Introduction: DIY Yarn Art | Easy Tactile Canvas 'Paintings'

About: Multi-crafter, jewellery maker, card designer and frequent procrastinator.

I've always liked simple, bold and colourful designs....and it just so happens I also have a rather large collection of I thought I would combine the two!

This Instructable shows you how I made a collection of mini artworks out of stretched canvases, paint and yarn. It's a lot of fun, for young and old alike.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial :)


- A Selection of Yarns; The wider the selection of yarns to choose from the better. I had quite a collection already, and I used mostly DK/worsted weight but also used some chunky and super chunky. If you want all colours that go together, you can often find packs on Ebay where people sell a bag of various yarns in similar colours.

- Mini Stretched Canvases; I used 4, each measuring 5" x 7"

- Pencil

- Acrylic Paints; I used a cheap little pack of acrylic paints mostly. Quality is not important.

- Clear-Drying Glue; PVA glue is what I used but any white glue that dries clear would work, including Aleene's Tacky Glue.

- Paintbrushes; I used a very cheap selection of brushes.

- Scissors

- Paper to protect your work surface; I used parchment paper.

Step 1: Design Your Canvases

The first step is to think of a few different designs for your canvas art. Just do a quick doodle of the layouts you want, as I have on this piece of paper.

You'll want to come up with a picture that can be split into section or segments. I chose a Mondrian inspired colour block design, a wave, and the sun. Simple and bold works best I think.

The canvases I chose were 5" x 7". The larger they are, the more yarn and time you will need. If you're wanting to make these fairly quickly, then using chunky or super chunky yarn will definitely speed things up!

Step 2: Painting the Wave

My first design was a picture of a wave, and the first step was to draw the outline of this design onto the canvas. Do this faintly using a pencil.

Make sure your picture is split into sections so that the final artwork doesn't end up as one block of one colour of yarn. Even if it's not realistic, pick a variety of colours (or shades of one colour) for the segments and get creative!

Then take your acrylic paints and fill in the segments. I chose similar colours for the waves, first making note of the yarn colours I had available. You will want to paint using colours similar to the yarn colours you will be adding on top.

Make sure you also carry the painted design around onto the sides of the canvas too.

I painted the white sections white, but you can just leave these sections as blank canvas if you wish.

Step 3: Paint the Mondrian & the Sun

Next was the Mondrian artwork, which consists of stripes and blocks of primary colours.

I painted the blocks of colour first, left them to dry, and then painted in the black stripes. Don't worry about getting the stripes perfect and straight, these just act as a guide. If I needed them perfectly straight I would need to use masking tape to help me, but in this instance that is unnecessary.

And for the sun artwork I used the same method again; pencil outline, then paint the sections different colours to represent different yarn colours.

Step 4: Adding Yarn to the Mondrian

First, put some PVA glue into a small pot. Then use a cheap paintbrush to apply this glue onto one of the vertical black stripes.

Take some black yarn and add lengths of it to this glued stripe. You can add individual lengths of yarn to do this or, like me, you can use one long length and just loop it around above and below the stripe.

Make sure to cover the painted stripe below, and try and get the pieces of yarn to lie closely together.

Then use your scissors to cut off the loops and excess yarn above and below the stripe. This should leave with you with a neatly covered stripe.

Do the same for the other vertical stripe. Then do the same with the horizontal stripes. Don't overlap the yarns but instead split the horizontal stripes into sections.

Step 5: Filling in the Blocks

Next, you will need to fill in the blocks of colour, so first apply glue to one of the coloured areas.

As with the stripes, you can fill these areas with individual lengths of yarn, or you can do the same as me and use a long continuous strand and loop it around outside of the glued area.

Start at one corner of the block and go back and forth all of the way down to the bottom of the block to fill it with yarn. You will also need to go around to the sides of the canvas.

Then use your scissors to carefully cut off the excess yarn.

Repeat these steps for all of the blocks of colour.

Step 6: Adding Yarn to the Wave

Use the same method as we did for the Mondrian artwork in order to add the yarn. This artwork is perhaps a little more challenging because the shapes are varied and aren't all rectangles and squares.

I first covered the 'sun' in the corner with yellow yarn. It's best to start at the bottom of the side of the canvas, then go over the top of the canvas in a curved line, then down the other side of the canvas. Just keep doing this back and forth until you reach the very corner.

For the waves I wanted a more interesting frothy effect, so I used fluffy mohair yarns for the wave itself. Again I began on the side of the canvas, and I first outlined the shape of the segment. I then mostly used individual strands of yarn rather than one long piece, and tried to place them so they followed the flowing lines of the wave.

Each piece was attached as close to the tip of the wave as possible, along the wave shape, and then onto the side of the canvas.

For the 3 curved sections at the bottom, I start at the right-hand-side of the wave shape with individual strands. In the lowest section, I needed to cut the strands shorter and shorter to fill in the non-uniform shape completely.

Step 7: Yarn-ify the Sun

In this artwork the sections are mostly wider at one side compared to the other.

The sun semi-circle is simple enough; just start on the side and outline the shape first, then go back and forth making smaller and smaller arcs of yarn until you reach the centre line.

For the sections around the sun that are not simple rectangles, first add a few individual strands along both outer lines of the section, then add more individual strands in the space in between. Fill up this in-between space in a balanced way so the finished sections look as symmetrical as possible. I.e. add a strand on one side of the space, then the other side, then the other side again, and so on.

Step 8: Another Way to Go About It...

For this last canvas, I didn't plan what design I was going to create. Instead I just made it up as I went along in order to make an abstract 'doodle' artwork.

The easiest way to start, I think, is to add two or three spirals/coils of yarn to the canvas first. Then just go with the flow!

Keep making little random shapes and outlining everything to build a complete picture.

To finish, I used some white super chunky yarn to add a border around the sides of the canvas.

This method is perhaps best for creative expression purposes, as no planning is required :)

Step 9: Finished!

And now you'll have a unique collection of mini artworks!

I really hope you enjoyed this project :)

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