DIY Birds on a Wire Canvas

I am going to start right out here by admitting that this is the first canvas I have painted. Ever. I am not a painter! So be gentle with me. That being said, I loved how my birds on a wire canvas turned out- and if I can do this, guess what? YOU CAN TOO.

Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-1Supplies needed to make your own birds on a wire canvas art:supply2

Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-3You will notice in my “supplies” photo, I included gesso. Normally you need to prep your canvas for painting. My canvas came pre-treated. I did not need to prep it with anything, and it took paint wonderfully. Check and see if your canvas is treated. If not, you will need to coat it with gesso before painting.

Begin your birds on a wire canvas by painting the edges with red paint. You do not need to take care when doing this. Just slop it on there!

Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-2While the paint it still wet, you can begin painting the blue. Take the brush strokes from the canvas and downward into the red. The paint will begin to mix – that is okay. The beauty of the canvas will be the worn and weathered look.

Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-3When you have all the edges brushed into the red – paint the remainder of the canvas.

Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-4I found this pretty therapeutic!

There are so many different ways to alter a canvas. You can get really creative here- adding texture paste, Mod Podged paper, crackle medium, etc. I found a lot of really great online tutorials on different methods. I stuck with pretty basic stuff here. I let the paint dry a bit-until it was tacky. Then, using some tape, I lifted some paint off of the canvas to give it an uneven, worn look.

Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-5Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-6I used a paper towel to wipe some of the paint off in some spots as well.

Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-7Get creative with your methods! You can’t mess this up.

When the paint is dry- you will be hitting it with a dry brush method of painting. Take a coarse bristled brush, and lightly tap it into your paint. I used Antique white here. You just want a little bit of paint- tap the brush off onto a scrap piece of paper, so there are no globs of paint. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-8With a light hand, drag the brush across the canvas. I chose to use long brushstrokes extending the length of the canvas horizontally. Repeat until you like the look. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-9The light brushstrokes are really going to bring out the texture of the canvas. Using the same technique, I added more red paint to the edges of the entire canvas. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-10Let the canvas dry. To add depth to the birds on a wire canvas, and really make it look distressed, add some brown paint to the edges. I just used a clean cotton cloth. A little goes a long way- rub the brown into the canvas. If it is too much, wipe it off before it dries. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-11Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-12See how nice all the layers look? Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-13At this point, I put the canvas on a photo easel, and stood back so I could see the finished product, and how it would look hung on a wall. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-13cI added more red and more brown in some areas.  Other parts of the canvas I felt like I went a little too nuts with the brown- I fixed it by painting over it with the blue. You can really manipulate the canvas at this point. Have fun with it! When you like what you see, let it dry completely. I have seen similar birds on a wire canvases in boutique type stores. The birds are screen printed or painted on the birds on a wire canvases I have seen. I loved using wooden birds! I like to add dimension to my home decor projects, and let’s be honest- gluing a bird on the canvas is a whole lot easier then trying to paint one. These birds came on a stand. I need them flat. Using a knife, gently separate the bird from the stand. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-14The bird will have staples, and possibly residual glue at the base. Trim the staples using pliers. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-16Sand the residual glue, and rough edges from the bird. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-17Then paint the birds, clothespins, and your chosen letters black. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-18Allow the birds, clothespins, and letters to dry completely. Then lay them out on the canvas how you like them. Add the wire (rattail cord) also. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-19 Now we are going to set metal eyelets for the “wire” to be string through. Using a ruler, mark the birds on a wire canvas where the “wires” will go- making sure you are even side to side. Take into consideration the wooden frame of the canvas. I had to measure 1 1/2″ in from the edge of the canvas to be inside the wooden frame. Mark your birds on a wire canvas accordingly. You should have four marks. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-20Using an awl, or pick, make a hole through the birds on a wire canvas at your marks. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-21Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-22“Wiggle” the eyelet into the hole. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-23Turn the birds on a wire canvas over, with the eyelet in the hole, and using an eyelet tool, set the eyelet. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-24Repeat for all four marks on your birds on a wire canvas. Bring your rattail cord across the canvas, stringing it between two eyelets. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-25Flip the canvas over, pull tight, and tie the string together in the back. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-26Repeat for the second set of eyelets. Using hot glue- adhere your birds to the canvas on top of your first “wire.” Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-27Arrange your letters on the second “wire.” Hang the letters to the “wire” with wooden clothespins. Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-28I chose to adhere the bottoms of my letters permanently to the birds on a wire canvas. It would be fun to change the letters out with seasons! Other ideas for the letters would be a surname, or a significant date. I love the dimension the letters hung with clips adds to the canvas! Birds-on-a-wire-canvas-Crafts-Unleashed-29That is it. Your birds on a wire canvas is finished! Now you just need to find a good place to hang it- a place where a lot of people will see your ART. :)


About Shaunte

Shaunte is a 30-something, chocolate-loving, SAHM from Utah. She has been scrapbooking since 1997, the dreaded era of photos cropped with deco scissors. Since then, her work has evolved into a clean, linear, photo-focused style. Her favorite subjects to scrap are her husband and five kids (never a lack for subject material there).


  1. says

    This is just so different and I love it, must make one…
    Thank you for the wonderful tutorial, I love when the tutorial (instructions) come with
    the picture and the description. I don’t like pinnit for that reason, most don’t have patterns or
    you have to look somewhere else, I am too old for alll that I love the way you girls do your
    pictures and instructions so simply and easy to understand, all of us Senior Crafters applaud
    you….. Grammy Roo
    PS. plus you give us information to get the supplies, a big plus as we can send for them and
    don’t even have to leave the house.(which some of us can’t). Smiles & Hugs…..

  2. Robin says

    This is so clever! Thank you for sharing this project.
    I have lots of ‘bird’ stuff and this will be an adorable
    piece for my collection of tweet-ablees, Shante.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *