Plastic Canvas: A Creative But Inexpensive Hobby

While you shouldn’t expect to see plastic canvas pieces on the walls of the Louvre anytime soon, it makes a great, creative pastime.

With the costs of hobbies like movie-going, gourmet cooking, and tinkering with your car spiraling out of control, something as simple as plastic canvas artwork can start looking very attractive to the savvy consumer. It’s a creative way to keep your hands busy, and doesn’t cost a bundle.

If you’ve ever done needlework before, you probably won’t have any difficulty taking up plastic canvas. Even if you haven’t, it’s easy to get started. So let’s take a look.


Now, I’m not going to tell you there aren’t intricacies to the practice of plastic canvas; like other arts, from chess to knitting, it’s easy to learn but can take years to master (especially if you’re as fumble-fingered as I).

And like any hobby, you can overspend. Fine angora yarn, precious metal needles, and gold-dusted plastic canvas don’t come cheap. But you don’t have to spend so much, by any imagination’s stretch. And why would you, when all those dollars can go into your cruise fund instead?

The Tools

Incidentally, the above — yarn, big needles, and a coarse canvas made of, yes, plastic — are all you really need for plastic canvas artwork, along with scissors. You can purchase them cheaply in craft stores like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, or even in the craft aisles at Wal-Mart.

The “canvas” is a grid of fine squares, perhaps an eighth of an inch across. It’s usually, but not always, white. It often comes in large rectangular sheets you can then cut to the size and shapes you need, though you can also find it in shapes like circles, squares, stars, and hearts.

The Artwork

You can purchase step-by-step books of plastic canvas patterns for your artwork, and free patterns are everywhere on the Internet. They patterns will show you exactly what size and shapes of canvas pieces you need to cut, and which colors of yarn you need to buy. They’ll also teach you how to join the pieces.

Once you’ve got everything prepared, just attach your yarn to your big needle, and start stitching it through the plastic canvas — in just the way you’d do needlepoint with regular canvas and finer thread. The artwork quickly emerges, and it’s easy to fix if something goes awry.

The Results

Ultimately, you can make all kinds of things with plastic canvas, from bookmarks to handbags to coasters to tissue boxes, Easter baskets, and choo-choo trains, for just a few bucks — if that much. Whether for gifts or for yourself, they make fun little knick-knacks and useful items alike.

I know, you see, because my mother is a plastic canvas artist — and I treasure the artworks she’s given me over the years!