As you may recall from my Valentine’s Day mantel, I made my own bunting (tutorial here) and “love” art. As promised, here is how I created the “love” art plaque!

Here it is sitting pretty on my Valentine’s Day mantel.
The first step was to get a board. My dad has a workshop in his basement so I asked if he had any MDF or plywood scraps kicking around. I gave him a general idea of the proportions I was hoping for and what he found for me was an 11.75″ x 22″ MDF board. Thanks Dad!
I began by priming my board. I was using acrylic paint which is pretty resilient but I still wanted to prime it first to be safe. Priming gets your surface ready for the paint you are using – protecting from any ‘bleed through’ coming off the board as well as allowing your paints to go down smoothly and work to their best ability. Don’t forget to do the edges too! I actually did the back as well since it was going to be propped up against a mirror.
Here is the primer I used. I had it (and the brushes and paint) on hand from when I did a portrait of my little guy Chace.
After the primer had dried, I painted a really loose ‘border’ in a teal shade. This will make sense below.
Once that had dried, I went over the whole canvas with white paint. I even painted over my teal border but here I allowed some of the teal to ‘peek’ through. I painted the white paint loosely here and even did a bit of dry brushing. ‘Dry brushing’ is where you don’t have much paint on your brush so that when you paint it is quite ‘dry’ and does not lay down uniformly.
The reason I painted the white over the teal is so that I could created a soft layered effect. As you can see above, the edges are quite defined if you paint the teal on top of the white. I’m all about the layas people!
The next thing I did was print the word ‘love’ out on a laser printer using vinyl adhesive stock. The font I used is called “Lavanderia”. You can download it for free here!
Here is how it looked when I printed it. I didn’t like the flourish at the end of the letter ‘e’ (it sort of made it look like a written letter ‘s’) so I let that run off the page.
Then I cut the word out using scissors and an exacto blade. I didn’t get too hung up on being perfect as I knew this was the sort of art that would generally be viewed from a distance.
From there I simply peeled off the back and stuck it down. I placed it in the top third of the board and at an angle (just because I thought it looked the best there for the look I had in mind).
Next was the really fun part… painting! I painted right over the adhesive word using varying shades of pink. To do this I simply squirted some red and white paint on to my palette and mixed and painted as I went along. I kept it nice and free. You’ll also notice that I was careful not to cover up the bits of teal peeking through. I did in a few spots, but left quite a few as they were from the earlier step.
Once I had the board filled with shades of red, pink and white (and teal) I started adding in a few other hints of colour – such as bits of yellow and a bit more teal…
Once I was happy with the colouring I started peeling off the black ‘love’ word BEFORE my paint dried. The adhesive word did not come off in one big piece so expect to have to pick it off in stages. I used the tip of a knife to get under the sticker.
There were a few spots were the paint had seeped under…
But I simply waited for the paint to dry and then retouched those spots up with a small brush and some white paint.
Once it was all dry it was ready for display!
Here are a few close ups of some of the painted areas. You can see how I layered in teal and yellow a bit better here…
And a good example of the ‘dry brushing’ effect I mentioned earlier.
And there she has it! One easy DIY Valentine’s Day art for you. What I like about this type of art is the options are limitless. Imagine this at Christmas with the word ‘merry’ in shades of gold and silver or even something fun like ‘hunt’ in pastel hues for an Easter egg hunt. Or ‘BOO’ in black and orange for Halloween!
But today we focus on love. And with that I wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day.
Let’s stay connected!