ThyCa Survivors Wall Art


Okay, I couldn’t let September slip by without doing a little project to represent all of the ThyCa Survivors out there.  This is something that could be personalized as small gift to someone just to say “I’m thinking of you”.  It could certainly be altered for any survivor, just check out this handy list for ribbon colors.  I am also still working on my personal thyroid cancer story.  I guess I had more to say about my journey than I thought!  It will be posted before the end of the month, so stay tuned!  Now, on with the crafting!

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Materials Needed

All of the items below are related to the canvas I created.  If you are making one for a different ribbon, you may need different templates/colors than I used.


  • 8 x 10 stretch canvas – You’ll definitely need the stretch canvas for the “open work” part of this project.
  • acrylic paint – These should be in the colors that match the survivor ribbon.  I had to mix some of mine to get the color I wanted.
  • sponge – The one I used is an Ocello sponge I got on clearance because it was shaped like a Christmas tree!  Sea sponges are great for painting with as well.
  • paint marker – I used a Sharpie oil based paint marker in gold.
  • scrapbook paper – Pick something that matches the paint colors you are using.ribbon-template-001
  • butterfly template – I cut out a butterly shape from some scrapbook paper.  You can use a butterfly punch  or butterfly stencil if you like.  These are going on my “need to get” list!
  • ribbon template – I made my template, just click on the image to the right and download your free copy!  Or you can use this set here.
  • glue – I used this Elmer’s Permanent Tape Runner.  This is easier to use for a project like this.
  • ribbon – This is optional and just helps cover the edges of the canvas.
  • x-acto knife – For cutting the canvas.


Painting the Canvas

The colors I chose were based on the ThyCa Survivor ribbon colors.  On the ThyCa Survivor’s Association website, they list the colors as follows:

The new pin comes in the traditional shape and size of awareness ribbons. It highlights the three thyroid cancer awareness colors: blue, pink/purple, and teal. Thyroid cancer survivor Cherie LC selected these colors more than five years ago as part of her volunteer contributions to ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association. She noted that blue represents the throat energy center, purple/pink represents spiritual influences in healing, and teal is a healing color.

When I look at the colors on the website, it appears to be teal, purple, and pink.  What do you think?  Anyway, I used colors I had to get as close to it as possible.  I started with a blank canvas, which somehow got gold paint on it before I started.  Can’t imagine how that happened!  I angled the ribbon template so that it would fit on the canvas.  You can use a temporary adhesive to hold this down, but I just held it down with my hand.


Dip the sponge in the first color and dab off the excess.  I used a swiping motion to get the effect, adding one color at a time.


Adding the Butterflies – ThyCa Survivors Symbol

The thyroid is though of as the “butterfly gland” because of it’s shape.  Amazingly enough, I didn’t have a butterfly template among all the templates in my stash.  So, I cut out a butterfly shape from some scrapbook paper using my Cutter Bee scissors.  {These scissors are worth the price – I’ve had them for at least 10 years and they still cut great!}  I traced it onto the back of the scrapbook paper I was using and cut them all out by hand.  Now you know why I want one of those punches!


I used the original cut out to trace a butterfly in the center of the ribbon with the gold paint marker.  I also filled in the body with the marker.


Use the x-acto knife to cut the canvas along the butterfly outline.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, just go over the edges with the paint marker.  I also added the antennas at this point.

cut-it-out 3d-butterfly

Bend the butterfly cut-out at the center and attach it to the center of the canvas cut-out with the runner tape.  Then fill in the body with the paint marker.  I curled the winds around the end of the x-acto knife to give it more lift.


I filled in about half of the ribbon with the rest of the cut-outs, adding antennas and bodies with the paint marker.  When I had all the butterflies in place, I traced the outline of the ribbon.


I added more swirls on the ribbon and dots in the background with the paint marker.


I added ribbon to the edge of the canvas with the runner tape to give it a more finished edge.  You can overlap the edges for a cleaner finish.


All finished!


Sometimes words are hard to find when you’re a co-survivor, but a small gift, especially handmade, can speak volumes.  Adding a name, date, or special phrase will help personalize this.  If you know any ThyCa Survivors, I’m sure this would brighten their day!  I hope this sparks ideas for all survivors and co-survivors!  Y’all have a wonderful Wednesday!



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