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Easy DIY Lion King Canvas Painting for a Disney Family Paint Night

Posted in disney, and DIY

You’ve probably all seen those “paint and wine” places. The ones where there’s an instructor that shows you step by step how to paint a landscape or bowl of fruit… It’s a lot of fun but 1) they’re usually adults only and 2) I’m really only interested in hanging art in my house if its fandom (preferably Disney) related.

So Vince and I decided to have our own family paint night with the kids!

Our Lion King Paintings


Since we’ve been in the mood for all things The Lion King lately, we decided that would be the theme for the evening and I gotta say I was BLOWN AWAY by the results. We are not painters by any stretch of the imagination but this was such a fun and easy project and we ended up with some really incredible art for the living room. I’ve included instructions as well as the outline for the stencils we used below if you want to paint exactly what we did. BUT, keep in mind that this method can work with any character or design you desire. In any case, please feel free to tag me on Instagram if you decide to have your own paint night using his method. I’d love to see them and share a few!

What you’ll need:

  • blank canvas
  • acrylic paint (you’ll need black for sure, but the other colors are up to you. We used red, orange, and yellow)
  • wide painters tape (the widest you can find)
  • 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of wax paper
  • crafting knife (preferred) or- sharp scissors
  • paint brushes
  • sponges (optional)

What to do:

Step 1

In preparation for the project, you’ll first need to paint your entire canvas black. It will need several hours to dry completely so I recommend doing this ahead of time.

Step 2

Print out the Lion King from this blog post (two options below). The image will be already inverted (I’ll explain why later).
If you are using your own image, be sure to invert it first before printing it out.

Step 3

Take your wax paper and place a strip of tape along the bottom, from left to right, then add another strip above that one overlapping the first. Continue this process up the page until the wax paper is completely covered in tape.

Step 4

Now flip the tape-covered wax paper upside down and place it on top of your stencil (the page you printed in step 1). Using your crafting knife, carefully cut the wax paper along the lines of the stencil. (You could also trace with a pen or marker before cutting if that is easier for you–especially if using scissors).

When you are done, flip the wax paper back over.
[Pro tip: if you have vinyl and/or a vinyl cutter, you can skip this step altogether and use that to create your stencil instead.]

Step 5

Carefully (very carefully) peel the wax paper from the back of the tape, just like you would a sticker. Once it is peeled, place the “sticker” down on the center of your canvas. 
[Note: If you are painting something with multiple shapes, you will have multiple stickers and may place them where you desire. For our Lion King painting where Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa are walking across the log, we first taped off the bottom of the canvas to create the “log,” then added the characters on top.]

Step 6

Now you’re ready to paint! You can use paintbrushes, sponges, or both. Vince also used a paper plate to get the sun just right, while Caleb did his free-hand. I painted with brushes and used sponges to blend my ombres and Zoe chose to use sponges for the entire thing (a great option for younger children still developing fine motor skills, btw). There’s no wrong way to do this. Get creative and have fun, but keep in mind not to paint too heavily over the stickers as they will begin to saturate and lift. When the paint has dried for about 15-20 minutes, carefully peel the stickers from the canvas to reveal your silhouettes. (Don’t wait until the paint is completely dry because the sticker will be harder to lift).

There may be some paint that seeped underneath the stencil so if you are a perfectionist like my husband, you can take a small, fine brush and go over the edges to clean it up or you can revel in the imperfections like yours truly and leave them be. I’ll leave that up to you. 

The important thing is that you had fun and got to spend some quality time creating something beautiful with your family.