Having all boys, I never knew about the unicorn craze. That is until I had a granddaughter. She’s almost one and loves those bright colors and fun unicorns so that will be the theme at her one year old birthday party. The party isn’t for another month but I keep checking Pinterest for unicorn favors to make because I’m so excited to finally get to go all girly!!
Hot Mess canvases and sharpie art are both all the rage right now. Learn how you can combine the two with this Unicorn sign perfect for a little girl’s room.
For my granddaughter’s first birthday, I want to take her picture to capture the major milestone in her life. To do that, I needed some props. Her birthday is in a month so I wanted to get started early. I scoured Pinterest and found some really cute tutorials painting a hot mess canvas. I also found some tutorials using sharpies and rubbing alcohol so I decided to combine the two!!
If you’d rather watch the video instead of reading the tutorial, click play below!
What is a hot mess canvas?
Another term for a hot mess canvas is reverse canvas. If you’re familiar with using a stencil and painting on a canvas, then you will be able to do this just fine.
A hot mess canvas is where you paint with different colors all over the canvas using random strokes with the brush. You would let the paint dry, then add vinyl that you cut out using a Silhouette Cameo or Cricut.
After you add the vinyl and make sure it sticks to the canvas really good, you paint all over the canvas. You can use any color paint you want. I’ve seen people using all black paint and all white paint but any color will do.
When the paint is completely dry, you will peel away the vinyl leaving the pretty colors that you had previously painted.
How do you make art using a sharpie marker and rubbing alcohol?
Making art using a sharpie marker and rubbing alcohol is similar to the hot mess canvas because you are going to color all of the canvas using sharpie markers and not paint.
This one would be a pretty fun craft with my grandkids so I may have to let them color on a canvas next time they’re here.
After all of your canvas has been covered with marker, drip rubbing alcohol all over the marker. The more alcohol you drip, the lighter the colors will get.
When all of the canvas is covered, the rubbing alcohol will bleed the colors together and make beautiful art.
Combining the Two Arts
For my project, I decided to combine the two arts.
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First, start with the sharpie art
I used a 16 x 20 canvas because I wanted it to show up well in pictures. It was a pretty big canvas and used a lot of Electro Pop sharpie markers so I would suggest buying two packages of markers to get the best colors.
Randomly color the canvas using the markers. At first, I had a system where I colored a line of marker and alternated but then decided to give that up because half of the colors won’t be seen anyway. After that, I just started coloring randomly and decided that was a better process.
Once all of the colors were on the canvas, rubbing alcohol was inserted in a syringe to drop onto the canvas. That would’ve worked great but my syringe was tiny and the canvas was huge so it was taking forever to cover ever inch. So the syringe was tossed and I started pouring the alcohol by using my finger over the hole and dripping it onto he colors.
This technique actually worked a lot better but I did get a little too much alcohol onto the canvas. Next time, I think I’ll use a bigger syringe or get some kind of dropper.
You will immediately see the colors merge together. Don’t worry if they are not perfect, that is the beauty of this type of painting. The messier it is, the better it will look when you’re done.
If you have a spot that didn’t get enough alcohol on it, use your finger to smear it around. If there is too much alcohol, use your marker and color it in again. Don’t worry about the colors around the edges because those won’t be seen anyway.
Now, finish up with the hot mess canvas
After it was all dry to the touch, you can add your vinyl. Because my daughter in law wanted a unicorn theme for the birthday girl, I chose a Unicorn silhouette and added the words “Sparkle like a Unicorn” inside.
If you’re wondering what font I used for the words, I used the Charlotte font for “Sparkle” and Janda Silly Monkey font for “like a Unicorn”.
Once my design was cut, I weeded the outer portion and used transfer tape to transfer the design onto the canvas.
The canvas that I was using was framed so something had to be set in the center in order for the vinyl to stick. I used my laptop because it was almost the size of the middle of the canvas.
In my experience, vinyl is really hard to stick to canvas especially if the canvas is painted. So you’ll need a credit card or something to really push the vinyl down to make it stick. Some of my vinyl came up when I painted but it’s okay because I knew it wouldn’t be perfect anyway.
After the vinyl is stuck down really well, start painting over the top of the whole canvas. I like to start at the edge to get most of the paint off of the brush and then paint the vinyl working out. This way, you won’t have a lot of paint of the brush so you will have less bleed through.
Paint the Entire Canvas
A very light coat was painted onto the canvas for the first layer then I let it dry completely. The canvas was covered with a second coat of paint after the first coat was completely dry. I ended up painting 4 coats.
I think I will use chalk paint for the next one so there won’t be as many coats but it’s okay for now.
After the paint is completely dry, it’s time to peel up the vinyl to see the beauty underneath! This is my favorite process.
Sure it bled through a little but I used a small paint brush with a little paint and painted a straight line so it looks like it was supposed to be that way.
It turned out so cute and it will be adorable behind the baby at her 1 year old photo shoot!!
There were 5 canvases in the package so I will be able to practice using several different techniques using sharpie art and hot mess canvases.
With one of the canvases, I want to add her statistics to hold during her photo shoot so stay tuned for that tutorial!