How To Make Bird Artworks from Paint Chips

To support 2013 Bird Week, Shaynna Blaze has re-imagined the humble paint swatch and created spectacular pieces of art. Our Craft Expert Penelope Quinn tells us more.

Shaynna's an expert at creating something out of nothing, and here, she has unleashed her creativity onto a canvas with Taubmans paint chips, with stunning results.  

“What makes this project so beautiful is the subject you choose to create – the birds gave me a colourful subject matter,” Shaynna said. I wanted to concentrate on native Australian birds and the more I looked into it I realized some of what we consider the most common birds are actually threatened." 

This year, Shayna and Taubmans paired up with Birdlife Australia and will soon be auctioning off the signed artworks, with all proceeds going towards supporting the conservation of Australia’s native birds and natural habitats.

While Shaynna has put her expert touch on these eye-catching pieces, this is an easy craft for anyone to try, and it lends itself to a variety of materials.

“You could use any materials at all!  Fabrics, post it notes and anything you can cut easily,” said Shaynna.

“Skill-wise, the cutting and pasting is very easy but if you aren’t confident in getting the shape right I would suggest getting someone to do that part for you.  The hardest part is getting the eyes and the beaks right, so this takes a bit more time.”


  1. The first step was to look at how many colours would be needed to create the birds and gathered the Taubmans paint chips necessary to construct. This varied depending on the bird type.
  2. Then I sketched the shape of the bird on a pre-stretched canvas (this can be purchased from any arts/crafts shop)  I went for 1000mm x 1000mm and 1200 x 900mm sizes.
  3. Then it was a case of looking at the varying sizes of the birds’ feathers.  The tails have longer feathers and the chest has much sorter feather lengths so you’ll need to cut the paint chips accordingly.
  4. Cut at least 20-30 of each size to see how they work to the shape and texture of the bird.  I laid out the pieces and worked with the shapes. Once I was happy with knowing what shape and size went where I set about cutting the rest of the ‘feathers’. I used a basic pair of sharp scissors and sat for a few hours and cut – watch out for blisters!
  5. To secure them to the canvas, I used basic white craft glue and glued only the tip of the paint chip ‘feather’ so that ends lift off the canvas, giving texture like bird feathers.
  6. Keep laying them out, gluing and shaping the pieces and voila!


For more information about Birdlife Australia, visit

Taubman’s will auction off Shanyna’s works will be auctioned off during birdweek 2013 with all proceeds going to BirdLife Australia, who are dedicated to the conservation of native Australian Birds and their habitats.

The artworks can also be found in Taubmans new Colour Look Book Birds of a Feather, on sale now at Bunnings.

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