My DIY Painting on Plywood

Once the gesso on the plywood dried, I was ready to start painting!

But first, I needed to look at some inspiration. I opened my pinterest “art inspiration” board and just looked through it.

art inspiration pinterest

I also grabbed a thank you card that we recently received and set it in front of me, because when we got the card we really loved the colors on it.


Then I rummaged through our paint stash. We have a nice collection of paint – some leftover paint from our walls, our furniture painting projects, and many paint samples. I looked for different colors that were similar to the thank-you card.

And then I just… put brush to plywood and started painting.

painting, first draft, on plywood

This was the first stage of the painting. It was okay, not too bad. I didn’t really like the green — it was a little dreary and I wanted something cheerier, but that was all that I had.

Actually, the way the paint flowed on the plywood… it was all dreary. It looked like things were going downhill… like something was melting.

Then I stared at it some more and flipped it around.

upside down painting on plywood

Much better!

Maybe you don’t see much of a difference, but it just made me feel good about where things were going and I stopped for the day. I knew it wasn’t done, but I wasn’t sure what to do next.

The next day, I took the painting out again and looked at it.

And looked at the thank-you card again.

I felt that it needed something more, a bright color. Oh, orange – I had some left over from the orange closet. So I grabbed that and at the same time, saw glossy black paint and glossy white paint. Hmm, why not.

First, I added some orange and black… and it immediately looked better. I also laid the orange paint on as thick as I could to add even more texture.

adding black and orange to plywood painting

And then I added some white… and I was done!

completed painting on plywood

Wanna see the progression of the painting in photos that are horribly lit? Here you go!

progression of painting

Here’s a close-up so you can see the texture. For future paintings, I definitely want to experiment some more with texture using gesso using different materials.

texture of painting on plywood

I was done but the paint looked dull. The black and white paint, which were gloss paint, looked shiny but the rest, which were mostly in satin or flat, looked… well, flat. I asked my artist mom and she suggested me to use varnish. I found two different kinds of varnish spray at Michael’s – one for oil and acrylic paints and one for general purpose arts and crafts. Since I didn’t use acrylic but latex paint, I decided to use the general purpose one.

varnish general purpose

It worked great – the paint perked up and it’s all shiny and nice now!

Where did we put it? In this weird corner that rests between the living room, the dining room, and the mini-hall that leads to the bathroom and guest bedroom:

plywood painting on wall

I know, bad photo. It’s dark in this corner. I would love to someday add a light at the top of the wall, but we’ll see.

We’ve been talking about putting up a couple of art/frames here to jazz up the corner and to make the thermostat less noticeable. So far, we’ve put up a simple white clock (which has done wonders since we didn’t have any other way to tell time while at the first floor ever since we gave up our DVR) and this painting.

I want to do another plywood painting but this time with very thick and textured gesso and in a tiny size and maybe one color to put right above the thermostat to fill up that space. I also want to find a cute little ottoman to put at the bottom of the wall with a little box underneath to hold all the kitty toys. The cardboard box that’s there right now just won’t do.

Anyway – back to the painting. How did I hang it up? Easy…

using a tab from a can to hang up painting

I hung it up using a tab that I pried off one of our Ginger Ale cans that we save in the refrigerator for sick days. I found this great tutorial and this confirmation by Apartment Therapy that it worked, so I tried it and let me tell you… IT WORKS! It’s very nifty.

I think I’m going to save all the tabs from now on… it’s too bad we don’t drink soda when we’re not sick. Maybe we should start buying canned beer instead of beer in glass bottles…

My verdict: Plywood works great if you already have some lying around. If you want to buy some just for the sole purpose of making paintings, try to get hollow plywood if you can find them so they’re lighter. In small sizes, like my painting here, their weight is just fine. I mean, if a tab from a can can hold it up, it’s not that heavy.

One DIY painting down, 321 DIY paintings to do. I’ve got plans…


4 Responses

  1. Beautiful painting! I like the yellow, it makes all the other colors really pop.
    Love the soda tab idea and the gesso over plywood. So much more affordable 🙂

  2. Love your creative side & that you have an artist as a Mom.

    I *kissfist* that you had to mention ginger ale specifically. I keep GA cans in stock for sick days too.

  3. Soda tab? Brilliant. Love your flipped over abstract artistry.

  4. Looks great and GREAT tip on using the tab!

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