DIY: How to Make Your Own Ampersand Art

Want to make your own (easy!) art for your walls? Here’s a quick tutorial on making fancy-looking artwork with a few easy steps, and on a super affordable budget too!

Updated on June 06, 2017 0:06 am

Camille Besinga


Materials you will need:

• Painter’s canvas, your preferred size

• Acrylic paint (or spray paint), your preferred colours

• Thumb tacks

• Pencil, chalk, eraser

• Clear, acrylic sealer

• Cutter

• Paint brushes, mixing palette, palette knife (optional)

• Ruler

• Styropor or cork

Important: Before beginning this project, make sure you pick a spot that has good air circulation. Cover up surfaces with newspaper or other material to protect them from dripping paint.

1. Measure the width and length of the frame at the back of the painter’s canvas. Then use these dimensions to cut out the Styropor or cork. This backing material will keep the thumb tacks from moving or falling off as you go along. Place the Styropor into the back of the canvas and make sure the snug is fit.

2. Pick your preferred background colour and mix the required paints on the mixing palette with a palette knife. Dip the tip of your paint brush on to the paint and apply onto the canvas. Since acrylic paint dries very quickly, spread the paint evenly onto the canvas, and make sure there are no bubbles and lumps. Let the paint cure for at least 24 hours.

3. You may choose to hand-draw your chosen ampersand onto the canvas, or pick one out from online. Using your preferred program (we used Adobe InDesign), measure your ampersand to fit the size of your canvas, and print it out on copy paper to serve as your guide. It’s important to note that the paper should be thin enough that you see the outline of the ampersand from the back of the paper.

4. Flip over the printed guide, and with a chalk, outline the ampersand. Then with the right side up, place the guide over your canvas. To ensure that your guide doesn’t move, tape the sides of the guide on the canvas using masking tape. Using the tip of a retracted pen, press on the outline of the ampersand. This will enable the chalk at the back of the guide to transfer onto your canvas, and provide your guide for placing the thumb tacks.

5. When the transfer is finished, form your ampersand first by placing thumb tacks on the outline. Then fill in the rest of the space within this outline with thumb tacks, making sure that there are no spaces in between each tack. When placing tacks on the edges of the canvas or frame, you may use a hammer to drive the tacks further into the wood.

6. When you’re done, wipe down the thumb-tacked ampersand with a clean, dry cloth. Then spray over with a protective sealer like Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer. Let dry a couple hours.

All photos by Camille Besinga


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