DIY illuminated LOVE canvas

DIY craft tutorial
DIY craft projecT: Illuminated LOVE canvas tutorial

light up love

Inspired by the famous Philadelphia landmark, this illuminated LOVE canvas will bring a little warmth and a lot of love into your house.

So grab a canvas at your local craft store, that old string of Christmas lights that's always in the way, a few other craft supplies you have around the house and get started. This DIY craft project is absolutely perfect for Valentine's Day, but it's so pretty you'll want to make it today and keep it up all year long!

side by side


DIY craft project: Illuminated LOVE canvas supplies

  • 16- × 20-inch white canvas
  • Strand of 35 white lights
  • Awl
  • LOVE template
  • Scotch tape
  • Pencil
  • Red acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Small, sharp scissors or cuticle clippers
  • Hot glue gun
  • Picture hanging wire

Illuminated LOVE canvas instructions

Start by printing out the LOVE template PDF. Each letter prints out on a 8.5- × 11-inch piece of paper and is perfectly sized to fit the 16- × 20-inch canvas. However, if you want to create your own LOVE design, have at it!

DIY craft project step 1: Cutting out letters

Cut out each letter of the LOVE template.

DIY craft project step 2: Arranging letters

Arrange the letters on the canvas.

DIY craft project step 3: Tape the letters on the canvasTape them in place on the canvas. (Hint: The top of the letter "L" should be about 4 inches from the top of the canvas.)

DIY craft project step 4: Trace the letters on the canvas

Take a pencil and lightly trace around each letter.

DIY craft project step 5: LOVE letters traced on canvasOnce you're done outlining the letters, remove the paper templates.
Paint inside the lines
With a small, square brush, paint inside each letter with the red acrylic paint. It's helpful to paint the edges of the letters before filling them in.
DIY craft project step 7: Finished LOVE letters
Complete two or three coats of paint, then allow the paint to dry thoroughly, preferably overnight.

DIY craft project step 8: Replace template

Gently tape the paper letter templates back in place on the canvas.

DIY craft project step 9: Line up holes

Line up awl on the first dot.

DIY craft project step 10: Punch through canvas with an awl
Use the awl to punch through each hole that is marked on the painted LOVE letters (these are spaced just right for the string of 35 lights).
DIY craft project step 11: All holes punchedOnce all of the holes are made, remove the paper templates.
DIY craft project step 12: Trim excess canvas
Flip the canvas over and use small, sharp scissors or cuticle clippers to trim away the excess canvas that was pushed through by the awl.
DIY craft project step 13: Add the lights
Now you can add the lights! Start at the lower right corner — the letter "E" — and place the light closest to the plug there. Push a light through each hole.
DIY craft project step 14: Finish the EOnce all of the holes in the letter "E" are filled, move over to the letter "V" and then "O."
DIY craft project step 15: All the lightsAs you move on to the hole at the top of the letter "L," you'll need to skip one light.

DIY craft project step 16: Lights on the front side
Flip over the canvas and see all the lights poked through the front side.

DIY craft project step 17: Hot glue lights in placeNow that all of the lights are in place, heat up the glue gun and stand the canvas up so you don't dislodge the lights. Working from the back of the canvas, apply a thin bead of glue around the plastic part of the light to help keep it in place. Try not to get any glue on the bulb, though. (Note: This step is optional.)

You will have two extra lights left over at the end. You can tuck these away on the back of the canvas or hot glue them to the frame so they don't show from the front.

DIY craft project step 18: Add hangerAttach picture hanging wire to the back of the canvas so you can mount it on the wall; you can skip this step if you'd rather display the canvas on a shelf or mantle.

Now just plug it in and let your DIY craft shine!

Final illuminated LOVE canvas

lights on lights off

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Comments on "DIY illuminated LOVE canvas"

Stacy November 21, 2013 | 8:15 AM

"Love" this idea!! Have my tools ready! Wondering if you would know where I could get more templates for future projects? Thanks for sharing!!

Katie January 24, 2013 | 8:31 AM

I made this and it turned out SUPER cute! The only thing I found hard was all the wires in the back made it not lay flat on the wall...I had to get extra long nails so that it stuck out enough to lay flat.

Bubs June 24, 2012 | 10:02 PM

What do you mean by you have to skip a light at the l? Thats the only part that confused me. VERY good tutorial otherwise!

Megan June 19, 2012 | 9:39 AM

I just moved into a new apartment and I’m looking for ways to spice up my bare walls. I want to give my living space a unique touch, and nothing is more unique than homemade artwork. I like how this project is simple and cost-effective. I also like the simplistic beauty of the Love art piece, how it screams and conveys so much with only four letters on a white background. The string of lights inside the letters also creates a nice effect as it enhances the message and beauty of the art piece.

Leslie June 09, 2012 | 12:55 PM

I am in love with this idea. I am always painting on canvas (I paint quotes and cute sayings, then hang them mostly in bathrooms), and this is something different. Plus it allows me to put the extra Christmas lights to good use! Thanks for the idea - keep them coming!!

drollgirl June 08, 2012 | 3:10 PM

fyi, the original artist's name is robert indiana.

Daisy June 07, 2012 | 3:51 PM

What a great use for those extra Christmas lights!

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