DIY Abstract Art With A Golden Touch

Hi, it’s Ashley from Star and Arrow Designs! I’m so excited to share this DIY art tutorial with you guys. Spring is officially upon us, and I thought we would create an abstract piece to add a vibrant and textured pop to your home.

DIY | abstract art tutorial, such a pretty and creative home decor idea!

I wanted to do a piece that ANYONE could do. I am a perfectionist and for that reason, have a hard time letting go and creating abstract art. I was painting with my toddler last week, and in 30 seconds he created a beautiful impasto painting. News flash. Looked like I needed to learn a lesson or two from him- let the fun messy part of art take over.

So, here we are, a messy, random and colorful painting tutorial. This was one of my first dips into abstract art AND acrylic paints, so it is by no means perfect, but the process is a fun one! Here it is:


Butcher or wrapping paper
Canvas- I bought a 2-pack of 16×20 canvases for $5.99
Texture- This is an optional step, but I recommend using  an acrylic gesso to cover your canvas and/or a modeling paste to add some extra texture
Paint- Liquitex Acrylic paints (I already had mine on hand, but here is a great “starter kit” here)
Brushes- large painter’s brush, pieces of chipboard or cardboard for applying paint
Gold Foil Flakes- I used foil that had a variation of shades & colors
Elmer’s glue or if you are feeling fancy, Mona Lisa metal leaf adhesive & sealer

I set up shop by covering my table with butcher paper. This project WILL get messy so I recommend covering everything you don’t want paint splattered.  

IMG_6307 copy

This first step is optional, but I think it adds a great base to your piece – Paint acrylic gesso over the surface with a thick painter’s brush. This covers the woven canvas texture. Generously add globs of modeling paste onto the canvas. Use a cut strip of chip board to level out the paste. Be sure to cover the surface of the canvas, but this is meant to build up texture. Be sure to let this dry before moving to the next step.


Once you decide where you would like your gold leaf, use a small paint brush to apply a thin layer of Elmer’s glue or Metal leaf adhesive onto the canvas. Wash your brush immediately with warm soapy water. 


Apply the gold leaf flakes (I used my fingers) in a thick layer to the glue. There isn’t much rhyme or reason to this part. You will be adding a second layer after painting, so don’t fuss too much about it being perfect.

If you are using a sealer, wait for the glue/adhesive to dry before using your brush again to paint it over the flakes. The sealer will flatten and coat the gold leaf. You can watch a timelapse video of the process here.


Next, create a color sample. You may have figured out what colors you want to use, but doing a “practice run” will help you figure out how you want to put them all together. I like to do this on a piece of sketchbook or scrap paper.  


Then, start painting! I squeezed globs of paint directly to the canvas and used pieces of chip board (cardboard) to lightly stroke down the paint. You can also apply the paint to the chip board and apply it that way. This keeps the paint thick and easy to blend. It also keeps that yummy thick texture without showing the white canvas or brush strokes. 

  I had a few different chip board pieces for my different colors, but found that I liked keeping the chip board pieces a little messy because it blends in different colors. Don’t worry about balancing all the colors. In fact, I think abstract art looks best when it isn’t balanced perfectly. 


Painting Tips:

  • Layer, layer, layer. This paint is all about layers and layers add dimension.
    Blend when it is wet, layer when it is dry.
    Step back or even take a picture of your progress and look at it. I find this helps me see funky spots that need more color or touching up. 
    Get a second perspective. 
    React to the gold foil- I used thin pieces of chip board and really tried to respond to the gold flakes, and used the shape of the gold foil to shape my painting. Beauty in randomness!

Once your paint has dried, you may want to add in some more gold leaf. Same steps as above, apply the glue/adhesive and then the flakes. I scattered a couple flakes over the paint to add some more dimension.  


Voila! I think there are a couple spots I may layer some more, but overall, I am happy with how this project turned out. Like I said, I am a total nubie when it comes to abstract art, but I loved this project! It’s cheap and easy. Once you get started, it’s fun to get crazy with it. 

XO, Ashley

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Keep up with Ash on Insta, Facebook and her cute Etsy shop full of adorable prints like this tribal nursery art,

Be Brave Little One - Tribal Nursery Art - Indian Headdress Print

and this adorable potted cactus card!

Potted Cactus Card - Modern Geometric Greeting Card - Southwestern Art Card

Also visit more of our home decor ideas like Ashley’s like our potted succulent mason jar holder,

DIY Stenciled Succulent Potted Mason Jar Key Holder |via 

and this awesome industrial message board!

DIY Industrial Style Message Board | Home Remedies

Hey. I'm Ashley! A little about me: I am in love with my hubby and little nugget, with good hikes and Taco Bell, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and my hometown, Boston. Star & Arrow Designs is my creative outlet and the place where my loves and ideas can materialize. I am inspired by newness and adventure and I hope to capture richness amid the randomness of my creations. I'm so excited to be a contributor to Lolly Jane and to share some fun, pretty (and completely do-able) art tutorials! ✚ Instagram: @starandarrowdesigns ✚ Facebook: ✚ email: starandarrow [!at] ▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲

Latest posts by Ashley (see all)

  • Louisa - Ooh, pretty! I love the blues with the gold leaf.ReplyCancel

  • easypeasy - This is awesome! I’ve always wanted to try and do something like this but didn’t know where to start, thanks for sharing! :)ReplyCancel

  • Brenda - This is beautiful! I have a hard time being random, too but I will have to try this! And I absolutely love the added gold leaf. Amazing!ReplyCancel

  • meg - how pretty. How long did this take you? (including drying time?) were you able to finish it in one sitting?ReplyCancel

    • Lolly Jane - Hi Meg! We’ll see if Ashley can answer that for you, stay tuned. ;)

    • Ashley - Hi Meg! Thank you so much.
      Thanks for asking! It took about 3 hours of work time. I did it in two settings, same day. I did the first layer of foil and the top half in the first setting, and the bottom half and finishing layer of foil the second setting. In the second setting (later that afternoon) I also went over some spots in the top I wanted to layer some more. I like working the main layer of paint while it is still wet so that I can blend the colors together a bit.

      Drying time will entirely depend on how thick your paint is. Because I apply the paint directly to the canvas and like it thick, I gave it 2-3 hours in between.

      Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Liz - Hi!
    How much of these gold leaf flakes would you recommend buying for 3 paintings? I see they’re sold on Etsy in gram size bags.ReplyCancel

  • Arael - Hi, I love the painting! The colors you used would be perfect in my living room. Do you happen to remember what colors you used? Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

  • Cortney - Love this idea for a little pop of color! Great tutorial, and gorgeous color combo!ReplyCancel

  • the spirit of Giotto - with all that money you spent on making what is nothing more than feces on canvas you could of gone out and bought some actual art from an actual artist.ReplyCancel

    • Nevey - Wow. Rude!ReplyCancel

    • Lolly Jane - That’s a really rude comment. Ashley is incredibly talented and her work is GORGEOUS. Sounds like you’re a little jealous, Spirit of Giotto.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy / - I really love the gold and the blue in this canvas. Gold and bronze are really in trend right now. This is exactly what I want for my living room. Thank you for the inspiration. SandyReplyCancel

    • Lolly Jane - Agree, Sandy! Ashley rocked this painting, it is beautiful! Thanks for popping in :)ReplyCancel

  • Constance Guerrero - It is so beautiful! Abstract paintings give a special touch to the home. It will be perfect in the living room redecorating project I am working on! I will definitely be creating this artwork. I’m very excited to give it a try! Thank you! :)ReplyCancel

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