Protecting Your Outside Artwork From The Weather
Over the past several years I’ve been created painted canvas signs to hang outside our front door. My first one came about before Halloween, several years ago, when I had a dark Ada painted canvas. I was debating what to do with the canvas which lead to looking online for Halloween art ideas and finally ended up with this footprint ghost idea. I saw both kids wouldn’t fit on one canvas very easily and so grabbed another and created Halloween footprint ghosts. After that I made my Thanksgiving turkeys and, as the year progressed, made several more kid-stamped art including Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. About a year ago I broke from the prints and created simple balloon Happy Birthday signs for both Ada and Zoey so the door wouldn’t be bare on their birthdays. During this entire time I never got around to protecting the canvas and paint from the sun. At first I put it off because our front door was in a breezeway protected from the sunlight and rain. Since we moved this task has been pushed closer to the top of my list but I still kept putting it off until now. I wanted to share with you what I did so whether you have painted artwork hanging outside your front door or are looking to protect something else elsewhere this could help you.
To protect my artwork I knew I’d used my tried and true Mod Podge. There are many types of Mod Podge on the market but for this project I decided to go with outdoor Mod Podge since the canvases will be hanging outside for about a month at a time each year. If you’re interested in learning about the other types of Mod Podge I found a “Learn How to Mod Podge for Beginners” post on Mod Podge Rocks with a long list of questions and answers.
This was so simple. I opened up a cardboard box I had to protect the surface I was painting on (stove top the first time and I used the table later on) and then grabbed three drinking glasses to keep the canvas above the cardboard so the Mod Podge wouldn’t stick the canvas and cardboard together. Just as an aside the glasses didn’t stop the canvas if it started to slide so I had to hold the canvas in place as I painted. I then also grabbed a foam brush to spread the Mod Podge around and of course the outdoor Mod Podge itself. And then I was ready to go.
I figured it would be simplest to pour the Mod Podge out onto the canvas and then use the foam brush to spread it out. I knew I’d rather pour too little and have to add more than pour too much. Once I had enough Mod Podge on the canvas I put the bottle aside and grabbed my foam brush making sure the edges of the canvas were painted first. Once that was done I spread the Mod Podge making sure to go in only the one direction so all the streaks left from the brush would be going the one way and not chaotically everywhere. If I had to go in a different direction to move excess Mod Podge to a different area I then went back over the area in the proper direction to fix the streaks.
Once I was done I left it out to dry. The directions say to leave it to dry for 72 hours before you put it outside so I left the canvas on the glasses for a couple of hours, until the Mod Podge went clear, before transferring it to a high out of the way spot to wait out the rest of it’s time. I set a reminder on my phone to notify me in 72 hours so I could ‘forget’ about it and be reminded later without having to constantly analyze how much time had past.
I then went on to do the Halloween canvas. I needed more drinking glasses to keep this one level since it’s two canvases attached with ribbon. It was also harder to keep the Mod Podge off the ribbon and this would’ve been so much easier if I protected it with the Mod Podge before gluing the ribbon on. Like before I poured the Mod Podge onto either canvas before grabbing my foam brush and spreading it out making sure to also get the sides of the canvas. I then left it on the table until the Mod Podge dried enough to go transparent and then moved it out of the way to finish up it’s 72 hour waiting time.
After I finished the above canvases I worked on the next two canvases at the same time. After those I did the last three canvases at once. The Mod Podge was viscous enough that it took forever to pour out of the bottle so each time I made sure to pour the Mod Podge onto all of the canvases I was working on before brushing it evenly as I didn’t want to wait for it to start pouring each time. It was simplest to paint the canvas after the kids went to bed and then I could leave them on the table all night before moving them before breakfast.
Once the Thanksgiving canvas was done drying I quickly put it up on the command hook beside our front door. I feel so much better knowing that the little turkey hand prints are safer behind the outdoor Mod Podge layer.
I then waited until the last canvas was dry before taking some pictures of them all laid out. The outdoor Mod Podge made them glossy so it was hard to get a photo without their reflections getting in the way.
I then put all the extra canvases back in their little basket. I keep them here all in one place making it simple to switch the canvases out when the holidays change. I love that all the canvases are together so I don’t have to go searching for each holiday’s canvas as that holiday approaches. I also like how it doesn’t matter when we go through the Christmas boxes since I can easily hang up the Christmas sign once Thanksgiving is over and wait on the boxes until we have time to go through them.
I love how simple it was to coat the canvases with Mod Podge. I love how protected the canvases are and can’t believe I put it off for so many years. I’d love to see the artwork you’re protecting. Feel free to share it in the comments below, on my Facebook page, or through Instagram. I hope coating your artwork goes smoothly and you have a great day.