What to Do When You Inherit Old Artwork (a DIY hack)

My kind officemate had a piece of abstract art hanging over her desk, and last year when she left the university, she bequeathed the artwork to me.  The canvas was massive.  Judging from the color scheme, I estimated it to be circa late 1980's or early 1990's, and I was right: on the back hung a tag with the production date.

Say hello to decor in 1989:

Not exactly the style I was looking for, but I knew there was great promise here.  So, I did what I know to do best: I got paint and I got to work.  Since a large portion of the canvas was textured and I tend to like crisp designs, I opted to start with a clean slate by painting it entirely white.

Then, like any respectable fan of Fixer Upper, I borrowed a quotable Magnolia phrase: "Today is a good day for a good day," which I stenciled along the bottom edge.

While most stencils are open, meaning that you brush the desired paint color within the inner stencil borders, the stencils I used were reverse, meaning that I painted a stretch of the canvas in the desired lettering color (gray), placed the stencils down on top of the dry gray swath, painted several coats of white on top of the stencils to match the rest of the white canvas, and then peeled off the stencils to reveal the gray letters underneath. 

I love the final results:

At nearly five feet across and three feet high, the canvas now hangs over a table in our basement where my girls regularly play Legos.  (I figured that the sentence, "Today is a good day to pour 12,000 Legos onto this table and still not be able to find the exact one I'm looking for" was slightly too long and unwieldy.  Who knows, though?  Perhaps I'll inherit another canvas and give it a go.)

So, this is what to do when you become the recipient of old artwork.  You grab some paint, get to work, and give it new life.  Then you call it a day.  A good day.


  1. Well isn't this a clever idea?! I love how it turned out too! I would never want to part with a canvas that big. I hold onto canvases... they're expensive! So I hold onto them. Repaint them and make new art.

    I'll have to give this idea a whirl!

    1. Thanks! So glad that you liked it, Jennifer!


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