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Spray Painting Canvas Patio “Walls”

by Jean Van't Hul
April 5, 2011

We’ve been working on turning a former carport pad into a patio and outdoor art space. The carport collapsed two winters ago and last spring we decided to put in beautiful stone terracing, a flagstone patio, a nice dining set (etc, etc…) in it’s place. But, well, it never happened for various reasons.

So this spring we looked at the space again and decided on a quick and inexpensive patio transformation. The asphalt is staying for now. The slopes are tamed somewhat. The old studio table is now both our patio dining table and our outdoor art table. And, we put up some canvas patio walls to create a more intimate patio space and also to hide an ugly chain link fence and an ugly bare clay slope.


The canvas walls are made from canvas painter’s drop cloths. These ones are especially made for stairs (4 feet wide with metal stabilizers at each side) and happened to be on clearance at Home Depot. Score! We cut them to the right length, added a hem and gromets, and they were good to go.


I could have kept them as a nice, plain background, but the idea from the beginning was to use them as outdoor art canvases.


So I bought some spray bottles at the dollar store, filled them with diluted liquid watercolors, and invited friends and neighbors over to spray paint them with Maia.


They took their job seriously (and only occasionally sprayed each other).


It was a fun outdoor art project!

It’s definitely a look. My friend Marin said something about a likeness to ’80s splatter-painted jeans which I tried not to hear. But I like the added color and LOVE the idea of having huge outdoor art canvases in our yard. I think the color may fade with time, sun, and rain which will just be a good excuse to have more spray painting sessions from time to time.

Update: I drafted this blog post last night before bed. During the night we had a very heavy rainstorm. This morning our canvas walls are virtually blank again! Now I’m wondering if we should keep using art materials that will wash away (for the ever-changing outdoor art) or if I should bring out the permanent markers and acrylic paint.

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