DIY Light-Up Word Art Canvas

Two things we absolutely love are amazing book quotes and DIY.

Any time we can put the two together we have a legit reason to celebrate. So if you have a favorite quote from a book that’s always stuck with you and a blank wall in your room that’s crying for some attention, you should make this simple DIY light-up word art canvas.

We are obsessing over Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. This book is basically one long love letter to books. It takes place in a family-owned bookshop where the characters leave notes to each other in old books. The books in the store are filled with observations, letters, and passages that people have underlined. (We at Underlined find that particularly amazing.)

This book was an obvious choice for this project—beautiful cover, amazing quotes, and a story that will stick with you long after you finish reading. Let’s get started!

What you’ll need:

  • Canvas
  • Paints
  • Brushes, sponges, fingers, or whatever you like to paint with
  • Pencil
  • Permanent marker
  • Optional: string lights

Pro tip: We like the battery-powered ones that don’t need to be plugged in, keeping your walls cord-free. For entirely hassle-free lights, grab a set with a built-in timer.

Here’s what you do:

1. Lay down something to keep your workspace clean—newspapers or garbage bags workgreat.

2. Paint the background! You can do light brushstrokes, bright patterns, all one color, whatever you like. Just keep in mind that the thicker the layer of paint, the longer it will take to dry. We went with something to match the cover of Words in Deep Blue.

3. Once you’re happy with what you’ve created, leave the canvas to dry. Give it at least twenty minutes.

4. When your canvas is dry, it’s time to write your message! We could have made an entire wall of quotes from Words in Deep Blue, but somehow we narrowed it down to just three. Lightly write out your words with a pencil until you’re happy with the shape and placement.

5. Trace over the pencil lines in permanent marker.

Pro tip: To fake calligraphy-style letters, write your message in cursive once, then go back and thicken the downstroke of each letter (any time your hand goes down when you’re writing, that’s the part you thicken).

6. If you don’t want to use the string lights, you’re done!

7. If you want to be extra fancy, you can make a border of lights around your message or put the lights in the letters.

Here’s how:

  • On the back of the canvas, mark a dot anywhere you want a light to go.
  • Using a pair of scissors, CAREFULLY poke a small hole wherever you made a dot.
  • Push the light far enough through the hole so that it shows in the front but not so far that it’s hanging out.
  • Tape the light in place on the back of the canvas. Repeat until your pattern is complete.

You’re done! Now go jazz up that empty wall.

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