What? An oil paining? That’s stupid! It sure was. I wanted a Hogwarts Express sign for the girls birthday party but would be using it as decoration in one of their rooms also. That is why I decided to do this on canvas rather than just printing a large copy, or painting on poster board. Why oil? Because it was on sale! Learn from my mistakes, use acrylic. Just kidding. The oil actually had an aged look about it. It didn’t feel new and crisp which is what you want with and HP Party. Just remember, oil takes soooooooooo long to dry, even with additives you put in the paint to help dry time. Truly, you may need at least a 1 month lead time.

I purchased a 48 x 24 inch canvas.  One of the craft stores had Bob Ross stuff on clearance so I got Alizarin Crimson, Midnight black, Titanium White and Yellow Ochre.  I got metallic gold from another brand.  If you decide to go the oil route, get Weber LiquiGlaze Natural.  I ended up getting it because it cuts drying time of the oil.  I bought the Bob Ross 1/2” floral bright artist brush and the 3/4” floral bright artist brush (did I mention it was on clearance).  I also purchased a 11 x 14 gesso art board to be the “9 3/4” sign.


I painted the canvas with the crimson and added just a super small touch of black. I didn’t blend the paints as opposed to mixed a little. I wanted black streaks in the red. I also added a little Bob Ross oil medium , because, at this time, I didn’t know how long oils took to dry. The oil medium increases the dry time. Whoops. However, it does smooth the application the oil. So after waiting more than a week for the first layer to dry (we are in a very humid area also-fyi), I researched drying mediums, added to my paint and did a second layer. I used the red and black mixture again.

While I was waiting for forever for the layers to dry, I ordered “Hogwarts Express” and “9 3/4” stencils from this etsy seller.  She made it for my size painting by using a picture I sent her of the sign and giving her the dimensions of the canvas.  It was fantastic and she was extremely professional.

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After the second layer dried, I got my stencils and positioned them on the painting. I tried keeping them in place with painters tape, but it wouldn’t hold them. I ended up using electrical tape. Fortunately, I didn’t keep them on there for long so it didn’t strip away any of the paint. I painted the Hogwarts express stencil and the border in the gold. It took 2 coats at different times because of the drying time and because I was covering a darker color with a lighter one.

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I cut the gesso board to the oval shape of the “9 3/4” sign.  I used a Dremel tool with a sanding attachment to smooth the edges.  I painted the black “9 3/4” first, because I wanted the numbers to be crisp.  I was concerned that if I painted the base and had difficulty keeping the stencil in place afterwards, the numbers would get sloppy.

I painted the base color with titanium white and  a super small amount of yellow ochre.  Just start with white in the bowl and add a little yellow ochre. I used the back side of a plastic spoon to blend.  I just kept adding yellow until it was the right shade of cream.  I also added the liquiglaze to reduce the drying time.  I did 2 coats and touched up if any black smudges were showing.  After the base dried, I painted the black ring on the outside.   I used a #2 oil brush in order to keep the lines neat.

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I downloaded the Hogwarts crest and printed on regular paper.  I used a laminating machine to encase the crest, then cut it out using a pen knife.

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I attached all the parts to look like the original and had our sign.

I had put this by the entrance to our door for the party.  I made a faux brick wall (click here for tutorial) and covered the door so they could do as Harry did on Platform 9 3/4.

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