How To Paint Your Own Needlepoint Canvas

A lot of folks want to know how to paint their own needlepoint canvas.  You may need to change a color, want to transfer a child's drawing to canvas to stitch it, or just interested in stitching your original designs.  Whatever reason behind your design to paint your own canvas, there is help online.

Paints and Pens

The best paints for doing your own design on needlepoint canvas are acrylic paints.  The best brands are Delta's Ceramcoat or Liquitex but you can use any acrylic you can find if this is a one-off.  Buy cheap brushes.  Needlepoint canvas destroys brushes very quickly so don't invest in the expensive kind.  

Deborah Wilson of Beau Geste suggests using either Ceramcote or Liquitex Acrylic.  She says, "Customarily one needs 2 coats however to achieve full coverage and you must scrub the paint down into the valleys formed by the intersections of the threads. Let the first coat thoroughly dry then repeat." She also suggests using "Student" Liquitex if it is available but if not, any type will be good.  Thin it to the consistency of hand lotion except you may not need to thin the paint that comes in a tub.

Brooke from the Learning to Paint Needlepoint Group says she was recommended to use the white triangular makeup sponges for painting full coverage backgrounds and she says they work like a charm, getting into the nooks and crannies of the weave very well.

Folks recommend you use Copic, Micron Pigma, or the IdentiPens that Amy Bunger uses in her Home Studies.  A 4H pencil or acrylic paints also work.  For some designs you can simply baste the outlines you need.

The blue vanishing pens quilters use can work but in my experience they are problematic.  Heat sets them, so don't iron the canvas or leave it in a hot car.  Cold water is supposed to remove the blue lines in some brands (read the instructions).  Sometimes that works.  I have had some blue lines vanish on their own overnight —poof!— and some blue lines that never vanished, so use at your own risk.  I usually am able to erase a blue line with cold water on a Q-tip but use with caution.  You don't want your thread to get wet and the color run, which can happen.

How To Paint

Abigail Cecile has uploaded a tutorial video on her website.

She also has a tutorial on painting from a chart on her Instagram.  It goes over supplies, too, with her recommendations as to what paint and brushes to use.

Abigail Cecile's website and Instagram is a good place to start but there are plenty of other resources if you want more help.

Susan Roberts (The Needlepoint Teacher) has a great video on how to transfer a line drawing to canvas.

The American Needlepoint Guild has a section on their FAQ page with help from needlepoint designers on choosing the right pen or paint to use.  This may be unavailable now as ANG transitions to a new website.

The late Lula Change of Wooly Dreams wrote on her website how she painted her canvases.  She makes it sound easy.

Cynthia has also written about painting canvases.

Althea DeBrule explains what to do step by step.

SBT Stitches has also posted a video on their Facebook page.

Jody Valentine demonstrates how she paints a needlepoint canvas in this Facebook video.

Starke Art has posted part one of a video tutorial on painting a house.

There is a Facebook group dedicated to painting needlepoint.

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