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3-D Funky Paintings

Robert Stadnycki shares his process for this unique contemporary-style 3-D art piece.

Much thanks to Robert Stadnycki for this project.

Materials and Tools:

1/4" luan plywood
2" x 2" lumber
found objects
wood knobs
variety of semi-gloss latex paint
metallic glazes
ribbed tool
poly acrylic sealer
drywall screws
construction glue
paint tray
combing tool
electric saw
vice grips
sander and sandpaper
bottle paints
flexible masking tape
putty wood filler
safety goggles
respirator or dust mask


1. Select acrylic paints to be used as a base for the piece. A light purple/raspberry will be used as an under base and black is always perfect. Purple and rose hues complement darker tones.

2. To create the frame for the wall hanging cut four pieces of 2" x 2" lumber with an electric saw.

  • Cut two pieces six feet long
  • Cut two pieces two feet long Wear safety equipment when operating an electric saw.

3. Cut four 13 inch long pieces of 2" x 2" lumber for the inner frame, which will form the display window of the piece.

4. Attach the two long (six feet) and two shorter (two feet) pieces together creating a rectangular frame using construction adhesive and drywall screws. Let glue dry.

5. Lay a piece of luan wood on top of the frame and cut it to the size of frame, right side down, and smooth side up.

Figure B

6. Drill pilot holes for the screws along the frame. Screw the luan wood to the frame to secure the luan to the frame while the glue dries (figure B).

7. Once the glue is dry, remove all the screws. The glue is strong enough to hold the frame and luan together. Fill in the holes with wood putty.

Figure C

8. Flip the frame over, exposing the back side of the piece. Make a box from the four pieces of the 13-inch wood on the bottom of the piece. Glue in place on the luan with construction adhesive. Screw the wood pieces into the luan with drywall screws (figure C). Let dry.

9. Drill four holes in each corner of the interior frame. Cut out the luan wood inside the frame with a jigsaw creating a "window."

Figure D

10. Flip the piece back over and sand the smooth side of the luan (figure D). This will be the "canvas" for the painting.

11. Prime the surface area and let dry.

12. Pour several different colors of semi-gloss paints into a paint tray, slightly mix them together and roll them onto the luan wood to create a marbleized background.

Figure E

13. Combine purple and green paint on the roller and roll over the background (figure E).

Figure F

14. Dip a paintbrush into both the purple and green paint and randomly tap the brush on top of the wet paint (step 13) (figure F). With a new brush very sporadically spot the entire "canvas" with black semi-gloss paint.

Figure G

15. Repeat with a terra cotta color (figure G). Tip: Paint is applied wet on wet.

16. Blend all the colors using the previous roller (while all the paint is still wet) moving quickly.

Figure H

17. Create eight horizontal stripes on the "canvas" using masking tape (figure H). This will create a stripe pattern and allow for the previous background color to be visible in taped areas. The non taped areas will have a new fun color. Mix pink raspberry and purple paint with glaze to extend the drying time and provide a translucency to the paint.

Figure I

18. Coat the glaze (step 16) over the entire surface, including the taped area, using a brush (figure I).

19. While the paint is still wet add wavy squiggles using a rubber-ribbed triangle-combing tool. Let paint dry with the new design.

Figure J

19. Remove the tape to reveal the new stripe pattern (figure J). Make sure squiggles aren’t bleeding onto the existing surface before continuing.

Figure K

20. Mask the bottom portion of the piece with tape creating a serpentine border. Then paint the entire area below the tape black (figure K). Add squiggles if desired. Let dry and remove tape.

21. Mask the top portion of the piece with tape (a straight stripe from end to end) then paint the entire area above the tape aqua. Add squiggles if desired. Let dry and remove the tape.

Figure L

22. Add another figure with mustard circles in the center of piece with a paintbrush (figure L). Let dry.

Figure M

23. Mask off triangles on the aqua section and paint the inside of each triangle with a darker mixed color (figure M).

24. Add another color wash over the black area. While it is still wet run the squiggle tool through the paint to create a wavy texture.

25. Paint a large metallic swirl in the middle of the piece.

Figure N

26. Randomly paint small swirls, circles and dots all around the surface area with bottle paints (figure N).

27. Paint a piece of luan wood in assorted colors using a roller.

28. Cut it down to fit the back of the open area "window".

Figure O

29. Attach painted wooden balls to the painted side of the luan wood. Screw the balls in place from the back (figure O).

30. Screw the entire luan board to the back inside window frame and make sure the painted area with the balls is showing through the "window".

31. Seal the entire piece with a poly acrylic coating.

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