Tutorial: I Heart My State Painting

Welcome to my first DIY project inspired by Pinterest.  I say “first” because I’ve already bookmarked (pinned) probably 20 projects I’d like to try in the future and the inspiration just keeps on coming!  Have you missed the boat on the Pinterest discussion?  Check out this post for a little intro to the site that’s rockin’ my world these days.

So here’s the backstory on this project.  When we were remodeling our master bathroom and got to the accessorizing stage, I came across a sweet little print from Etsy seller LilyGene.  It’s completely customizable with your state, preferred color, and your location.  While $25 for original art wasn’t bad, I wasn’t sure how we’d come out on budget in the master bath and didn’t have time to wait for the print to arrive.

So I tried to make my own.

Let’s just say 1 non-photoshop-literate DIYer + a Google image of Arkansas + 2 hours of fiddling did not result in the sharp, chic print I was hoping for.  I set the idea aside and found equally cute art for our bathroom instead.

Just when I’d given up on making an I Heart Arkansas print myself, I came across this pin on Pinterest.

Eureka!  Photoshop and printing might not be my forte, but a painting?  Now THAT I could do!  Since I had a free moment yesterday afternoon, I got to work recreating this painting for display in our guest bedroom.

Want to buy your own?  Check out Etsy seller PaintMeAPicture’s page.  Want to see how I made mine?  Read on!

I Used:
1 12″x12″ square canvas
White, Red, and Dark Teal acrylic paint
A few small paintbrushes
A piece of white paper
A Google image outline of Arkansas
A pen or pencil

How I Did It:

1) Found an outline of Arkansas online and traced it onto my paper.


I wasn’t sure how it would show through the canvas, so I went ahead and retraced it with a permanent marker.


2) Positioned the state (face down) on the back of the canvas.


3) Traced the state onto the canvas using the light from a window.


It’s important to note that I used the same color ink to trace my state as the background color I was planning on using.  Pencil would have probably been better since the ink ran slightly as I was painting.


4) Selected my paint color (I custom mixed a peacock blue) and painted the background.


You can see that I tried to make all my brush strokes horizontal so the texture of the background would be uniform.


5) Let the first coat dry and then gave it a second coat.



6) Filled in the state with white paint.


Let it dry…


7) Freehand painted a heart with red acrylic.  We live in Northwest Arkansas, so that’s where my heart went!


Are you ready for the finished product?  Here she is!


Y’all know we have a guest room redo underway, so here’s a sneak peek at some of the organization I’m trying out with our floating shelves.  I am really liking having my paints and paintbrushes on display!


I love the idea of this painting for our guest room/craft room since it’s a nod to one of my favorite hobbies and it’s a little “welcome to our hometown” for our guests.


Hand painted details – you don’t get those with photoshop!


There’s just something about paint supplies arranged by color that feels like art to me.


I should mention the needlepoint art behind my new painting was a thrift store find.  I loved the saying and the colors when I came across it a few years ago, and for $4 I made it mine!


So what do you think of my little painting adventure?  Is it making you itch to DIY one of your own?  I’m definitely happy with how it turned out and thrilled with the cost – zero dollars. 🙂

Thanks for reading!  Stay tuned for more guest room updates.
Linking: Centsational Girl

The Lettered Cottage

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42 Responses to Tutorial: I Heart My State Painting

  1. It looks great Meredith! What a fun project!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. That is so cute! Imagine what a map of the United States would look like… Hmmmm…

  3. Morgan says:

    That is soo cute! It turned out perfectly! =] I love that.

  4. Autumn says:

    Love it! I’m hoping to make one of these eventually myself!

  5. cassie says:

    another awesome project here at the heardmont that i feel a need to copy! i love it! i think this would be great for wedding gifts, etc.

  6. Katrina says:

    good thinking – I love your painting much more than a print! I’ll have to try this for sure. Huge smile on my face when I read your from Arkansas – since i have family there!! My grandma, aunts and uncle etc all live near Fayetteville and I have fond memories of visiting there when I was younger – Go Razorbacks! 🙂

  7. Kourtney says:

    I agree, this would make a really sweet gift! (thanks for the great pins too!)

  8. Laina says:

    this looks awesome! you could sell these!! i also love the vintage cross stitch 🙂

  9. Jenn says:

    That turned out so great! I’ve always loved that print, and your version with paint is so perfect! 🙂

  10. Jenny says:

    Oooh, I like it lots! Love the needlepoint too.

  11. Jess says:

    I’ve totally been eye-ing these prints too!! I love that you made your own custom one. Thanks so much for sharing– I may just have to copy that CA one at the top of your post.

    p.s. isn’t pinterest SO SO SO addictive?!? Yikes. Like I need another site to suck up my time. 😉

  12. Kelli says:

    Adorable! I want to make one of those too! Someone mentioned that there was a font with all the states which would be awesome if I could find it!

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  14. Very nice… and those shelves are looking awesome!
    – Andrea

  15. ashleigh says:

    I love this!!! I will for sure be making one with Illinois 🙂

  16. Michael says:

    I love it! I want one!

  17. Anna says:

    Hi saw you on remodelholic and the print of Arkansas caught my eye since we live just a little south of you in Greenwood. Very cute, oooh Pig Souie!

  18. That is great and now I must do it with my new Big Lots canvas!

  19. alicia says:

    that is so so cute!! I am totally making this =)

  20. Wow, it feels like forever! Sounds like you guys had a great long weekend, aside from the rain. I hope the house is nice and dry, considering all those massive puddles/lakes in the yard.

    This project is SO cute! I might have to make one of my own. Crediting your inspiration of course.

  21. LOVE this! It is so much fun to be able to make something similar to something you have seen somewhere. It feels good & makes you happy, at least it does for me. 😉 Way to go!

  22. Heather says:

    What a cute idea!! Thanks for sharing how you did it! I cant wait to make all THREE of mine! hahah

  23. Holly C. says:

    Yours turned out so cute! 🙂
    (I actually have a custom one from PaintMeAPicture) & I love it!

  24. Lindsay says:

    Glad you could make you own. I always love doing something on my own rather than buying it if I can.

    However, sometimes it’s nice to support handmade. One day after seeing that state love was becoming popular I came up with idea to make a state love painting. It gives me great joy to create these for customers and create new states. Thank you for referencing my shop.

  25. Alison says:

    Although your painting turned out really cute, I have to be honest & say that this struck a nerve in me. I’m a handmade shop owner myself, and there is a fine line between getting inspired and copying. Not only did you completely rip off Paint Me A Picture’s idea, but you wrote a tutorial showing others how to do it. Handmade shop owners work hard to build our businesses, and it’s honestly heartbreaking to see that someone has copied you. Her paintings are incredibly reasonable. I see no reason why her business couldn’t have been supported rather than copied. My words are not intended to come across as harsh. I just know how I would feel if this were me.

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  27. Carol says:

    As a fellow Arkansan, I love this print. Cute!

  28. Samantha says:

    Wonderful job 🙂 I’m attempting my own this evening! I’ll leave another comment showing how mine turned out!

  29. Raeanna says:

    I LOVE it!!!! I guess I sort of see the lady’s point from previous post BUT…..#1 You didn’t even have to mention the etsy shop where you got you’re inspiration. You could’ve just said that you came up w/ the idea yourself after seeing the prints. It was AWESOME that you did let everyone know where to buy them!! #2 There are 2 kinds of people that read these blogs–the crafty kind who would make it themselves(& eventually figure out how to make it themselves)–& the people that wish they were crafty or would rather buy the terrific handmade stuff out there than spend the time or $ to make it themselves. #3 A lot of people just don’t have the extra $ to spend on art. I am so grateful for people like you who inspire the rest of us to get off our butts & create!!

  30. Ellie says:

    WOW this is great! found this on pinterest. thank you so much for the step-by-step instructions. I’ve been going a little nuts since I saw this….here is my attempt:

  31. Katie L says:

    Huzzah NWA!!!!

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  34. Renee says:

    I’m making this for my brother’s giftmas present. He just moved up to Iowa from NWA and really misses home.

  35. Merideth says:

    Holy cow! Thanks so much for the tutorial! I am making a wedding gift for a friend and this helps so much! This is so bizarre though, bc I happened to find your tutorial on google that has the exact state I want to make and it just so happens that my name is Merideth and I also live in Fayetteville, AR. Haha nice to meet you! 😉

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