Joy to the World: Mixed Media Tutorial
Emily Copeland

Joy to the world; the Lord is come! Art is a wonderful way to share that joy and connect your kids with the heart of the Christmas celebration: Christ.

If you haven’t explored mixed media art before, the Christmas season is a great time to start and can be done with all of your children. This Joy to the World project is perfect for beginners because it doesn’t require precision, yet it provides practice with several different art elements.

Mixed media art is a good option for kids because it allows them to take breaks between the steps. Even young children can work for a few moments and then run off to play during a drying stage.

For this project, you will need:

  • Canvas panel or stretched canvas
  • Acrylic craft paints
  • Sponge paint brushes
  • Mod Podge
  • Scrapbook paper (You can purchase a Christmas-themed package of paper or buy individual sheets from a craft store like we did.)
  • Black Sharpie
  • Paper towel or napkin
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paint pen (optional)
  • Template (optional)
Berries graphic
Acrylic paint poured on a canvas
Berries graphic
Be sure to have all the needed supplies on hand before you begin. The supply list for this project is a bit long, but most of these items are common art and craft supplies.
Canvas painted by sponge paint brush with pattern
Cutting out the word joy and phrase joy to the world
1. Paint the Canvas

Begin by painting the surface of the canvas with your chosen paint colors. This will provide the background for the artwork and can be a single color or a blend of colors.

If you choose to mix your selected colors, consider lightly “painting” your canvas with water first. This will create a smoother blending of colors during the painting process.

2. Add Scrapbook Paper

Prepare the scrapbook paper elements while waiting for the painted canvas to dry. Using a pencil, trace the letters J and Y onto one page of scrapbook paper and cut them out. You can freehand these letters or use a template.

Next, trace and cut out the O from a page with a complementary pattern. You can use the O from the template for this, but a three-wick candle lid or something of similar size is also good for this step. As an added bonus, leaving the circle intact makes for easier cutting and allows you to turn the O into a Christmas ornament.

When the painted canvas is completely dry, use the Mod Podge to glue the letters to the surface. This is also a good time to add the “to the world” text found on the template. You can write this in later using a paint pen if you prefer.

Pine tree branch illustration
The word joy and phrase joy to the world being glued to the canvas
A round object being used to trace a perfect circle onto paper
3. Outline and Accent

There’s lots of room for creativity in the last step of the project. Choose from a couple of these accent ideas, or use all of them to complete your artwork. You can even create your own accents using items like paper towels, paint pens, and Sharpies.

With a pencil eraser and an accent color from your paint selections, gently stamp dots of paint onto the canvas.

Scrunch a paper towel together and use it to dab paint splotches in the blank areas of the canvas. This fills in the empty spots and can also add shimmer if using a glitter-paint blend. (Note, if an artist gets a little zealous in this step, you can remove some of the accent paint by continuing to dab with a clean paper towel before it dries. Dabs of the original paint color can also be added to cover accidents.)

Once the surrounding areas are dry, use the Sharpie to outline the letters and paper strips. You can also repeat this step with a paint pen.

If you used a circle for the O in JOY, draw an ornament hanger with a paint pen and outline it with the Sharpie once it dries.

Seal the mixed media art with one complete layer of Mod Podge over the entire canvas. When that sealing layer dries, your Joy to the World project is ready to display and enjoy!

Sponge painting texture onto the canvas
Finished Joy to the world art piece

mily Copeland is a homeschool mom of two living in coastal North Carolina. She offers help and hope for home educators at