How To Paint A Cross

How To Paint A Cross On Canvas

Learn how to paint a cross on canvas step by step with acrylic paint. This tutorial is easy and includes simple instructions, material list and a video.

Hello amazing artists! I’ve been eyeing a lot of theses acrylic cross paintings I’ve been seeing all over lately! There are so many color combos and designs and they are all so beautiful! I want to share with you the process of how I painted a cross to help you be able to do such a painting too!

A cross is a very easy painting to do and highly customizable! You can easily change the colors in the background, the colors on the cross and the spirals. There is plenty of room to write a bible verse or a quote. I ended up doing two different versions with a background and color variation. Then in one of the photos later in this post, I ended up writing “Then Sings My Soul” inside the heart! Feel free to be creative!

Thanks for viewing this post and I hope you enjoy!

Materials

  • 11″ x 14″ Canvas (This design works on any size!)
  • Acrylic Paint (These are the colors I used! You can customize your colors! I’ll label the parts below so you can plan out how you would change the colors if that’s what you’re going for.)
    • Yellow Oxide (Background)
    • Unbleached Titanium (Background)
    • Titanium White (Background)
    • Gold (Background)
    • Ultramarine Blue (Cross)
    • Light Blue Violet (Cross)
    • Quinacridone Magenta (Heart)
    • Bronze (Spirals)
    • Mars Black (Spirals)
  • Paint Brushes
    • 5/8″ Flat
    • 1/4″ Flat
    • #4 Round
    • #1 or #0 Round
  • Graphite Paper & Sketch Paper

The colors I used in Gray/Green version: 

  • Neutral Gray (Background)
  • Titanium White (Background and Spirals)
  • Mars Black (Background and Spirals)
  • Silver (Background)
  • Phthalo Green (Cross)
  • Bright Aqua Green (Cross)
  • Light Blue Permanent (Cross)
  • Ultramarine Blue (Heart)

Traceable (See Download in PDF Library): 

Directions At A Glance

Video:

Step By Step Process Pictures

1. Draw A Cross On A Piece Of Sketch Paper

You can use the printable that I provided but I think it is super easy to draw a cross on a piece of sketch paper or even right on the canvas! I started with a 9″ x 12″ piece of sketch paper. Then I folded it vertically. I also folded it a little less than half way down. If you look at the image below, you can see my crease. These folded lines helped with the symmetry of the cross and I was able to easily draw it.

Fold along the lines

 

2. Transfer the cross to the canvas. 

If you have graphite paper, trace the cross. If you don’t have graphite paper, you can always color on the back of it with a graphite pencil and then draw over the drawing. I tilted my cross to the left. You can do this too! Or if you think it will be too challenging to do the diagonal design, you can make your cross going vertical. Tip: If you are doing a dark background, you may need to trace your cross AFTER you paint the background. 

 

3. Use a 5/8″ Flat Brush To Paint Yellow Oxide Along The Edges Of The Canvas

This background is a “starburst” background. The direction of the strokes are going diagonal like a big asterisk star! I started from the edges and worked my way to the middle. The first color I applied was yellow oxide. Use the tip of the brush to form strokes that go in lines the way an asterisk will go. See the images below: 

*Tip Paint up and down strokes if the starburst is too challenging. I did up and down for this version.

Equal amounts of white, black, gray and silver. Paint in all up and down strokes with a 5/8″ flat brush. Blend the colors right on the canvas. 

4. Add Unbleached Titanium

Don’t rinse the brush off. In the same way you painted the yellow oxide, now add unbleached titanium and work your way to the middle. Let that unbleached titanium blend with the yellow oxide. If it’s not blending, don’t worry too much! Use the tip of the brush to make sharper strokes going diagonal like a starburst. Essentially the color is going to be brightest in the middle around the cross. See the images below:

 

5. Add Titanium White

Again, don’t rinse the brush. Add titanium white and work your way all the way to the cross. If you paint over the cross a bit, it’s not a problem!

 

6. Add Gold

Next add gold. Since gold paint is translucent, I just slightly painted over the darker yellow areas using the tip of my brush. I did not paint over the white area because I still wanted that to stay bright. In other words, just paint gold over the yellow oxide and unbleached titanium. 

 

7. Paint The Cross Ultramarine Blue, Light Blue Violet and Titanium White

Use a 1/4″ Flat Brush to Outline the cross with ultramarine blue. Then paint in the outer edges of the cross using up and down strokes and horizontal strokes that go with the shape of the cross. Gradually add light blue violet and blend in with the ultramarine blue. Then gradually add white in the middle blended with the light blue permanent. Essentially the cross will start out dark on the edges and get lighter in the middle. See pictures below:

I did the same this for the cross in this version. For the darker color I used phthalo green then blended in bright aqua green then light blue permanent and then white!

8. Use a Round Brush to paint Titanium White Spirals

Using a #4 round brush, I painted titanium white spirals on the blue cross. 

 

9. Block out a white area for the heart

Then I used that same round brush to paint a heart. The white area needs to be blocked out first for that quinacridone magenta to really be opaque.

10. Start painting some dots and spiral designs on the outside of the cross.

I used a small #1 or #0 round brush to paint the spirals with mars black. I also added three tiny dots on all the rounded edges of the outside of the cross.

 

11. Then I switched to Bronze in the spirals

To add variety, I switched to bronze to paint more spirals.

12. Paint the heart quinacridone magenta

I used a 1/4″ flat brush to paint in the heart with quinacridone magenta.

13. Some more details in the spirals!

Then while that magenta was drying, I did some more spirals and dots with mars black and bronze. I also painted little dots around the heart of the cross.

14. Some final touches!

The two things I couldn’t decide on for this painting was whether to do spirals on the heart or a quote on the heart. I tried it both ways! I think if you want to do a bible verse, you can make the heart a bit bigger or use very small handwriting. You can also do a verse on the edges of the canvas or along the outside edges of the cross. You can even do away with some of the spirals and do a verse  in the outer areas! 

For this version, I did the heart ultramarine blue!

That’s It! Finished! What a beautiful piece of art to display in your home or gift to someone! So much symbolism, customizing and meaning you can incorporate into one painting! 

Thanks for viewing this tutorial! If you tried this painting, don’t forget to share your art!

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