Paint your Own Needlepoint Canvas

Painting your own canvas

Canvas should be painted using good quality water-proof acrylic paints. Quality paints have more pigment and cover the canvas better. DMC recommends Liquitex Opaque Acrylic Artist Color because it's available in a nice range of colors, and easy to find. You will have to mix your paints with water to the proper consistency before painting. The paint needs to be liquid enough to cover smoothly without saturating the canvas and dissolving the sizing but thick enough to color the canvas and not clog the holes. Acrylic paints dry quickly and does not run or bleed when the canvas is dampened for blocking. You will also need to purchase quality synthetic brushes in several sizes; a broad brush is handy for large areas and finer brushes for the detailed areas.

Material List:

  • Design
  • Canvas cut to size
  • Masking tape
  • Fine point dark permanent marker
  • Good quality acrylic paints
  • Synthetic brushes
  • Mixing tray
  • Washing container

Let’s Get Started….

1. To start, prepare a clean hard surface and cover it with paper to keep the surface paint free.

2. To transfer the design, center the design under the canvas and tape the corners to hold it in place. Trace the general outline of the design onto the canvas with the fine point marker. This outline will help you to focus on each area you’ll be painting.

3. To prepare the paint, blend each color with water until you’ve reached the proper consistency. A mixing tray with multiple compartments is best. For small designs or if you prefer to “mix as you paint”, a water proof disposable mixing palette works well. Each color should match the threads you’ve chosen for your design.

4. When painting the canvas take your time and remember to paint each thread intersection with the color you want it stitched in.

TIP: If you make a mistake, paint over the area with white and after it dries paint over the area with the correct color.

4. Make sure you have optimal Lighting while stitching. Choose a bright light directed onto the surface of the design. If you’re right handed you will want to direct the light from over your left shoulder and if left handed, from the right to avoid shadows obscuring your work area. Floor lamps and swivel armed clamp style lights work well and are adjustable. For the advanced stitcher, several manufactures produce lamps with attachable magnifiers that adjust on a cable arm.