Grateful Heart Canvas

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Grateful Heart Canvas

Create inspiration to start your day.

I began this project with a 14 x 14 inch stretched canvas and a piece of 17 x 17 inch fabric that I cut using a Fiskars acrylic ruler, rotary cutter, and cutting mat.

Use a 14 by 14 inch canvas and cut a piece of fabric 3 inches wider to each side

Next I pulled the fabric taut across the front of the canvas, using a staple gun to staple it to the wood frame on the back.

Pull the fabric taught and staple to the back

When I was finished, I checked to make sure the fabric wasn't loose or severely wrinkled.

Apply vinyl letter stickers

Getting perfectly hand-cut fabric letters can involve a lot of time and patience. If you're short on both time and patience, you can achieve the same look quickly and easily with some paint and some vinyl letter stickers.

Using the 3.5 x 18.5 acrylic ruler to give me even placement, I applied the vinyl stickers to the fabric. My quote required 2 packages of letters. One nice thing about vinyl letters is they are reusable.

Paint on a coat of Gesso

After applying the stickers, I painted on a coat of Gesso. I didn't paint directly onto the fabric for 2 reasons. First, my pattern was very bright and bold and it would have required several coats of paint to cover it. I was looking for a distressed paint surface and had I used several coats, I would have had an opaque surface instead. The gesso showing through gives some dimension to my painted surface that would have been missing with a solidly painted surface.

Second, since I was using inexpensive bottled liquid acrylic paints, they would have soaked into the fibers of the fabric and likely would have bled around the edges of the letters. The calcium carbonate in gesso seals the fabric by creating a new surface on top of it. So now my paint soaks into the gesso surface instead of my fabric. I pounced my gessoed brush up and down around the letter stickers so I wasn't pushing it under any edges that might not have been tightly adhered.

Paint over the gesso with acrylic paint

When the gesso was dry, I painted over it with acrylic paint, again being careful around the letter stickers and pouncing more than brushing.

After the paint dries peel away the letter stickers

After the paint dried, I peeled away the letter stickers and this is what I was left with. Perfect letters!

Finish the canvas by adding a fabric heart and birds

I finished the canvas by adding a fabric heart using a  Fiskars Shape Cutting Template to trace the shape onto my fabric. I added some hand stitching and a couple of birds punched with the Jenni Bowlin Flight Squeeze punch that I coated with Tim Holtz Distress paint in Tarnished Brass. I printed another quote out on regular printer paper and thought it looked a little unfinished after I adhered it to the heart. I'm one who at the end of a project, rather than spend a lot of time searching through my supplies, always begins looking around at my surroundings to find some extra little thing to help me finish. This time I grabbed a plastic shopping bag from my trip to the store earlier in the day and added some small pieces to the pieces of paper.

This is a project that is very satisfying when you're finished because it is fast and easy, but the texture and character of the painting technique gives impressive results!

Supply List



White Gesso


Vinyl letter stickers