Valentine’s Day XO Canvas

Image contains four pink markers, candy hearts, and a square canvas with pink "xo" letters.

Valentine’s Day is less than a month away, so it’s the perfect time for some DIY decor! Here’s a fun little canvas project you can display or give as a gift to someone you love. Take a look…

You’ll Need:

Tombow Dual Brush Pens (I used 755, 743, 723, and 761)

Tombow Mono Twin

Tombow ABT PRO (PN75)

Pencil and eraser

Water Brush

White paint and small paintbrush, or white paint pen

Tombow Mono Glue Pen

Fine Glitter (I used pink and silver)

Square canvas


Step 1: Lightly sketch an “xoxo” design.

Use a pencil to sketch your letters very lightly on the canvas. If you like, you can use a straight edge like a ruler to line them up, or you can freehand them for a more handmade effect.


Image contains a white canvas with pencil sketches, a pencil, an eraser, and four pink markers.

Step 2: Add color inside each letter, working from dark to light.

You can fill the letters in any way you like. For my top left “x,” I put the darkest color at the top and bottom, then got progressively lighter as I worked toward the center. For the “x” on the bottom right, I did the opposite, starting with the darkest shade in the center and working outward with the lighter colors.

Image is a collage of the steps of shading in letters with various shades of pink markers.

Step 3: Use a water pen to blend the colors, working from dark to light.

Fill the barrel of a water pen with clean water and gently apply it on top of the colored areas of the canvas. As the water contacts the marker ink, it will begin to move and blend. Use the pen like a paintbrush, moving the ink around until you are pleased with the effect.

Image contains assorted markers and a canvas with pink "xo" letters, along with a water pen.

Step 4: Outline each letter with a black permanent marker.

I used the Tombow Mono Twin, but you could also use an ABT PRO. This needs to be done with a permanent marker, though, or the black will bleed into colored letters. For a different effect, you could also outline with a pink or red permanent marker.

Step 5: Add shadows.

Use a permanent grey marker to add a shadow effect. I did this on the right side of each letter, as if the light source were coming in from the left of the canvas. This will give your letters a 3-dimensional feel.

Image contains a hand holding a grey marker and a square canvas with pink "xo" letters.

If you like, you can stop here and display your canvas. However, if you agree with me that glitter makes everything better, let’s head on to the next step.

Step 6: Use the Mono Glue Pen to make tiny heart shapes inside the letter, then apply glitter.

Shake off the excess glitter, and you’ll be left with a series of little sparkly hearts inside each letter. I used pink glitter for the “x”s and silver for the “o”s, but you can use anything you prefer.

Image contains marker drawn letters on canvas, one covered with pink glitter.

Step 7: Add highlights.

Use a white paint pen or white paint and a fine detail brush to apply a highlight line to each letter. This will add to the three-dimensional effect.

Image contains a white canvas with pink "xo" letters.

Now your canvas is ready to display! You can create all kinds of unique art using these same basic steps; instead of the “xo” pattern, try a word, a monogram, a name, a heart, or anything else that feels festive. If you try this project, I’d love to see what you create!

Image contains a square canvas with pink "xo" letters, and candy hearts.

If you’re not already a member of the Amy Latta & Friends Facebook Group, make sure to hop in and join so you can share your latest project photos and we can all be inspired! It’s also a great place to ask questions about lettering and crafting. Hope to see you there.

Image contains a square canvas with pink "xo" letters and four markers.

PS. Make sure to check out these other fun Valentine’s Day projects!

Lots of Hearts Mug

Glitter Hearts Canvas

Plush Hearts

Printable Gift Ideas

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