If you’ve been pining after the hand-lettered canvas prints that are so popular right now, but your budget isn’t there for decor, you can do this on the cheap! Go to your nearest thrift store now or go to that closet or attic where you have that old oil painting that is just hanging out waiting for antiques roadshow. If you love the song Come Thou Fount and have been looking for the phrase “Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace” to go over your piano, then I have the DIY for you! If you already have a canvas or old, outdated painting you can use, then this could be a no-cost decor option to brighten your space.
I had one such painting from the office where my mom worked. It was the early 90s and they were remodeling from their 70s blue and gold apparently. My mom bought this for my room, thinking it somehow went with my dusty mauve romantic rose wall paper border and bedspread, I guess.
It went with me after I got married and I have carried it from house to house for the better part of 20 years. When we went to move I finally decided to make it over. At first I was going to paint a rustic American flag on it, but decided I didn’t have the time or patience to paint it with straight lines or stars, and I didn’t want something hanging on my walls that I was unhappy with.
I decided to scrap that project as we were moving and ran out of time for cute new house projects, as I was busy painting kitchen cabinets.
During the move (about three streets away), I managed to rip the canvas in the back of my big van. I was still not entirely hopeless about the remake of this canvas. Even though it was painted white, with some navy blue background and white stars painted on it. Instead of finishing it, I stuck it on a shelf in the garage, with the frame still taped off with masking tape.
I finally decided after seeing a sign with a phrase from the hymn Come Thou Fount, that I needed this sign in my life, but bigger, in a landscape orientation, and just the part about tuning my heart.
I had originally planned to buy the sign for my family room, but the orientation of the sign was wrong. Then the other day I realized I could turn my shelved painting into the trendy farmhouse style hand lettered canvas I wanted, exactly how I wanted it.
I searched Pinterest for some hand lettered signs with this phrase for some inspiration, and came up with this one.
I really wanted to make it my own, but I liked the fun musical notes in this one and the branches. Then I knew it would be the perfect piece to go above my piano. Tune my heart to sing thy grace is pretty much the perfect phrase to go there.
First I started with duct tape, er, canvas repair. I pretty much just duct taped the back together where the torn canvas was. Done. Then I painted over my pathetic attempt at the American flag. I used some flat white paint + primer from Walmart. I brushed on a couple of coats and I was ready to hand letter after it dried. I lightly sketched out where I wanted the letters to go first, then I attempted to use a chalk paint marker, which I think quit working before I even finished the first line.
I went ahead and switched over to a good old paint brush and acrylic paint. An easy way to make hand lettering work for you is to remember light pressure on the upstroke and heavy pressure on the downstroke. I messed this up on the r in the word heart. Oops. No biggie, right? Onward. I worked from right to left and top to bottom, because I am left-handed, and experience has taught me to prevent smudges on my work and myself by moving in this direction. I had a mirror over my piano, because the room is kind of dark and only has a small corner window. I placed the mirror there to reflect light and make the room brighter. I moved the mirror over to the darkest wall and put the painting on top of the piano.
Wow! It brightened the room and made it feel twice as big. It was so much more inviting. It also inspired me to finally reconnect the sustaining pedals on the piano, which had been bumped in the move and had fallen out of place.
This piano is over 100 years old and only has sentimental value, but I think we are quite sentimental about it. This DIY project was pretty easy as far as time goes, and literally zero investment for me, since I had supplies on hand, and it gave my living room more of a wow factor.
It took just a few hours to complete including dry time (I live in a dry climate). Maybe 30 minutes of actual labor. If you can score an old canvas at your local thrift store, give this a try. It’s an easy DIY project that is fairly forgiving, because you can always paint over your mistakes! Do you have old artwork you can update in to this trendy new art style? Give it a try and let me know how it turns out. Turning what you have into enough is the Divine Art of Homemaking!
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