This State Silhouette Collage is Perfect for Military Families

DIY state wall art
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Over the past 9 years, as an Army family, we have moved around quite a bit. Each new location slowly becomes our home and becomes part of us as well. (You can find more ideas for decorating military housing and rentals here!)

I decided to dedicate a wall in our house to display each of our duty stations. Including our ‘home of record’, the beautiful sunshine state.

I have seen many different versions of these ‘home is where the Army sends us’ walls, but none that matched the rustic feel of our decor. As soon as I saw these blank burlap canvases in the craft section at Wal-Mart, I knew that they would be perfect for this project.

**Update 2022: I recently replaced these painted states with embroidered ones!**

How to Make State Silhouette Wall Art Decor 

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

supplies to mak state silhouette wall art
(I love projects that don’t need a ton of supplies.)

For this project, you will need:

  • 1 burlap canvas
  • black paint (acrylic)
  • paintbrush
  • black marker
  • printed silhouette of desired state(s)

A few comments on the supplies:

You can use any size canvas that you choose. I bought this 12×12 burlap canvas at Wal-Mart, but they sell smaller sizes (which might be necessary if you plan on painting several different states).

To print the silhouette of the states that I needed, I went to http://www.supercoloring.com/silhouettes. This site allows you to download and print the state silhouettes for FREE. Before printing the silhouettes, I changed the paper orientation to ‘landscape’. The default size ended up being perfect for this 12×12 canvas, but you may need to resize the silhouette for a smaller canvas.

Sargent Art Stretched Canvas, Burlap, 9Sargent Art Stretched Canvas, Burlap, 9Sargent Art Stretched Canvas, Burlap, 9Bates- Foam Paint Brushes, 26pcs, 1 Inch, Sponge Brushes, Sponge Paint Brush, Foam Brushes, Foam Brushes for Painting, Foam Brushes for Staining, Paint Sponges, Foam Brushes for Mod PodgeBates- Foam Paint Brushes, 26pcs, 1 Inch, Sponge Brushes, Sponge Paint Brush, Foam Brushes, Foam Brushes for Painting, Foam Brushes for Staining, Paint Sponges, Foam Brushes for Mod PodgeBates- Foam Paint Brushes, 26pcs, 1 Inch, Sponge Brushes, Sponge Paint Brush, Foam Brushes, Foam Brushes for Painting, Foam Brushes for Staining, Paint Sponges, Foam Brushes for Mod PodgeSharpie Twin Tip Permanent Markers, Fine & Ultra-Fine Points, Black, 4 Pack (32175PP)Sharpie Twin Tip Permanent Markers, Fine & Ultra-Fine Points, Black, 4 Pack (32175PP)Sharpie Twin Tip Permanent Markers, Fine & Ultra-Fine Points, Black, 4 Pack (32175PP)

 

Step 2: Cut Out Silhouette

state silhouette wall art tutorial
(As you can see, my coastline is FAR from perfect, but it turned out great….trust the process!)

Cut out the silhouette of the state you are painting. It doesn’t have to be perfect, especially on the states (like North Carolina) that have uneven coastlines. After you’ve finished cutting out the silhouette, place the state in the center of the canvas.

Step 3: Trace the Outline of the State

trace the outline of the state silhouette using black marker
(The outline is a little rough, but once you paint over it, the lines smooth out.)

Using a black marker, trace the outline of the state’s silhouette onto the burlap canvas.

Step 4: Start Painting

DIY state wall art
(Starting on the outside and working my way in is the best method for me!)

Start filling in the outline of your state with paint. I usually paint around all the edges first, then fill in the middle. It doesn’t matter how you choose to paint the silhouette, just make sure that it’s completely filled in. It’s important to remember that paint can drip through the little holes in the burlap. So, make sure you put down newspaper or a towel underneath the canvas to catch any drips.

Step 5: Add a Heart

DIY state silhouette wall art
(I had to pull up Fort Bragg on my phone’s GPS to make sure I was putting the sticker in the right place.)

As the finishing touch to the canvas, I added a heart sticker over the city we live(d) in. (I just used a plain heart sticker from my scrapbooking supplies.) Use a little hot glue or super glue to make sure that the sticker won’t fall off.

Step 6: Hang it on the Wall

home is where the Army sends us collage
(Home is where the Army sends us!)

Now it’s time to put your masterpiece on display! I decided to make a collage out of our states and added a big letter ‘H’ in the middle. You can play with the arrangements and designs until you achieve the look you want. Feel free to add pictures, awards, or other art to your display. Each military family’s journey is unique and your display should reflect your style and experiences.

This collage will be sure to remind you of all the places you have called home and the memories that you’ve made along the way. After all, home is where the Army sends us.

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This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, I may make a commission at no extra cost to you. For more info, please see my full ad & affiliate disclosure.