Our Military Life Blog

Capture Those PCS Memories with This Crafty DIY!

I began keeping newspapers from every country I visited when my family was stationed in Vilseck, Germany. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them but I knew I wanted a piece of the culture, a piece of history, and a sample of their language to remember my time there. I had accumulated a local German paper, a newspaper from France, and one from the Czech Republic as well when I decided I was going to incorporate them somehow into a work of art. And so… my newspaper canvases came to be!

This was my first piece – using that German newspaper that listed nearby cities that we often visited, restaurants that we enjoyed, fests that we attended, and other current events that we were a part of… It’s something I’ll cherish forever.

Once we relocated back to the United States, our next duty station was still a world away from “home.” We were living outside of Buffalo, NY and I decided that although it’s not an exotic country, I’d like to document our time spent there as well! And so the tradition has continued… now every state or country that we may be moved to, I will always collect a newspaper and create a canvas to capture these places in time.

I’m going to take you step by step on how this is done if you are interested in creating one of these for yourself! Especially for us military families, I think this is a neat way to show off all of the exciting places we have been!

This is what you’ll need:

  • A newspaper
  • A canvas
  • Mod Podge®
  • Thick paintbrush (or foam brush)
  • Black acrylic paint and/or black permanent marker

The first step is to tear pieces out of your newspaper that are appealing to you. I use a mix of pictures and articles, I look for different types and sizes of font for variety, and I search for article titles that are meaningful to me. I look for names of cities that I have been to, school events from my children’s school district, and anything else that will ring a bell later as I look back on my artwork. You can cut things out from the newspaper but I prefer the look of the uneven edges from tearing it with my hands. Once you have collected an assortment of newspaper clippings, place them around on your canvas until you are satisfied with the way it looks. Layer them, angle them, play with them!

Then you will use Mod Podge® just as you would glue to fasten these newspaper clippings to your canvas.

Once you have glued everything down, flip the canvas over and use a flat edge (credit card, etc.) to push out any air bubbles. In the photos below, you will see what your canvas should look like at this point. You will also see what the back edges of your canvas will look like as you just wrap the newspaper articles along the sides of the canvas to cover any blank areas.

You are almost done already! The next step is to cover the entire canvas with another layer of Mod Podge®. It appears milky white as you lay it down but it will dry clear and create a protective layer to make your art work easy to wipe down and it helps preserve these memories for you for years to come! Let this dry completely before the final step.

I have a thing for birds and trees. If you have been following my other DIY or family crafts, you are well aware of this. 🙂 As you saw in my German newspaper canvas above, I drew birds on a telephone pole. For my French and Czech Republic paper I painted birds flocking together on a huge tree. For this New York newspaper canvas I decided to make two love birds with some branches and leaves just framing them in. Use Google for inspiration… if you are interested in a particular animal, search for a photo that you like and do a freehand sketch of what you find. Or I think black silhouettes of a city skyline would be neat too, but you have to be careful not to cover too much of your newspaper with black paint!

Anyway, decide on what you want to paint and use a pencil to make a light sketch and then fill it in with your paintbrush. Another plus to that top coat of Mod Podge® that you applied is that it makes mistakes easy to wipe off – simply use a wet paper towel to smear off paint before it dries and try again. And a little helpful hint – if you are drawing small lines or little designs, a black permanent marker works just as well, if not better, than paint! Check out my final product:

Do you think that was paint or marker?? 🙂


I would love love LOVE to see your finished artwork!!!! Share your photos with me below!!


If you are interested in more DIY canvas projects, check out this Photo with Lyrics that I made!

For another newspaper craft, check out my Watercolor Newspaper Art!


For more fun projects or family friendly crafts, follow me on MyMilitarySavings.com!


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