Making a Light Up Canvas Painting




Introduction: Making a Light Up Canvas Painting


Even when the skies are clear, you can still enjoy the charming gloom of a nighttime display of lighting dancing in a desolate landscape. Paint a pasture, beach, forest, or even repurpose a vintage scenery that begs to be lit up. With simple tools, you’ll soon lose yourself in a picture perfect vision of an overcast environment. This set of instructions is designed to teach you how to make a light up canvas painting. For our examples we decided to paint a picture of a thunderstorm in a pasture but you can still paint what ever ideas that you have for your light up canvas. All you need is a little bit of creativity and these five simple steps and you will be hanging a light up canvas of your own creation in no time.

Duration: Approximately 16 - 40 minutes total

  • Painting: approximately 10 - 30 minutes
  • Cuts: approximately 3-5 minutes
  • Cardboard/lights: approximately 3-5 minutes

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Gather Materials

  • Stretched Canvas (thicker Canvases will work better)
  • Acrylic Paints (drys faster)
  • Varied Paintbrushes
  • X-acto Knife
  • Flashing Bicycle Light (or decorative Holiday lights, LED tube light, etc.)
  • Tape Cardboard (cut to the size of the canvas)

WARNING: Always handle a knife with care and never cut toward you.

Step 2: Painting the Canvas (10-30 Minutes)

Note: Be sure to paint outside or in a well ventilated area. Also be sure to paint on a surface and wear clothes that you do not mind getting paint on.

  1. Find a gloomy, cloudy landscape online in a magazine or design your own on the canvas.
  2. Paint the landscape to your preference of color and style. Leave several spaces open where you would want the lightning effect to appear. Remember to apply many layers of paint so that the final artwork is thick (this will prevent the light placed in Step 3 from coming through in unwanted areas).

Step 3: Creating "Lightning" (3 to 5 Minutes)

WARNING: Always handle a knife with care and never cut toward you

Once the paint is dry, use your X-acto knife to cut lightning through the canvas originating from the clouds you've painted. (It'll be much easier to use reference pictures of lightning and drawing lightly on the canvas where you want the lightning.)

Note: Remember to always cut the lightning out very slowly and very carefully so you don't accidentally ruin the canvas.

Step 4: Placing the Light Source Within the Canvas (3 to 5 Minutes)

Note: If you're using a unusual light source extra cuts may be necessary to accommodate the wired connection.

  1. Cut and center your piece of cardboard so it aligns perfectly with your canvas.
  2. Tape the cardboard along its side to the back of the canvas allowing it to hang freely like a flap. (This will allow you to place and remove the light source with ease.)
  3. If you're using a portable light source, such as a bicycle light you are ready to place the light inside by taping them to the edges of the canvas.

Step 5: Enjoying Your Masterpiece

Congratulations! You are now ready to display your artwork. Turn your light source on, place your artwork at your preferred location, such as a wall or shelf, and turn the lights off to enjoy the show.

Be the First to Share


    • Wearables Contest

      Wearables Contest
    • Coffee Speed Challenge

      Coffee Speed Challenge
    • Fix It Contest

      Fix It Contest

    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Where can I buy the led lights?


    Reply 1 year ago

    Did you find out where to get the lights from? XD


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Is there any way that you can copy the text into the instructable? It's a little hard for me to read.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    There you go, much better! And a good project.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    It looks like a good first try but you need to use the instructables editor and upload the pictures into instructables. I might be wrong but I think what you did is print out your project from a program like Microsoft Word and then scan those pages and upload them as photos. If you saved the project to a disk you could use copy and paste to get the text into the instructables editor. Then add each photo to your photo library and pick which ones to put on each step.

    Based on your user name I am guessing this is a school assignment. So far it looks good, you just need to get it into the proper form and your gold.