DIY Kitchen Art (and how to spray paint straight line letters on canvas)

I have a huge wall in my kitchen that has remained empty for the two years we've lived here.  We've considered buying a piece of art to put on it, but I'm just afraid a year from now I'm not going to like it so I really didn't want to spend a whole lot of money on it.

The other day I was in Target and I came across these huge silver utensils -- they're nearly 3' high (click here to see more oversized fork and spoon decor).   I thought they'd be perfect so I picked up a fork and spoon for about $40 total.  The way they are made, you can only hang them vertically, which I was kind of bummed about since I  thought they'd look better on my wall horizontally. 

When I put them on the wall, despite their size, they still
seemed lost.  I told you my wall is huge!  I kept them hanging there for a few days and was just about ready to return them when my husband urged me to keep them -- suggesting we could buy these $50 Pottery Barn letters EAT.  Obviously he's not a real DIYer.

That got me thinking that I could make something similar and it would be the perfect kitchen art and hopefully wouldn't look too hokey.   I experimented a little bit with getting the letters on the canvas until I finally figured out the perfect technique for getting straight lines.
The result when I taped cardboard letters to the canvas
Having first cut out cardboard letters and taping them to the canvas and spray painting, I realized the spray paint was getting under the cardboard letters except where the tape was.  That gave me the idea to simply use packing tape to form the letters.  Of course it worked because EAT only have straight lines, unlike an "S" or "D."  Not only would it keep the spray paint out and keep the area of the letter perfectly white, it would also guarantee a perfectly straight line.
Packing tape applied directly to canvas to form letters
'Before' touch up
I created three canvases E - A - T and then spray painted them red.  After I took the tape off I
realized some areas around the edges had let a small amount of paint spill into the white area.  I used
Q-Tips dipped in nail polish remover to clean up the edges.  On areas that still weren't perfectly white after removing the red paint, I used some white out. 
'After' touch up

When I put the three canvases on the wall I thought the spray painted area looked a little blotchy.  I actually put a second round of packing tape over the original letter area.  This time I made sure all the edges of the tape were really firm on the canvas to avoid any leaks.  I then re-spray painted and when I was happy with the dried product, removed the tape.   I liked that look better. 

My final step was to outline each letter with a black sharpie.  I did this to cover up any imperfections along the edge and I think it worked. 
After adding Black Sharpie to hide imperfections

They're not perfect by any means, but that's what makes my kitchen art DIY!  Plus, when my kids won't eat their dinner, I just tell them to turn around and read the sign - the kitchen made the rule, not me!

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