Cardboard Acrylic Painting




Introduction: Cardboard Acrylic Painting

About: Hi! I'm a jewelry maker inspired by others. You can follow me to see my creations, or in the future you can buy them off of Etsy.

Hi, y'all!

Valentine's Day is coming up here real soon, and I wanted to make something special just for the holiday. Scrolling on Pinterest gave me a bit of inspiration.

A little background: I am an avid, completely amateur painter, but the hobby is a pricey one (canvases are NOT cheap!). My little sister came to me with an idea: why not use cardboard as a canvas? Sure enough, cardboard works near perfectly, and I've done almost all of my paintings on cardboard since.

So, when finding a bunch of couple photos online, I knew I HAD to try them!

Without further ado, here's how to paint one!

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Step 1: Gather Your Materials!

Here are the materials you need:

Acrylic paints (I used green, a lot of white, black, dark blue, light blue, and red.)

Brushes of varying size (A thick brush for spreading, a medium brush for landscapes, and a tiny brush for detail- the smaller, the better!)

A section of cardboard, trimmed and ready

An old container full of water, to rinse your brush between colors.

You can see that my supply on screen is not what I used; I estimated what colors I would use, but I didn't use all of them, nor did I use the white brush on the far right. I found a teeny tiny brush and used that instead! Also, my cup isn't on screen, but I assure you that it's there.

Step 2: Whitewashing and Prepping

Before designing anything on my "canvas" (tee hee), I always whitewash (meaning coat the entire face of the cardboard in a thin layer of white paint). It prevents the ugly brown of cardboard from peeking through your painting, and it helps your paint spread much much easier. After doing that, prep your design by outlining anything in a color (preferably a similar color to what the design will eventually be).

I used a blue outline for the couple, as they'll be a black silhouette later. Notice I just did simple stick figures; it's better to make things thinner than they will be so all of your base paint will be covered by the end result.

Step 3: Landscape/Background

Here's the fun part!

Before trying this, note that each section of landscape isn't blended perfectly. I did this on purpose! If it's perfectly blended, the painting seems more monotone. So when mixing your paint, leave smears of darker and lighter color in there :)

For the sky, I took a tiny bit of royal blue and mixed it with light blue and white. A LOT of white. Like I said, you'll be using a lot of it in this instructable. For the ground, I used a medium shade of green, and unevenly mixed it with white. Note the different shade in the foreground versus the background. It adds a sense of depth.

Make sure, when painting the sky, to paint closely around your design. The closer you get it, the better your painting will look in the end. I messed up a little, and had to go over my design again (oops).

Step 4: The Balloons!

I hope you've been rinsing your brush and drying it between colors. If you haven't, it's a good time to start, because this part gets tricky! Make sure that your brush is dry before using any color. This can be checked by wiping it with a tissue or napkin. I paint tiny swirls on my hand until the brush no longer leaves a trail of water on my hand.

In the first picture, you can see how unevenly I mixed red and white. DO THAT. It will save you a lot of time and paint!

With my lightest shade of pink, I filled in the centers of the balloon. Then, the next shade of red. We're going to gradually build up to straight-out-of-the-bottle red.

I outlined the balloons that will be in the back of the bunch, then rinsed my brush and dried it quickly. Acrylic paints dry really fast, so do it speedy-like! Then move your brush around that edge, blending it evenly towards (but not all the way to) the center. Do the rest of the balloons like this, moving from the back of the bunch to the front.

I used 4 different shades of red for this. You can do less, but that was my preference.

For the last shade of bright red, follow these steps exactly:

-Find the balloons that will be behind other balloons. Only paint the outline not covered by other balloons. Blend in.

-Move gradually to the front, like before. Make sure to blend less and less towards the center. If it's not blending enough, get your brush slightly damp and try again. If you waited too long to blend, then simply repaint over what you just dd and try again. It's not the end of the world.

Confession time: I was not paying full attention to my painting! The side of my hand rested in some black paint and it got on the painting! The strange contrast in the sky you'll see was my attempt at covering it up! So, moral of the story, pay attention!

You're one step from being done!

Step 5: Silhouettes and Signatures

Going back to the design from the beginning!

I went over it in black, adding a bit of thickness to my stick person and making it look slightly more... alive. I added hair on the girl, and an arm on the guy. All of this was done with my teeny tiny brush, with tiny detail. Not the easiest thing, but still doable.

After that, I signed my initials, and then...

I was done! The second photo is the finished product. I was very proud of the result.

Now it's your turn! Show me what you create in the comments. Happy crafting!

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    3 Discussions


    3 years ago

    My son was painting on cardboard but was unhappy with the results. He did not do the whitewash step. I guess that is the most important step here. Thanks. I will let him know.


    Reply 3 years ago

    No problem! That step is an important one, especially since cardboard is so hard to spread paint on. If you have a solid color base of paint, it allows the paint to spread more evenly; not to mention that it's good at covering mistakes! I've tried this with and without whitewashing, and whitewashing is by far much easier.