7 Paint and Sip Painting Surface Alternatives instead of Canvas

Sharing is caring!

When I teach my paint and sip classes, most of the time the students each have a canvas to paint on. But, sometimes I like to switch things up and use different painting surfaces or substrates.

There are no hard rules about paint and sip painting surfaces. Sure, most of the time you see paint and sip students using canvases, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t learn to paint on other surfaces.

In fact, it can be loads of fun to use other surfaces for their creations.

Today we are going to take a look at some of my favorite alternatives to canvas for paint and sip parties using acrylic paints. 

Let’s get into more details on different alternative painting surfaces for paint and sip. Here’s what can be used instead of canvas:

#1. Mirrors

I absolutely love painting on mirrors! This is a great substrate to paint on, and ideal for painters of all skill levels. You can buy inexpensive mirrors at dollar stores that won’t cost any more than a traditional canvas.

Unlike painting on a canvas, you don’t have to cover the entire surface when painting on a mirror. Of course, you can do this, but it isn’t necessary.

I like teaching students how to create a painting that surrounds the mirror. This way, their artwork will stand out, and the now-decorative mirror can still be used as a mirror.

Prep the Surface

When painting on mirrors, it is important to prep the surface before painting. This simply involves using a soft cloth or paper towel and some window cleaner to get rid of any streaks or marks on the surface.

#2. Glass

Painting on glass is pretty much the same as painting on mirrors. The surface will need to be prepared prior to painting.

You can choose to have the painting cover the outer edge of the glass, or cover the entire piece. Personally, I think it looks really neat to leave some of the glass unpainted.

You can also try glass bottle painting to make things interesting.

#3. Wood Cookies

Another fun painting surface is wood, which is also one of the best oil painting surfaces, and I especially enjoy painting on wood cookies. These are basically slices of wood from a thick branch or smaller tree trunks.

The bark is left on the wood, giving it a more rustic appeal. I usually treat the bark with a glaze before a paint and sip class. That way, it isn’t going to rot or flake off later on.

I always prep the surface of wood cookies before a paint night event with a wood sealant. This is going to save a lot of time, and the students can jump right into creating their masterpieces.

Another similar choice is masonite. Check my guide to learn how to paint masonite.

#4. Furniture

While this isn’t something I commonly teach, I do have some smaller paint and sip classes where students want to paint on a small piece of wood furniture.

I love it when this happens, because the students generally bring their own furniture to paint on. This saves me a lot of money on canvases or other painting substrates.

Get Students to Prep Prior to the Paint Party

When students want to paint on furniture, I usually tell them to prep the piece before the paint and sip party. This involves sanding down the surface to remove old paint or stain, allowing the paint to adhere to the wood.

Furniture is Fun to Paint On

I like to have each student painting the same type of furniture. In some cases, it may be the seat of a wooden chair or even the top of a small end table.

#5. Fabric

Who doesn’t love to own one-of-a-kind clothing items? I really enjoy teaching fabric painting classes.

The great thing about these classes is that the students can use any article of clothing and any type of fabric. Leather is ideal for painting classes, although it does need to be prepped first to ensure that the paint will adhere.

You don’t necessarily need to have special fabric paints for this, unless you are doing very specific types of painting, such as on silk. Generally, I bring acrylic paints, or inexpensive sets of fabric paint, which is a type of acrylic paint anyway.

#6. Paper

Paper can be tricky for painting unless you use paper that is made for painting. When I teach watercolor paint and sip classes, I bring a book of watercolor paper and give one sheet to each student.

Watercolor Paper

You can buy a book of watercolor paper that has about 40 sheets (this should be plenty for a paint class) for around $20.

Multimedia Paper

Another option is to use multimedia art paper. The only issue I have with this is that it isn’t as thick or sturdy as watercolor paper.

You can check these painting ideas to get more inspiration.

#7. Polymer Clay

I also love sculpting and sometimes include it in my classes. To keep things simple, I often choose jewelry items.

The students use the polymer clay to create a pendant or a pair of earrings. Then, the clay pieces are baked in an oven for about 15 minutes. During this time, students can enjoy a break with a glass of wine and some snacks.

Once the pieces are baked, they only take a couple of minutes to cool down enough to paint on. Acrylic paints are ideal for painting on polymer clay. The students can create their own designs, or follow along with the design that I am painting.

In Closing

One of the things I love most about painting is that one can use just about any surface for their art. Even if you don’t have a canvas, you can always find something interesting or cheaper to paint on.

I always encourage my sip and paint students to use their imaginations when it comes to finding alternatives to canvas for their paintings. It brings a whole new dimension to a paint night event, and each student leaves with something that they are actually going to use.

Check my guide on other things you need for a paint and sip.

*image by Dmyrto_Z/depositphotos