DIY Modern Wall Art Painting on Canvas

DIY modern wall art step-by-step tutorial. Learn how to paint an abstract design using a paint can instead of a paint brush. Easy beginner level decorating project to make modern abstract art for your home decor.

I have been making a few decorative changes in my entryway/foyer. The first change was the driftwood sculpture I made that looks like a fish.

My house is not big, but the foyer is 2-story and spacious. It creates a nice flow through the house as well as making the house feel larger overall.

Easy beginner abstract art tutorial done on inexpensive craft store canvases.

I like the furnishings and decor to be in scale in the two-story space. I also like the white-washed brick floor and the staircase to be the focus so the room stays uncluttered, but still inviting.

This was a fun project that I did as an experiment with a pack of 3 primed and stretched white canvases from Michaels that cost $10.

I used leftover paint so I didn’t have much to lose if my modern abstract art idea didn’t turn out.

What is the Difference Between Modern and Abstract Art?

Abstract art is technically a style of art wherein a realistic subject is reduced (abstracted) to its basics of structure. It could also be anything that isn’t realistic – any arrangement of shapes and colors and lines is considered abstraction.

Modern art is more about how artist’s use new and exciting techniques that challenge traditional ideas about what art is and could be.

It doesn’t represent real things at all or even symbols. Artist’s who create it are more focused with the images themselves and the materials from which they make the images. Many of the techniques modern artist’s use might seem primitive or even random.

DIY Modern Art Canvas Idea

Close up of DIY modern art canvas using a paint can.

So I am going to call the art I created with the bottom rim of a paint can, “ModernAbstraction” since it is a little bit of both styles. :-)

Not a Fan of Modern or Abstract Art?

If you are not a fan of the abstract or modern art style, I bet your kids or grandkids would like to create some original art for their bedrooms that isn’t on construction paper.

If they are bored and you want to do something creative with them, this is something they could easily do that will make them feel like a real artist creating on a canvas.

How to Paint a DIY Modern Wall Art Painting on Canvas

This easy to paint abstract wall art project is inexpensive and easy. So grab a canvas or two or three and your favorite paint color or colors to create a true original.

Bottom rims of gallon paint cans. One is metal, the other plastic.
Two paint can bottoms. One metal, the other plastic.

supplies needed:

  • Primed artist canvas – I bought a pack of 3 at Michaels for $9.99
  • Leftover paint – I used the color by Valspar: Mountain Botanical 6010-9
  • 1 gallon paint can that has a plastic bottom rim (see photo above)
  • Damp rag
  • Sheet of corrugated cardboard
  • Foil
  • Small tipped artist paint brush
  • 2″-3″ wide bristle paint brush or small paint roller
  • Old toothbrush – for splattering paint

Painting TIPS:

  • Before painting on the actual canvas. Test the paint technique on scrap paper or newspaper to get a feel for it.
  • It doesn’t matter if the paint can is empty or full. If it is full, it will be heavier to pick up. The can is used was about half-full.
  • If you only have a metal bottom paint can, the technique will still work, but the circles will be thinner.

Time needed: 45 minutes

How to Easily Paint Abstract Art on a Canvas

  1. Set up a Workspace to Paint

    I covered a section of the floor in my studioffice with a cardboard drop cloth and made a palette for my paint using a piece of cardboard covered with foil.

    I poured paint onto the foil covered cardboard and spread it evenly over the surface using an old 3u0022 wide paint brush. You could also use a small paint roller to do this.

    Paint palette made on a piece of cardboard covered with foil.

  2. Place Paint Can on Palette

    To create the connected ring pattern, place a one gallon paint can on your palette of spread out paint and twist it a few times.

    Lift straight up and look on the bottom of the can to make sure no paint is in the center. If it is, simply wipe it away with a damp rag.

    Starting in the center of one canvas, place the can on the canvas and twist it a few times in place, then lift it straight up.


  3. Repeat

    Repeat the process until the canvas is covered with connected circles/rings.

    How to make modern art on canvas using the bottom of a gallon paint can.

  4. Add Paint Splatters – Optional

    To create splatters of paint on the canvas. Load a paint brush with paint and hold it over the canvas as you forcefully run your fingers over the brush to release the paint in splatters.


  5. Paint Sides of Canvas

    To continue the connected circles on the sides of the canvas, use a small tipped paint brush to connect the rings on the face of the canvas to the sides.

    Close up of how to paint the sides of the canvas when making your own modern wall art.

  6. Add Splatter to the Sides of the Canvas

    Using an old toothbrush loaded with paint or a stiff paint brush. Hold it a few inches above one side of the canvas and forcefully run your thumb over the bristles to release the paint so it splatters on the surface.

    Splatter paint technique to create your own modern wall art on a canvas.

  7. Let Dry

    Allow the paint to dry for at least 8 hour as some of the larger splatters of paint may take awhile to dry.

    3 completed canvas connected circle art

Easy beginner abstract art tutorial done on inexpensive craft store canvases.

The canvases are lightweight. To hang them I used a small nail for each and simply hung the canvas over each nail.

Creating the connected circle canvases was fun, but only one way of many that you can try to create abstract or modern art for your home.

If this idea intrigues you, you may like what this blogger did to create art for the wall in her living room.

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Connected Circles Easy DIY Modern Canvas art Painting Idea

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  1. Mary Alice Landau says:

    Another way to do this project even cheaper is to round up your kids’ canvases from those ‘paint and sip’ parties and use those. My girls have been to a few of these and none of them were ‘keep worthy’ (in their opinion) so I repainted them in white and then used them as a backdrop for a display on my dark shelves. This worked wonderfully.

  2. Simply amazing. It’s not something I would do, but I love to see the things you create and share. And it looks absolutely perfect in your entryway. I love learning from you. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Susan – When I created the art, I knew it was going to be more modern than other projects I have shared. I am glad to hear that you enjoy seeing the creativity behind the project and technique. That is what I always hope for to inspire readers to think out of the box. :-)

  3. Diane-
    I really love this!!
    The challenge with making shapes as a non-artist- is completely resolved by using the paint can. And the splatters -soften the perfect lines from the circles.
    Really lovely.
    When my nieces & nephews were moving into a new house- I got a large canvas- and then balloons. I thought we would fill the balloons with paint and throw them at the canvans. filling the balloons was so much harder than i thought it would be. The kids still enjoyed just splattering paints any which way. Jackson Pollock it wasn’t, but it did make for a fun afternoon.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kat – Thanks. Your balloon throwing Jackson Pollack masterpiece sounds like a lot of FUN! I guess cheap balloons are the best to use when doing this as they may break easier. I remember a water balloon game that I did with my girls when they were little and the balloons were very hard to break. I learned that I had to fill them a lot so the latex would stretch more, but this made them bigger and harder for little kids to hold – but they always had fun and that was what the game was all about. :-)

  4. I’m not a huge fan of abstract art, but love the color and it looks fabulous in your space!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank-you Margaret -:-)

  5. Lystra Williams says:

    OMG!!!!! I will definitely try this technique. I’ve been following your blog for quite a few years and think that you’re just amazing. For someone like me who knows nothing about art, this technique just blew my mind. I really do appreciate and am quite thankful for all your projects that you diligently break down and explain making it an easy task to follow and replicate. Your blog is one I always come to when I want to change the decor in my home. Thank you again.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lystra – Thank you for the nice comment and being a long time reader. It makes me happy to know that my posts and ideas help inspire you to decorate your home in your own style.

  6. Marianne A. says:

    Love it! I love abstract and modern art. Great pop of color in your foyer!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Marianne – Thank you. When I was created the canvases I wasn’t sure I would like them, but once I hung them I knew the look was just what I was looking to add to the foyer.

  7. I used to teach a great deal of art both to typical children as well as special needs children. When a teacher is spending her own money for art supplies; fun, creative and inexpensive is the way to go. This type of project is great for anyone because there is no right or wrong way to do it. The artist doesn’t need to be upset if everything is not prefect. Keep up the good work!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Nancy – I totally agree with you that what makes a project like creating abstract art is that you really can’t make a mistake. There is no right or wrong, it is simply about color, pattern to create something visual.

  8. Sue Bauman says:

    You always have the most clever ideas, then you excel at showing us and describing to us how we can do it, too! I really admire your talents. Thank you.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sue – Thank you so much. :-) I enjoy sharing what I create and always try to cover the details so that readers will have success and gain confidence when it comes to decorating their homes.