3 ways to turn failed paintings into lovely gifts - because sometimes paintings don't work out and you don't want to throw them away

You know what it’s like.

You had a great idea. You got all fired up to try it. You dived in with gusto. And then…


It just didn’t work out for some reason.

Happens to all of us, and not just once, and not just when you’re a beginner.

Sorry about that.

But also it’s good news, because ‘failed’ paintings – and I use that term with heavy inverted commas in my mind, because every painting teaches us something, even if it’s ‘not that’ – are always a possibility.

Which means there are always going to be opportunities to experiment and play with the ones that didn’t work out.

So we’re actually winning here. 👍

When I have leftover paint on my palette from a painting sesh I often use it up making backgrounds in my sketchbook or, in this case, on a piece of paper taped to the table.

This one sat there for a few days; that brown was really disappointing me.

The plan had been to make a painting with it but I just wasn’t inspired, so I decided to cut it up.

I thought I might stick the cut up pieces in my sketchbook and make a collage, but then I found that tearing them gave them a nicer edge and made them into their own mini paintings.

Obviously there are a bajillion things you can do with tiny paintings, including making them into lovely gifts; I’m sharing a mere three.

1. Make cards.

This one looks like a tiny watercolour landscape; it will make the perfect simple but pretty birthday card for a friend.

2. Make an Envelope of Joy.

I use mine for payments for my Tai Chi teacher each week, but you could use them for all sorts of things.

Pretty wrapping for a store gift card or some other envelope-sized gift, perhaps.

Or you could write a message on it and attach it to a gift as the card.

3.  Write little messages or use the shapes in the pieces to draw images.

I wrote these to myself as these are the sorts of things I need to hear right now, but you could inscribe or stamp anything.

I like the idea of giving these to someone going through a hard time, or leaving them in public places for people to find.

You could also make them into oracle cards, or inspiration cards. Write an action on each one, then shuffle and pull when you’re stuck or feeling uninspired.

👉 Need ideas? This post has you covered!

It’s very pleasing to turn a potential disappointment into something lovely or useful. I’ve found that people love to receive original art.

What would you do with tiny pieces of cut up painting?

👉 For more ways to deal with ‘failed paintings’, see this post, and this post!


Make Cards from Your ArtFancy a simple AND easy project to use up some of those ‘failed’ paintings and recreate them into something lovely?

I have just the thing!

The Make Cards From Your Art workshop shows you a very easy to follow process for repurposing that stack of paintings that didn’t work out or just aren’t going anywhere.

It’s also very affordable at just $9. 😊

Click here to find out more.