size (can find at a local plant shop or online)
  • Acrylic paint 
  • Paint brush
  • Mixing container

Steps:

  1. If you’d like, you can sketch out a design first. Then, just start painting!
  2. Let dry on newspaper
  3. Now, you have a beautiful planter for your plants!

Tip: The scariest part of painting is starting. The most relieving part of painting is the fact you can paint over. You can always paint over if you don’t like it!

Ideas: Here are a few ideas I’ve found that I love. I’ve even purchased painted terracotta planters off Etsy because I love how they look! Simple rainbows look great as do mountains, terrazzo splatters, organic shapes. If you want to make a paint splatter, make sure you have newspaper down. Don’t use water - just lightly dab the brush in paint and fling the paint from a little distance onto the planter.

4. Repurpose Frames

(This picture is from A Cup of Joe and you can see her blog about framing wrapping paper here!)

What you need:

  • Any frame with a clear acrylic or glass board you have or get for cheap at a thrift store 
  • Option 1: Acrylic Paint / Sharpie 
  • Option 2: Wrapping paper
  • Option 3: Dried flowers / paper
  • Paint brush
  • Mixing container
  • Things you have around the house...

Steps:

    1. Find a frame you aren’t using.
    2. Take out the acrylic or glass board
    3. Paint the border of the frame (if you’re changing the color of the border drastically, paint it white first. Let dry and then the new color).

    Option 1: 

    • Take the clear board and paint directly on that. Can be modern large blocks of color, a vase with flowers, or anything! Just know what you paint will turn backwards soon. Let dry.
    • Flip the clear board and draw on the opposite side with sharpie or more paint if you prefer for definition and detail. This is when you can define the petals of the flower or add more shapes, for example.

    Option 2:

    • Get pretty gift wrap you have around. Maybe you have a cool pattern! Cut out slightly larger than the clear board. Tape the wrapping paper inside to keep it flat in the frame.

    Option 3: 

    • If you have any dried flowers, press them against printer paper and stick that in a frame! You can frame just about anything that’s flat. Be creative!
    • Put the backing on and yay, a new framed piece of art ready to hang. Hopefully this one matches your style more than what it used to be!

    5. Shelf Update: Book Glow-up

    (This picture is from the Stone Gable Blog)

    Here's a youtube video to make these really trendy books!

    What you need:

    • Old books
    • Acrylic paint
    • String/yarn (optional)

    Steps:

    1. Grab some books laying around that you don’t read and that don’t look great on the shelf as is. 
    2. Go ahead and paint over the cover! Maybe you’ll go for a simple white or add a design.
    3. Paint the edge of the book too.
    4. Use some string or yarn to tie a few books together for home decor

    Have so much fun creating and I can't wait to hear about what you were able to find around the house. Enjoy! Feel free to reach out to karaglassartwork at gmail.com or DM me on Instagram @kara_artwork to show me what you've created or ask any questions!

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