Making for Kids,  What Hannah Makes

How to Make an Easy Mermaid Art Canvas With Buttons and Your Cricut

Mermaids are so popular right now! And why not? They’re imaginative, beautiful, and enchanting.

So why not create a bit of mermaid art for your home?

To get started you’ll need:

  • Buttons (in colors of your choice)
  • Blank Canvas
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sponge brush
  • Glue
  • Mod Podge
  • Cricut (or other cutting machines)
  • Vinyl (regular or stencil vinyl)
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Mermaid cutout (optional)

Step Number 1: Imagine Your Mermaid

OK, so step number one is arranging your supplies and then imagining what you want your piece of art to look like.

I decided to freehand the mermaids, but if you’re not particularly artsy or you want something more simplistic, I would use a mermaid silhouette. You can find many different choices for mermaid silhouettes to print. Or, you can create a vinyl stencil to use as the base of your mermaid.

Step Number 2: Begin Drawing Your Mermaid

If you chose NOT to draw your mermaid, some of the steps may not be relevant. Skip as needed!

If not, follow through my design here.

I chose to draw two mermaids on my 9×9 canvas. I looked online for inspiration and then just created two mermaids that I thought were fun and youthful. My attempts are obviously not professional, but I really enjoyed developing them.

Step Number 3: Add a Mermaid Background

Once you’ve created a simple pencil drawing of your mermaids, it’s a good time to add in a background. If you chose to use a mermaid silhouette, you may want to paint your background before you attach your mermaid.

I thought about including a more detailed background for this artwork but decided that simple was better. A blue background that is reminiscent of both the sea and the sky.

Step Number 4: Begin Painting Your Mermaids

If you’ve chosen to freehand your own mermaids, now you can begin to fill them in with acrylic paint. I chose to make one mermaid pink and the other green. I would love to see many other color choices as well!

Step Number 5: Begin Adding Buttons

I LOVE this part of the project. I don’t even know why, but I am a big fan of buttons. I really enjoy following people on Instagram who create button art professionally. I’m in awe!

I’m not button-art-creating-expert, but I have learned a few things when it comes to adding the buttons.

  • Make sure you have tiny buttons available. It looks a lot cleaner and more filled in when you don’t leave big gaps between your buttons. That’s why small buttons are a necessity. I’ve even seen people use extremely tiny buttons or beads to fill in each and every gap. The results are gorgeous.
  • Plan out your button arrangement before you start gluing. If I could go back, I would be a little more thoughtful with the pink mermaid’s buttons. I would also have waited until I went to the store and purchased more little buttons. I left fairly large gaps in places and you can’t really go back and take them off later without risking harm to your canvas.
  • Mixing colors and sizes fun! I like using multiple different buttons from the same “color family.” I think it adds a nice texture and is more appealing than using a monochromatic theme. I also love mixing different sized buttons for the same reason.

Step Number 6: Bust out the Cricut

If you would like to add words to your mermaid art, now is the time.

I found a free mermaid font called “Little Mermaid” and loaded it to my Cricut design space. After that, I created three lines of text which read:

Make Your Story So Beautiful

Mermaids Have Trouble

Believing It’s True

Because I found it on the internet, I’m not 100% sure you said it first. I didn’t make it up. They’re not my words 🙂

Here’s what it looks like in the Cricut Design Space.

In this example, I made the beginning letter bigger than the rest of the sentence. On the art canvas that I made, I did not do this. I wish that I had!  I would recommend doing it the way I did it above because I think this would really make the text pop.

Once you’ve arranged your quote the way you’d like it, go ahead and cut that baby out.

I chose to use a regular piece of vinyl to transfer the lettering, but I would have tried a stencil vinyl if I had it on hand.

I also recently heard someone say that they purchased shelf lining at the Dollar Tree and it worked really well for stenciling! I’d love to try it and let you all know if it works.

Step Number 7: Transfer the Stencil Vinyl

Once you’ve cut your quote, you’ll need to begin weeding.

In an ordinary vinyl transfer, you would remove the vinyl around your words. To create a stencil, you do the opposite. Use your weeding tool to remove all the letters from your quote.

You do want to leave the centers of your letters. For example, the center of the “O” should remain. Don’t remove that.

Note: Before applying your vinyl, there’s one in-between step that I did not do, but a lot of people recommend. You can Mod Podge your canvas first. This makes it easier to apply your vinyl AND helps reduce bleeding underneath your stencil.

When you’re finished weeding, use your transfer tape to pick up the vinyl. Carefully place it on your canvas where you feel it would look the best.

Step Number 8: Paint the Stencil

The next step is to fill in your stencil. I suggest using a sponge brush to paint in your acrylic paint. You want to be careful not to shift your stencil by being too forceful. Obviously, you risk bleeding and distorting your lettering if your vinyl moves. That’s why a sponge is preferable.

Carefully fill in the letters and let them dry. I had to apply two coats before I was satisfied with the coverage.

Once your paint has dried, carefully remove your vinyl. At this point, you can apply another coat of Mod Podge to seal it if you would like!

Step Number 9: Add Details to Your Mermaid Art Print

After I finished adding the lettering to my canvas, I still wasn’t quite satisfied. I felt it needed a little more.

  • The first thing I did was outline my lettering. I don’t believe it’s completely necessary, but I think it did make it more readable. Again, I think my canvas would look better if I had made the first letter in each line bigger than the rest of the text. I think this would have made it stand out more as well.
  • The second thing I did was finish detailing the mermaids. I used a black pen to fill in places around their hair and faces and make them look a little more complete.
  • The third thing I did was add glitter. I LOVE how this turned out. Just put a little glue covering only their bathing suit tops and pour on matching glitter. I think it added just a little bit of magic to the project.
  • This is a really fun time to add some appeal to your canvas. I considered adding more glitter to make it more glamorous. I also thought it might be cute to add plastic rhinestones, or paint in a treasure box and fill it with jewels.

There are a lot of options you can do to make your mermaid art print unique and beautiful.

 

When you finish embellishing your canvas, your job is done! Hang it on the wall, or give it to a friend.

A Few More Thoughts on Creating a Mermaid Art Print

I do have a few more thoughts about the Mermaid Art Prints that I would like to discuss.

  • First, you may have noticed that my mermaids do not have belly buttons. This was a total oversight on my part, but when I noticed, it got me thinking. Should mermaids have belly buttons? The internet is not sure and there are people on either side of the debate. I decided that they probably do not have belly buttons because they’re part fish. But this is a personal issue, so follow your heart. Include a belly button if you believe that’s
    the right thing to do I won’t judge.
  • I found some mermaid cutouts at Michael’s the other day. This might be a good alternative to cutting a silhouette on your Cricut or painting a mermaid yourself.

  • I always thought I hated glitter because it lives on forever after your project is finished. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did not hate glitter after this project. I also recommend using fine glitter over the normal kind you and I used growing up. I like the way it looks and it didn’t seem to be quite so messy.

So there are my final thoughts. If you have anything you’d like to add, drop your thoughts in the comments below!

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