Easy How to Make a DIY Abstract Textured Art

October 5, 2023

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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What do you do with an old canvas? Throw it away? Heck no! An old canvas is like liquid gold–only it’s not liquid…haha! You know the canvas I’m talking about. The one that is still hanging in your living space, but is so so so outdated. Time to pull that thing down and turn it into a piece of art! DIY abstract textured art is so much FUN and EASY to do!!


One day after dropping my son off at a friend’s house, I found this gem in someone’s trash. Quality of the picture isn’t great. But you get the gist of it…

Canvas picture of a yellow flower bouquet to be used for DIY abstract textured art

I snatched that thing up and turned it into this…

Black shiplap wall with a table and decor in front of it

Here’s a full tutorial on how I made this beautiful abstract wall art. I saw this same piece at Crate and Barrel for almost $700 and knew I could replicate it! And so I did!

Be sure to check out my latest video to see exactly how I created this beautiful abstract wall art…

DIY abstract textured art is so rewarding. A time to create your own art work, that will become a focal point and a conversation piece.

I created these 4 pieces for my theater room picture moulding wall. Here’s my secret to a creamy texture paste for all of your canvas art that starts with drywall mud.

Canvases hung on wall behind a sofa

The DIY abstract textured art I’m sharing today was inspired by someone who reached out to me on Instagram. I received a message from a lady who asked how I would re-create this Wabi Sabi art piece…

Wabi Sabi artwork for the DIY abstract textured art

Source: Modern Art Gallery

After looking through more Wabi Sabi beautiful abstract wall art pieces, my mind was reeling with so many more of these I would like to re-create. But first, how to duplicate this one?

I gave it a lot of thought and played around with some ideas. But in the end, here’s what I came up with…

How to Make a DIY Abstract Textured Art Piece

Materials Needed:

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Pro Tip: Remember, there’s no need to buy a brand new canvas. I’m using an old canvas from my daughter’s bedroom. It’s been sitting in my storage room ever since her room makeover.

Canvas used for the DIY abstract textured art

Paint Colors I Used

  • Limewash: Sherwin Williams Ripe Olive and Pewter Green
  • Accent color: Sherwin Williams Enduring bronze

Pro Tip: You don’t need very much paint. I picked up paint samples in the colors I chose and had more than enough paint left over.

Green and brown paint swatches

Step One: Determine where you want raised rectangles

The first step is to determine where you want to place your raised rectangles.

To determine where I wanted my raised rectangles to be, I measured off a square in the middle of the canvas ….

Someone drawing a line with a ruler on a canvas

And marked it using painter’s tape…

A canvas with blue painters tape

If you’re using the same size canvas as mine and want to use the same size square to place your rectangles into, here are the measurements I used:

  • 16″ x16″

Step Two: Mold clay tiles

Your next step is to make your clay rectangles. Using air-dry clay, mold rectangles to fit in your painter’s taped square. I chose to place 7 tiles across in varying sizes…

Clay tiles laid out for the DIY abstract textured art

My biggest tile is 2″ long and 3/4″ wide. And my smallest tile is 1″ long and 3/4″ wide. The thickness of most of my tiles are 1/8 inch. Just to give some guidance.

But honestly, have fun with this art project. Make the raised tiles whatever thickness and size you like. You really can’t mess it up.

I used a block of wood to flatten out my clay. A rolling pin would work great too…but I didn’t have one. To cut my tiles, I used a pizza cutter…

Canvas with clay tiles a pizza cutter, cookie sheet, and air dry clay

Once I had all of my tiles cut and laid out, I allowed them to dry for a couple days. I actually didn’t get back to this project until the following weekend. So my clay pieces sat on my dining room table for 5 days. But they should be ready to go within 2-3 days.

Step Three: Prime your DIY abstract textured art

Set your clay tiles in a bowl off to the side. We’ll come back to those in a little bit.

To ensure you cover up any old wording or picture on your old canvas, you’ll want to paint primer (or white paint) over the entire thing. I applied two coats of primer…

Canvas primed with white primer for the DIY abstract textured art

If you’re starting with a new canvas, there’s no need to paint primer on it. You can go straight to painting your desired colors.

Step Four: Limewash your canvas

Here comes the fun part. I had never tried my hand at limewash on a canvas before, so this was a new venture for me.

Can I just say, this was so much fun! I’m ready to apply this technique to an entire wall. I have a few in mind. :)

It turned out so good! And the process was so rewarding to get it to the look I wanted. Here’s the simple steps I took:

  • You’re going to want to divide your paint tray into two sections. I cut and stacked some cardboard strips to create a divider down the middle. I attached them to my tray using painter’s tape…

Paint tray sectioned off into two sections

  • I then poured my Sherwin Williams Ripe Olive paint on one side of the divider and my Pewter Green paint on the other side of the divider. If you decide to use different color paint than what I used, I’ll explain in the FAQ section (further down in this post) how to decide on the right paint tones….

Girl pouring paint into a tray

  • Now that you have your paint colors in the tray and your paintbrush ready, you’ll also need a bowl of water….

Paint tray with two tones of green in it

  • You’re finally ready to paint. Dip your paintbrush in the bowl of water and then dab it off on a paper towel or the side of the bowl. You should have very little water on your brush.
  • Next, dip half of your paintbrush in the left side paint and the other half of your paintbrush in the right side paint. You should now have each paint color on each side of your brush.
  • Apply the paintbrush to the canvas, creating x’s as you paint. Starting at the top and working your way to the bottom of the canvas, paint x’s as you go. When the paint on your brush becomes too thin, dip your brush in the water, dab it on the napkin and dip half the brush in each paint color (as you did before). Keep repeating these steps until the entire canvas is covered…

Painting in x's for the DIY abstract textured art

  • Ok, so it looks awful, right? This is where I panicked too. :(  But keep going, I promise the more coats you add, the better it gets. So, add another coat. And then another coat. Allowing the canvas to dry in between each coat.

Canvas partially limewashed

  • Applying each coat using the “X” paint technique, add as many coats as you need until you get the look you desire. For me, with each coat, I loved it a little more. But after the 4th coat, I knew that was the look I was going for…

Canvas limewashed green

I love how the limewash technique adds a textured look with so much dimension. It’s so good! But, I felt like it needed more.

To add even more depth and a little bit of contrast, I dry brushed Sherwin Williams Enduring Bronze sparingly across the canvas.

I love the different colors of my abstract painting. If I stopped here and didn’t add anything else, it would look great on my walls….

DIY abstract textured art with a frame propped up on a countertop

Step Five: Paint your clay tiles

But I kept going and added the clay tiles next.

I went back and forth on what color to paint my tiles. In the beginning, I thought I wanted them to stand out more, so I painted them a contrasting color….

Canvas with a few rows of clay tiles on it

That wasn’t it! Not the look I was going for. I tried a couple different looks. But in the end, I landed on a monochromatic look and knew that was the one!

DIY abstract textured art with a frame

After painting all of the tiles Pewter Green, I laid them out how I wanted them.

My last step was attaching the tiles. Not having any other glue on hand, I found that wood glue was a good option. I applied a thin layer of glue to each tile and placed it in it’s spot. The wood glue actually worked great!

Girl gluing clay tiles on a canvas

Once the glue was dry (dry time: 2-3 hours), I was ready to hang my beautiful DIY textured wall art.

I love how it looks in this alcove outside our master bedroom. It’s the perfect size and color. And those different textures! Oh so good!!

DIY abstract textured art hanging on shiplap wall

I hope you’ll follow this easy tutorial and try your hand at your own abstract art. These pieces of art are truly so fun to make. And such an inexpensive way to elevate a space. There’s really no right or wrong way to do them. You can’t mess them up!

Why spend so much money on artwork from the big designer stores, like West Elm and Crate and Barrel? When you can create your own DIY on a blank canvas or an old canvas that needs a change.

Canvas limewashed green with clay tiles

I can’t wait to make more of these abstract pieces. Look for another DIY wall art step by step tutorial coming soon.

Green canvas on a black shelf

UPDATE: The girl who reached out to me on Instagram and asked me how I would go about making this DIY abstract textured art, recently finished her canvas. It turned out so good! I love the base color of her canvas.

The colors she used were: Sherwin Williams Warm Stone and a camel color that she had mixed up for another project. Too good not to share with you…

Abstract artwork

Here’s a look at it in her dining room….

DIY Abrstract textured art hanging in a dining room

DIY Abstract Textured Art: FAQ’s

How do you decide what paint colors to use for limewashing?

To achieve the limewash technique look, you don’t have to use a special kind of paint. Simply, choose two colors that are very close in comparison to one another.

I chose two colors next to one another on the color swatch. Sherwin Williams is always my go-to for paint. So, the colors I landed on were: Ripe Olive and Pewter Green for the limewash. And I dry-brushed Enduring Bronze for added texture.

What if my canvas doesn’t have a frame?

You can very easily make your own frame with this easy to follow tutorial. If you prefer a floating frame look, here’s how to make your own floating frame. Or you can choose to not add a frame. Any of these ways will look great!

green canvas with wooden frame

What if I don’t have any old canvases in my home?

A great place to look for inexpensive canvas options is your local thrift store. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the design on the canvas looks like. It can be the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen. You’re going to cover it up!

But if you still can’t find the size of canvas you want. Or maybe you need a certain number of the same size for a gallery wall. These canvases from Amazon are a great price. I used them in my theater room makeover.

There are also great tutorials where people have used a drop cloth to make their own canvas. So that is another option.

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

Be sure to Pin This Post to your Pinterest Board for later…


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