Larry Lapidus

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How to DIY Abstract Art

Some of us are DIYers and some of us need to smash our thumb with a hammer a few times or fall off a ladder and sprain our ankle to realize that we’re…just…not. But just because we clearly shouldn’t try to take down a wall or install a floor or even put together a bookcase by ourselves doesn’t mean we can’t have some personal influence over our space. Let’s start with the walls.

Yes, you can scour the internet for abstract art in every color, shape, and size, and you’ll pay a pretty penny for a lot of it. Or, you can D-I-Y your A-R-T. It’s easier than you think to create something that looks like you dropped some serious cash to dress up your walls, and you might even have a good time while you’re at it. Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing.

Create dimension

Ever see those abstract paintings that have texture and dimension and wonder how they got such a layered look? This tutorial uses a clever trick to approximate the look of “elevated brush (or painting-knife) strokes”: tissue paper! Who ever thought an item you use to blow your nose could be so beautifully useful.

Get the right tools

You’ll need a canvas, some paint, and at least one paintbrush, obviously, to make your art. But incorporating some other tools can give it a unique, professional look. Drywall spatulas give this painting its textural flair without the brush strokes. Varying the usage and pressure of the spatulas and paint brush allow you to create as much—or as little—texture as you want.

Pass the alcohol

The alcohol inks, to be exact. If you haven’t heard of this before, it’s about to become your favorite craft item. “Alcohol inks are an acid-free, highly-pigmented, and fast drying medium to be used on non-porous surfaces,” said Create for Less.

While the finished product of this abstract art looks complicated, it’s actually a simply process, and one that creates cool-looking art that can be done and hung in a matter of minutes. Watch the tutorial to see how easy it is, but beware: You’re dealing with fire here, so, if you’re accident prone, you might want a chaperone.

And more alcohol

Using rubbing alcohol to blur the lines helps create the “splash effect” on this painting. It looks like fluffy clouds to us. One thing is for sure: No one will ever know you did this yourself!

Go all Jackson Pollock

Your masterpiece may not end up in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), but it’ll sure become the centerpiece of your space! Get your splatter on and create a piece you’ll love. This tutorial shows you how. (It also shows you how to create your own canvas, but, unless you’re super keen on this part of the DIY experience, you can save yourself some time and hassle, and maybe even an injury, by picking up a finished, framed canvas at a store like JOANNs, Michaels, or Hobby Lobby.)

Don’t restrict yourself to just paint

Can’t find the perfect shade for your art? Tint it yourself! This dreamy abstract painting is part paint, part food coloring!

Think outside the lines

Animal print is the inspiration for this spotted art. Black and gray paint on a white background keeps it neutral, and the gold-sprayed framed provide a pop. Do like the artist and use watercolors to “vary the depth of the spots to make it look more natural.”

Make it fancy

A little touch of metallic takes this art to the next level. This cool painting uses golf leaf, but you can also experiment with metallic paint if you’d rather.

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