Happy International Friendship Day! A wonderful way to celebrate your friendships is to bring your favorite people together for creative time. While I normally find myself crafting alone, working on BFF crafts with my bestie Amanda always leads to the biggest laughs, reminiscing about funny old stories, and creating new memories.
I’ve been lucky to also share a house with my BFF for the past couple years. Brainstorming project ideas was easy since there are always fun things to make, decorate, and freshen up around the home.
There has been a big blank space above our couch except for a few photo frames. I challenged us to work on some art to finally fill this area with something unique to our friendship. We decided to create a gallery wall of many 12″ x 12″ canvases.
The Inspiration Behind Our Paintings
I’ve found a lot of inspiration lately from abstract artists like Abby Houston (who teaches on Creativebug) and Ashley Mary. I used many prompts from Abby’s classes to give Amanda and I some structure to work on our paintings. While one of Abby’s classes is directed toward parent and child, you can easily translate that element of collaboration to your BFF crafts.
When I asked Amanda where she was drawing inspiration from, she said, “I was just thinking about our friendship and how magical it is! Channeling a lot of love and appreciation for you and our awesomeness :).”
She had also wanted to try painting flowers with a spoon or palette knife, and we ended up using a lot of flower and plant imagery.
To help our project feel cohesive, we first considered working with a limited color palette. I loved all the colors so much, though, that I didn’t want to leave any out.
Our Crafty BFF Painting Plan
- We began each canvas by writing down words of affirmation, notes about and to each other, and just all the silliness and weirdness that defines our lifelong friendship. All of these words would probably get covered up later, so they were like secret messages and mantras.
- Then we both worked on painting first layers, focusing on playing around with the colors and not having a plan. I liked using a big paint brush for this. Amanda discovered her love of painting with a spatula as well as pieces of junk mail.
- After the first layers dried, we worked all our second layers on each other’s first layers. I really enjoyed this part of the project, especially as a person who doesn’t identify as a painter or visual artist. This whole process was already a surprise to me, and swapping canvases made for even more surprises. Sometimes I asked Amanda to totally obliterate my first layer because I didn’t like it at all. I often found myself trying to preserve her first layers by just adding accents with Posca pens. We had never worked with the Poscas before and immediately loved them. Amanda went out and bought more pens the following day.
It may be no surprise to you that this project took WAY longer than we expected. I thought we could turn it around in a day, but we really needed some more time after. I would suggest limiting the number of your canvases if you don’t have a lot of time. We ended up painting 15 canvases which was extremely ambitious. This also turned the living room into a giant pile of art supplies.
The Big BFF Art Reveal
You could use a laser level and accurate measuring to hang a gallery wall. We just used a yardstick and some eyeballing. Our grid is a little wonky, but that’s okay, because so are we.
We are obviously not quitting our day jobs to become professional artists, but I love how our paintings turned out. A lot of Amanda’s first layers inspired me to try new things, which I go into more detail in the captions for each painting below. For instance, I started drawing circular bubbles to highlight some shapes on her first layers. Then, she ended up echoing the bubble shapes on her second layers, too. You will also find your own rhythms and patterns with your friends when you try your collaborative BFF crafts.
I failed to document how some of these canvases dramatically transformed from layer to layer, but there are a lot of funny little stories inside all the paintings that we can both remember every time we look at our wall.