DIY Canvas Menu Board for your Kitchen – My Reveal!

Hello Friends!  It has been some time (months actually) since my last post and I have so many new things to share!  This summer I’ve been super creative making wall art for my home, and I want to share my DIY Canvas Menu Board with you.

I love going into model homes to look at the lovely and unique décor.  I tend to look at every detail to see how things are made since many of the items in model homes tend to be custom made.  I have been dying trying to figure out what in the world I was going to put on my wall in my kitchen.  I came across this really cute coffee menu (made from canvas) hanging above a built-in coffee bar.  So I thought….hmmmm we may be on to something!

Menu Board Inspiration

Menu Board Inspiration – Photo taken in a model home

I would create a DIY canvas menu board featuring breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees named after everyone in my family to hang on a blank wall that seriously needed some art!

DIY Handmade Menu Board

My kitchen wall that could use some sprucing up 🙂

I bought a 30×40 canvas from Michael’s when they were 60% off so I really got a good deal on a level 1 canvas.  In hindsight, I probably would have purchased a gallery wrapped canvas (level 3) but since I’m a beginner ( I literally paint on a whim), I was afraid my painting would be an epic fail and didn’t want to invest to much money.  I think I paid $9 for a 30×40 canvas.

The rest of the supplies were as follows:

  • Gesso
  • Painters tape (about an inch wide)
  • White Paint Pen
  • Black Paint Pen
  • Yardstick (for lining things up and measuring)
  • Gold Metallic Acrylic Paint
  • Silver Metallic Acrylic Paint
  • Bronze Metallic Acrylic Paint
  • Burnt Umber Acrylic Paint
  • White Acrylic Paint (to make the lighter background)
  • Yellow Ochre Acrylic Paint (to make the lighter background you just need a drop)
  • Crockpot lid (yes!  for tracing the pineapple shape)
  • Tracing paper (found in the painters aisle at Michael’s)
  • Computer Printout of Family Name in your favorite font  (i.e Gardner Bistro)
  • Pencil for tracing

Looking at my inspiration, I really liked the way it was laid out so I decided I would lay my canvas out in a similar way.  You do not have to know how to paint to do this project.  Let me assure you that I am no professional!  This painting is nothing but shapes and coloring it in with a paintbrush.

Step 1:  Prime your canvas with gesso.  This is a white paint that I highly recommend getting.  Even though most canvases come primed, the gesso makes the paint adhere better and go on smoother.

Step 2:  Figure out how wide you want your header and place painters tape on the canvas to create a clean line.

DIY Canvas Menu Board


Step 3: Paint the header with the color of your choice.  I purchased Burnt Umber paint from A.C. Moore.  I achieved a wood look by accident and really liked the way it turned out!  All I did was add a tiny bit of black to the paint and I painted on very generously.  The paint literally glided on like silk.  I am very impressed with A.C. Moore’s quality of paint.

One thing worth noting is that you need to paint the top, bottom, and sides of the canvas as you are applying colors.  If you don’t, your sides will look bad and unprofessional.


DIY Canvas Menu Board

Above: Freshly applied paint. Make sure you cover all your surfaces! I used my kitchen table to paint on 🙂


DIY Canvas Menu Board

Above:  This is how it looks when the paint has dried.  As you can see I made a mistake but no worries, the background paint will cover that right on up!

Step 4:  Once the paint is fully dried place a strip of painters tape on the brown so that when you paint the background color you don’t get paint on the fresh brown paint.  You will need to tape off the side borders and the middle section to create two separate white boxes (sorry I didn’t capture this step!)  This will make more sense when you see the rest of the photos 🙂  Notice I messed up again and accidentally got paint on my top border.  Ugh!  I had to go over that again 🙁

DIY Canvas Menu Board

Above:  In this photo I masked off two boxes and painted everything but the white boxes a light tan color that I made by mixing brown, white, and a little bit of yellow  ochre  paint together.

DIY Canvas Menu Board

This is how it looks completely dry.

Step 5:  Once the background color is completely dried (I waited overnight, again), paint the background color the same color as the top border.   Then, mask off headings on the right and paint those too.  I used bronze, silver, and copper for this.

At this point, I really liked how things were turning out.  However, I had not decided what I was going to paint in the brown box since it turned out a little dark.   I knew my headings would be “Breakfast”, “Lunch”, and Dinner”, but didn’t know how I would paint “Gardner Café” at the top or write in my menu items.   I decided to let this dry overnight and sleep on it.

I went with my gut and just painted more boxes for some type of image on the left and menu items on the right.

Step 6:  Paint your graphic.  Painting the pineapple was an afterthought because I was afraid I couldn’t paint what I originally wanted which was a muffin or some sort of pastries and coffee (who needs all those carbs anyway).  So I chose to paint a pineapple, which also symbolizes hospitality so it was the perfect image.

The challenging part of choosing this image is getting the right shape!  Since the area was so large, I had to figure out how to trace the shape I wanted.  I had a crockpot sitting on the floor that I intended to put in storage and there was my shape!  The crockpot lid.  So I used the crockpot lid to trace the shape of the pineapple.    Then,  I painted the checkers and leaves as best I could just winging it (I practiced on paper first).  I used gold and copper paint for the pineapple.

I used a white paint pen to paint the headings.

DIY Canvas Menu Board

Above: Lettered headings to the right of the canvas.  If you look to the top left you will see my practice attempt at freehand leaves.

Step 7:  The hardest and time consuming part.  Stenciling or tracing “Gardner Café” at the top!  I made several trips to Michael’s and hobby lobby trying to figure out what I could use to trace or stencil on my board and everything was either too big, too small, or not the right style.

So I figured I would use a technique I learned from a Michael’s painting class (my painting in that class was horrific but I did learn something!) by taking tracing paper and tracing the title of the board onto it by hand.  I found a super pretty font and printed it.  It had to be large so I made the words as big as I could get them on 8.5×11 inch paper.

At this point I was hoping I could see the tracing marks on top of the dark paint.  So I taped the tracing/carbon copy paper (purchased at Michael’s) with my words on top and carefully traced each letter with a #2 pencil and shaded them all in with lots of pressure so I could see the text.

DIY Canvas Menu Board

Above: Getting ready to trace over the lettering. Carbon paper is placed underneath so that the trace will be transferred on the canvas


Step 8:  Once you’ve traced all the letters (in order to know for sure you have to peak underneath from time to time), remove the papers.  Now you will see a faint trace of the pencil shadings.  Look at the picture below.  If you look closely you can see a shadow of the word “Bistro”.  If you ever wondered how to trace lettering onto canvas now you know!  Print it all out on paper and trace it on,  yeah!

Using a white paint pen, I carefully traced over the pencil shadings and colored it in.

Above: Traced lettering with a white paint pen.


Above: The title of the board all done! Now it needs some ornaments.


Step 9:  Now it’s time to add the ornaments and menu items.  The heading needed some fancy ornaments or something so using the same technique in Step 8, I found some ornaments in my graphics collection and printed them out and traced them the same way.  If you want to do something similar, post a comment and I’ll send you the file!

In terms of the menu items, well let’s say I just freehanded that.  I used a ruler and traced lines using a black paint pen and wrote the names of my menu items.   I didn’t want it to look too perfect so I decided to write normally to give it a more handmade feel.  Next time though, I might use stencil!  Don’t attempt to write in pencil first, or it will smudge when you try to erase…take it from me.

Step 10: Admire the finished product and hang!  Please post comments if you have questions and share your project with us!

DIY Canvas Menu Board



I hope you enjoy making art for your home as much as I do!  This DIY canvas menu board was a very fun project that turned out well!  The best part is that it’s one of a kind!  The one thing I’ve learned from making art at home is that you can’t let your fear of not being able to do something get in the way.  If you saw some of my other paintings from my Michael’s classes you would see what I’m talking about.  For this project, it just had to be right or I wouldn’t have a unique item for my kitchen.

It is now a conversation piece every time we have guests.  Moving on to my other kitchen wall now!  It will be three very large canvases, and I already have them ready to go . I am just clueless as to what I will do; but, I will post it, and it will be easy…believe me!