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DIY X-Files Painting

After a very long hiatus, I AM BACK.
Sorry for the delay.

Let’s jump right into it, shall we?

Tomorrow is another Geek Girl Brunch in Chicago, and the theme is Reopening the X-Files.

Needless to say, I’m absolutely stoked.

In honor of the brunch subject, and my new found obsession with the X-Files, I made you a little tutorial for a painting of the iconic ‘I WANT TO BELIEVE’ poster from the show.

It’s pretty easy to do, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

Check it out, here’s the finished painting:

So, gather your supplies.

Starting to paint


I used a large cheap canvas (Got it on sale from Michael’s for $5!!), some cheap acrylic paint ($0.66 each from Michael’s) in the colors Hunter Green, White, Black and Bright Blue (to get the various shades, just mix the colors with black or white, depending on the look you’re going for), some paintbrushes (about $0.20 each, but I bought a big variety pack), vinyl letter (I used 2 inch) and some water.

So first, plan out your letters. I just drew some pen lines based on where I roughly though the letters belonged, based on my reference photo of the original poster.

Add vinyl stickers


Next, take the hunter green (or whatever bottom color you’ve chosen), and use it to lay the base layer of paint over the bottom 1/4 or 1/3 of the canvas. I used letters that didn’t stick very well, so my first layer is a little choppy looking, since I was trying to carefully paint over the letters. Once I did this, he letter stuck on the canvas, so I could use a rougher touch later (which is good, because I mixed hunter green and a little black together for the 2nd and third layers on the green parts).

first layer of paint


Next comes the sky. First, ‘paint’ the rest of the canvas with water. Not enough to soak it, but this will help us blend the sky paint.
I mixed the bright blue paint with the white paint, not fully mixing the paint (it will look a little marbled – that’s the look I like). Slather it on the canvas, dipping your brush in a little water in you need it to smooth and blend it. It should look like a nice, smooth mix of shades of blue and white. niiiiiiice.

finished sky and ground


Now, add the rough shapes of the trees. I used the original poster as a reference for my shapes. Don’t worry about being perfect – you’ll paint over parts of them now, and fix the details later.

rough shape of trees


Add in some clouds. I basically started with plain white paint on a smaller brush and continually smushed it on the painting. Then, for the details, I made a little blue-gray paint by mixing white, black and blue- I used this as the darker parts of the clouds. Create whatever shades you want by changing the amounts of each color you use! This is your painting!

add some clouds

This next photos shows several steps.
One was adding the bottom of the UFO, to gauge the placement and shape between the clouds.
The other is that part I mentioned would happen a bit ago- slightly painting over the trees. In the original, there’s far off mountains/trees, that are shown by various shades of green/gray (depending on what version you look at). In my photo, I just show the random layers I made for those hills. The shades were created by mixing the hunter green with a little white, painting that layer of hills, and then mixing even more white, and then painting another layer on top. Does that make sense? I don’t communicate well. Just check the picture. Or as questions – I’m always here.

start the UFO and clean up

Next, paint the top of the UFO – I mixed black, white and green for a green/gray shade.
I also re-detailed the trees here and blended the paint down the canvas again.

re-detail trees

Final details on the painting: for me, that’s some touches on the UFO, blending the bottom a bit more, and cleaning up the sky a bit. Use water if you want to re-blend.

Almost Done!


Now, WAIT UNTIL THE PAINTING IS COMPLETELY DRY. I just did some other stuff around the apartment for an hour, then came back. When the painting is dry, peel off your vinyl letters from the bottom of the painting.

Before Clean Letters

The letters may have gotten a little paint under them, so just freshen up the messy spots with some of the white paint.

Clean Up Letters

AND VOILA!!!
You’ve got your own X-Files painting.
Put it on display, boo. Be proud.
I won’t lie, I was so happy, I kept giggling to myself. Alone. In my Apartment.
Like a loser.


Finished X-Files Painting


But a really cool loser, you know?

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10 Comments

  • Heather @ Beyond the Aisle

    LOVE it!

    January 25, 2016 at 4:32 pm
  • Katy

    I’ve longed to buy or paint the I Want to Believe poster, and this is something I’m definitely gonna try. Thank you!

    January 26, 2016 at 8:09 pm
    • Stephy

      I’m stoked that you like it! If you paint your own, I definitely want to see it!! I’m so excited!

      January 26, 2016 at 8:55 pm
  • Geralynn

    It’s a joy to find soneome who can think like that

    January 16, 2017 at 12:49 am
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    There’s a terrific amount of knedlowge in this article!

    January 16, 2017 at 1:14 am
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    January 16, 2017 at 3:49 am
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    January 16, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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