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DIY: Turn Ugly Art into a Statement Piece

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My mom got me a subscription to HGTV magazine last year and the jury is still out on whether or not this is a sign of unconditional mom love or a hint that my house could use some work. Either way, it’s a welcome arrival among a sea of bills every month.

When it comes to the cover, I find HGTV’s work in the magazine to be way too over the top and annoying–“cutesy” and “colorful” comes to mind–but every once in a while there’s a real gem once you get inside. Last month they had a piece on how to update a discarded painting and it got me thinking about that ugly carnaval clown piece I’ve been lugging around for years (which, for the record, I actually really love but no one else does).

So here’s what I did…

HGTV instructs you to print out their downloadable sticker outlines and then painstakingly cut each one out. Since my printer doesn’t work and sticker paper costs more than I’m willing to put into this craft project, I opted instead for a pack of reusable letter stickers that I found at Michael’s… which means now I can use them again and again to stock a wildly successful Etsy shop full of repurposed ugly paintings that makes me independently wealthy enough to buy real art. Right.


Again, I don’t really hate this piece at all, but I want to start DIYing and I needed to start with something simple so I that feel emboldened to move on to bigger stuff like furniture refinishing and such, and this poor guy was just the lowest hanging fruit. RIP, Cirque Carnaval. I originally got it Marshall’s or TJMaxx or something like five years ago. I liked it for this because it’s already framed and the aqua blue colors would come through in my letters.



All you need for this project is: an ugly picture you no longer want, sticker letters, white acrylic paint (I got a bottle for less than $2 and used less than a third of it), painter’s tape (to make straight lines) and a foam brush. Start by arranging your letters on the art where you want them. I used painter’s tape to make it straight but I’m not a perfectionist so the end product was exactly perfectly centered. Can’t win ’em all… When the letters are set just start painting over it. I didn’t go for a perfect white look because I don’t hate the idea of some of the painting showing through. So you could opt for one really subtle single coat or layer it on to really block it out. After your white is covered just peel the letters off to reveal your message. (I didn’t even wait for it to dry.)

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I decided to put this in my bathroom because there are blue accents in there and I figure it’s a good place to demand positivity ever day.

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So that’s craft project numero uno of the winter. So far so good?

Today I think I’ve decided to attack the hideous little black hutch I bought for $50 at Goodwill like 10 years ago and have never even liked… Painting black furniture white is totally easy, right? Game on.

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