DIY: Polka Dot Painting

So I was at it again.  I scored three sad discarded canvases at my favorite thrift haunt and brought them home to be repurposed. After an initial whitewash with primer and ye old white house paint I stared at the blank canvases while a million ideas rolled through my head.

I decided to play around with a polka dot motif.  I'm attracted to polka dots in almost any form, size or color, and I wanted something colorful and fun and graphic.  I was inspired by this recent shopper's tote I found thrifting that is so simple and cheery.

I'm refreshing the look in this small bedroom in our house.  It's been cottagey, and I want to try a bolder, less frou frou look. I found this oh-so-fun red lamp, (second hand of course!) and I love the way it pops against the light blue wall, conjuring up sunny summer days on top of my "bed side table" of a stack of wicker picnic baskets.  I also threw a modern, graphic throw pillow on top of the decidedly shabby chic bed, rendering it instantly more tongue-in-cheek. So my color scheme for the polka dots was inspired by my ideas for this room.

I used a pencil and a plastic circle stencil to draw on my polka dots - all in the same size, but I didn't draw them on in a perfect grid.  I wanted them to feel a bit floaty and uneven.

Then I began painting the dots one color at a time.  I started with red, because I wanted to have a bit more red than the other colors.  Then I began filling in the other colors one at a time.  Trying to distribute them fairly evenly, but still be random.  I didn't paint my circles absolutely perfectly - sometimes I didn't completely paint over the pencil, I wanted it to show a bit - to be imperfect.

And then as I neared the end with a couple of circles still left to fill, I decided to leave them unpainted, liking the empty space and randomness they conjured up.

And voila.  I have a fun polka dot painting.  I still don't feel 100% satisfied with it. I still feel like the most utterly elementary, embarrassingly primitive, childlike of imitating art dabblers.  And yet with this, now my second "experiment" I see that I need to dabble, to take baby steps, to play.  And hopefully I will grow as I go.


  1. I LOVE thrifting!!! I always find such great things! It looks like you scored the mother load! I really like that lamp and those canvases are great to have! And who doesn't love polka-dots! Nice work, Cute room!
    I have that same shabby chic duvet on my guest bedroom bed! (I found it brand new in the package at... A THRIFT STORE!)