Inspired Design for Family Room: Silk Screened Canvases

Home decor - screen printed canvases using StencilPro silk screen stencil
Family Room Makeover - Screen Printed Canvases and Picture Frames

Design Inspiration: Candice Olson and Her Divine Designs

   I absolutely love, love Candice Olson and her divine design style. She is by far my most favorite interior designer on HGTV. Her classic, sophisticated, and awe-inspiring transformations are truly timeless and moving. She can glam up any space, and do it all with a lighthearted, quirky sense of humor and grace. I am glued to the TV whenever her shows are on. My “Design inspiration” binder is full of pictures of her room makeovers (Candice has recently added a new show, “Candice TellsAll”, to her HGTV design portfolio). Therefore, it is no wonder that when it comes to my own house, I dream up designs which are no doubt, inspired by the queen of interior design herself. With that said; my spaces are decorated with my family’s lifestyle and aesthetics in mind and injected with my own personality.
When I decided to remake my family room in a monochromatic warm grey, I knew that I absolutely had to have a pop of color. My new couch was grey, my walls were painted in various shades of grey, and even my curtains were a shimmery shade of grey silk. I love photography and take a lot of pictures whenever I go on vacations. This way, when I come back to all the hustle and bustle of my busy life, I could always have a reminder of that wonderful care-free happiness that I have experienced during my travels; this time I wanted to incorporate the pictures I took during our vacation in Monterey, California. This is how the idea of pictures on the canvases was born.
Black and white StencilPro artwork printed on transparency
Black and white artwork
  I have come up with a stencil design which speaks to the traditional style of damask wallpaper; yet reinterpreted in a stylized, modern way for the background that I was going to stencil on my canvas. For the stencil, I used stencil material (film), called StencilPro, designed and manufactured by Circuit Bridge (you can find it here). You can download the artwork for this stencil in my Freebies section.

StencilPro is non-toxic, requires only sunlight or fluorescent light and tap water to develop (the entire process takes about 15 minutes); yet you get truly amazing professional silk screen stencils; which would cost hundreds of dollars to make at a professional silk screening shop. I printed the design on InkJet transparency sheet. It is important to mention here that you need a truly black and white image for this process to work. Anything other than black and white will yield less than desired results, and may even waste the stencil because of improper exposure – it will simply not wash out or come off right away with water. 
Exposed StencilPro stencil, ready for stenciling
Exposed StencilPro stencil
I created the stencil by exposing StencilPro and my artwork to light using ContactFrame. StencilProstarter kit comes with a contact frame and opaque wash out box; which make the entire process pretty easy.


Canvas preparation: using a wide brush; which I purchased at a hardware store, I applied gesso directly to each of the canvases in even strokes from top to bottom to prime them. Then in wide strokes I painted on the background color using Liquitex Basics Cadmium Red acrylic paint. It was a bit challenging; however, as long as I moved my paint brush back and forth, left to right and back again when painting on a large surface, the background looked even and consistent.
Continue stenciling canvas using StencilPro screen
Stencil canvas top to bottom

Now, for the most important part - stenciling design on canvas: I used Versatex Silver Lace screen printing ink to give the print dimensional, shimmery silver detail. To hold StencilPro stencil in place, I lightly sprayed a 3M Spray Mount Artist's Adhesive on the back side of the stencil. Spray mount bonds lightweight StencilPro instantly, yet allows the stencil to be lifted and repositioned when needed. I used circular brush movements and very little ink to prevent ink running under the stencil and to allow better ink penetration: all metallic inks, including Versatex Silver Lace ink, contain metallic particles (it makes the color nice and shiny on the canvas); which could sometimes be a bit of a challenge to pass through the smallest detail openings in the silk screen stencils such as StencilPro. I also had to wash my stencil more often than with regular inks. I then continued stenciling top to bottom, making sure that the printed designs align one on top of the other for a nice continuous background. Since canvas surface is nice and stretchy, I made sure not to push too hard on the brush so that the surface would not flex; thus, smudging the print.

Canvas stenciled with StencilPro stencil left to dry
Canvas stenciled with StencilPro stencil

When all three canvases were screen printed with my design; I left them out to dry for 48 hours before proceeding with the rest of the steps.

Use flush mount to mount fence boards, canvas and frames. Mount picture light.

Flush mounting is great for keeping canvas and picture frames tight against the surface. It also allows for easy picture replacement in the frames (I purchased mine from IKEA). The flush mount I used incorporates removable bubble level; which makes it easy to align canvas on the wall.
I measured and marked the center of the back frame on the canvas and flush mount for proper alignment. Then I marked the position and attached the other part of interlocking Flush Mount bracket to the wall. I marked the positions for the molly bolt anchors on the wall, measuring so that the canvas mount aligns with the center between the marks. This is where the picture frame would later attach to the wall through canvas and board. Using a power drill, I drilled a pilot hole in the marked spot big enough for the screw.

I have used standard 1" thick redwood fence board; which I cut into 8" pieces and primed with wood primer prior to use as filler in between canvas and the wall. Using power drill and Molly bolts or screws, I attached 1" x 8" primed wood board.
I measured and mounted picture light (I purchased mine from IKEA) on the wall directly above where the canvas would hang. I used cable tacks to guide and attach picture light's cable on the wall. I also painted bottom of the electrical cord with paint matching the wall color.

Hang stenciled canvas on the wall
Hang stenciled canvas
I hung the canvas by interlocking brackets of the flush mount on the wall and on the back frame of the canvas
Measure and attach flush mount to wood board through canvas
Measure and attach flush mount to canvas

I measured and attached flush mount bracket to the wood board through the canvas. Then attached matching flush bracket to the back of the picture frame, making sure it was centered.

Insert pictures into picture frames and hang on canvas
Insert pictures into picture frames

Finally, I inserted pictures into the picture frames and hung picture frames on canvas by interlocking brackets of the flush mount on the back of the frame and wood/canvas. For convenience, I plugged all three picture lights into power strip.

Silk screen printed canvases and frames - family room makeover
Completed silk screen canvas and frames family room makeover
I can’t help but smile every time I look at my feature canvas wall. Red background is definitely a bold statement; metallics in the stenciled design add glamour and excitement. The pictures in the frames are a constant reminder of good times. All in one, it captures the spirit of family, friends, fun, and a promise of more great things to come!
How do you incorporate your personal style in your design? What are your design tools? What inspires you?
Thank you for reading!
Warm Hugs,
- Lena {at} Stencil It Pretty
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Stencil It Pretty is all about inspiration and lifestyle. I love DIY, craft, fashion, and design. By sharing with you what inspires me I hope you get inspired, too.

"If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us."
-Daisaku Ikeda