DIYdiy projects

diy project: kate’s recycled painting noteboard

by Grace Bonney

i purchase a lot of quirky art at flea markets, with the vision of a creating a massive, gallery-like collection somewhere down the road. but sometimes there are pieces that, for whatever reason, never make it on the wall and end up just sitting around. i decided to re-purpose one such painting and turn it into a fun magnetic note board! this is perhaps the easiest thing to make ever; the hardest part is finding the painting. click here for the full post and instructions or just click “read more” below- happy crafting! – kate

What You’ll Need:

1. metal board (is used the BITS ikea office board, $10)
2. painting on canvas (large enough to cover your metal surface)
3. hot glue gun
4. scissors
5. magnets


1. Start by ripping your canvas off its original stretcher bars and place it face down.
2. Lay your metal board on back of the canvas and if it’s too big, you can cut the sides of the canvas down to leave an inch on either side of the board. Make sure you like how the image is cropped on the front before you cut.
3. Glue the edges to the back of the metal board with the hot glue. Glue one side at a time and pull the canvas tight before you glue.
4. If you covered the holes on the board with the canvas, use the scissors to poke through the respose the hole so you can hang the piece.


TIP: If your painting is on heavy weight canvas or the paint is thick, i recommend using mighty magnets or other very strong magnets to make sure things stay put.

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  • I don’t know – I understand the whole kitsch factor, thrift store art, reuse/repurpose/recycle etc. – yet somehow this still smacks a bit arrogant, insulting to me. I realize it might be considered a piece of junk just sitting around, and the purchaser can do as they like with it — and I know it’s not fine art — but I am a painter myself, and even though this type of painting is “not my thing” I still find this use of it painful to look at. As a creative person, even if I don’t particularly like someone else’s art I still respect their effort, I empathize with their attempt at personal expression — and this use to me just feels like blatant disrespect and violation.

    I’m sure I’ll be called an overly sensitive artist.

  • I think it’s a great idea – there are too many pieces of art that are no longer “in style” or people just don’t like anymore and rather than throw them away, this might be a good way to reuse them and make them “cool” again.

  • i love this idea! i’m always looking for something different than a standard cork board… i also think this is a wonderful way of repurposing art that has gone out of style (or was never in style).

  • A creative accessory for a home office. It’s a combination of design and function since it will get used and perhaps looked at more than a picture.

  • i respect “k’s” comment and would add that it would be more fun to paint some sort of absract painting myself rather than use another persons artwork.

  • I think that this is a very creative idea, but I find myself sharing the same feelings k. It’s just hard for me to put a hole in a piece of art even if it’s not in my tastes. Still, an awesome idea : D

  • Why is repurposing art disrespectful? As opposed to corkboard it seems like an unexpected way to integrate more art and a little bit of whimsey into your life. I guess it depends on your perception of the purpose of art, but I don’t feel like everything needs to stand alone on a pedastal to be appreciated.

  • I’m with k on this one. This seems a little disrespectful. I think if it was a print, it wouldn’t be so bad… but on the actual painting?

  • I love this ideal. If you don’t have an office this is a way to bring functional art work into an office cube.

  • I don’t have any old pictures on canvas but I do have some great prints that I’m willing to have to apply on a board!!!

    The National Art Gallery has some great reproductions that would probably work.

    Print your favorite picture on a tee transfer then apply the iron-on transfer to your favorite cloth and apply it as instructed.

  • also with k on this – but imagine if you had, say, a bunch of fabric scraps that you bought a yard of because they were so beautiful yet couldn’t afford enough of to re-upholster that ugly couch, and now they’re sitting around the house driving your boyfriend crazy. you could use those! (as i rush off to get some scissors and boyfriend rolls his eyes at the birth of yet another project)

  • It’s not repurposing as much as defacing. Imagine you spent all that time on a painting and then you sold it. Sure, it then belongs to the buyer who can do with it whatever they want. But wouldn’t you be a tad bit miffed if all they did with your painting was cover it up with notes and pictures? I know I would.

  • I respectfully disagree with k. I think it’s a great practice in detachment and adaptation, in a good way. Not all art will be in style for the times or for the individual and this seems like a great way to keep someone’s creative expressions out and in active view. It has inspired someone to keep the creative process going and doesn’t have to mean they are defacing it. Many of us would be well served by letting go of limiting meaning in our lives and instead finding new ways to enjoy the beauty around us.

  • PS – I am also a painter myself, so I do understand and respect both sides of the issue. I just think it’s great that my art might inspire others to try something new. After the initial feeling of, “but I put so much time into it!” I feel good knowing I’m directly contributing to someone’s creative growth. My painting can be martyred for that. :)

  • k, I can respect your opinion on this. However, it may be overreaching to assume that all paintings are created as a means of personal expression. Occasionally I will see a commercial advertising a huge art sale at a suburban hotel, and they show an entire conference room full of landscapes and still lifes that look stunningly similar and framed in ornate, gilt ‘wood’. The puzzle as to how Goodwill ends up with so many of those types of paintings is solved for me.

    A painting instructor of mine once saw a very early painting of his in an antiques shop a few blocks from the college. He was mortified and purchased it because he couldn’t stand the thought of someone having what in his mind was such a bad painting. He laughed that it was sold at a store called The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

  • At first i was sort of taken aback by tacking things onto someone else’s art, but then i actually read the instructions and it’s magnetic, so the painting itself isn’t damaged. It seems some people overlooked this detailed before they commented.

    I think this is a really great idea because the painting is given a new life and will actually be admired rather than sit in a thrift store forever.

  • I think I would rather have one of my own paintings used this way than to sit in an attic unappreciated. I can completely understand the other point of view. However, I think it’s a great idea.

  • I think that this is a great idea, and I have to say to K’s response, that I don’t think that it is harmful at all, nobody will put tacks into the art, just magnets on it! I would be VERY CAREFUL to check if the painting is valuable or not before starting the proj!

  • This is a great idea! I am an artist and have a dozen old paintings that would love some attention. I see where K is coming from, but since it’s my own art work i don’t mind a snickle.

  • Just because I’m extremely lazy, I wonder if one could leave the painting on the stretcher boards, seal the back of the painting and then put on several layers of magnetic paint on the back? One would probably need neodymium magnets for that application.

  • You could do this with a poster, wallpaper, or an enlarged photograph.

    I kinda agree with K, especially as the instructions are to “rip[ping] your canvas off..” But on the other hand its much better than it being thrown out.. :S Im going to use some funky fabric i have. :)