How To Paint Hearts on A String

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How To Paint Three Hearts on a String 

Learn how to paint three cute harts hanging on a string in front of a faux wood background. In this tutorial, you will learn how to apply colors to a canvas to make it look like wood texture.

I will admit, however, that this painting is a bit tricky because of the wood texture! Please don’t get frustrated at the wood step! Actually…I recommend getting a separate piece of paper and practice some dry brushing techniques before you tackle it on your canvas. If all else fails, you can improvise and make it your own! 

Those three whimsical hearts are super easy and adorable! When I painted this, I thought that each heart represented one of each of my children! Then, as an added touch, I painted my initials and my husband’s initials carved into the wood.  Of course, this Valentine’s Day painting can be customized (like all my other paintings).

Enjoy and don’t forget to share your painting on the SBSP Pinterest Pin or on Facebook


See other paintings with faux wood background: 


Video Directions: 


Directions At A Glance:

Step By Step Pictures 

1. Gray “Wash” Background:

I mentioned this in the intro but I recommend practicing this on a separate sheet of paper to get the color proportions right before you tackle it on the canvas. First dip your 1″ flat brush in the titanium white. Paint up and down strokes on the canvas but don’t let the white dry yet.



Paint some up and down white lines on the canvas but don’t let it dry just yet!

Don’t rinse your brush, leave the white on it. Next double load the corners of your brush in black and (optional phthalo blue). Use just a tiny bit of paint on the corners. Then paint up and down and let the colors blend with the white.

Don’t rinse the brush! Dip the left and right corners of the brush in mars black and phthalo blue. JUST A TINY BIT!! If you add too much black and blue, this effect won’t work.


Paint up and down strokes. Allow those two black and blue colors to mix with the white and blend to make a beautiful blue gray color!

When you re-load your brush, add white and the black/blue on the corners. 

Add more white.


Paint up and down and fill the whole canvas with this inconsistent color. Allow the colors to mix and do their own thing on the canvas!


Tip: If it seems like too much blue, just add more white and more black than blue. (Not too much black, a tiny bit!)


Isn’t this sooo pretty!?  You can actually stop here and skip the brown wood texture I am doing next! There’s so many creative things you can do with this base for a painting.


2. Adding Wood Texture With “Dry Brush”

Again, practice this on a separate piece of paper before you tackle it on canvas! Dry brush technique means you add very little paint to your brush and no water. Hold your brush lightly like a feather. The paint should look like a crayola marker running out of ink (light and inconsistent).


  • 1/4″ flat brush (#4 bright)
  • Burnt Umber (dark brown)
  • Dry brush technique to create the effect!

Dry brush technique means simply adding a small amount of paint to the brush and not dipping your brush in the water at all. This makes the strokes look inconsistent and light/ feathery! 

Using Burnt Umber and a small flat brush, paint a “Cat Eye” shape wood knot.

Use a 1/4″ flat brush. KEEP THE BRUSH DRY! Dip the tip in Burnt Umber.


Use the tip of the brush to paint cat eye shape for wood knots.


Paint a circle or oval in the center.


Add a tiny bit of white and let it blend with the Burnt Umber on the canvas!

Adding white to the burnt umber helps it blend better. Still dry brushing it here!


Paint some more wood knots.

Make sure the lines go up and down. Think wood grain texture!


Lightly paint some up and down strokes.

Tip: lightly hold that brush! Pressing too hard results in darker pigment and pressing lightly creates a light feathery effect.


I only did up and down brown strokes in some areas of the canvas. That gray wash background already gives indication of “distressed wood” with up and variations of darks and lights.

Up and down lines, lightly!!!


3. Paint The String

This is simple! Use a small round brush (#3, #1 or your choice!). Paint a string across the canvas. 

Use a small round brush, dip in water and paint a black string across the canvas.


4. Paint The Hearts White:

Use a small flat brush and titanium white to paint three hearts next.


Allow the hearts to dry.


Use a small round brush and black again to paint the strings.


5. Paint The Hearts Red:

Use cad red (or any deep red shade) to paint the hearts red.


6. Paint Designs On The Heart:

Use a tiny brush and white to paint your patterns on the hearts.


Paint your patterns on the hearts!


7. A Final Touch:

As an added touch, I used phthalo blue and white to paint an etching in the lower right corner!



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