City Sounds Project Piano how to paint an old piano

Tattered Angles Paint Becomes A Small Part Of City Sounds Project Piano by Heather Kindt

Founders Larry James and Kathryn saw pianos as a way to offer an instant, public way for music loves to engage in the community, whether you are the one playing, listening or enjoying the beauty of each painted work of art.  They worked together with the city councel of Des Moines to create what is now knows as the City Sounds – The DesMoines Public Piano Project.
We were so excited when artist and CCB Crew Member, Heather Kindt contacted us to let us know she would be creating a piano for the 2018 season.  We of course had to ask lots of questions and find out about this great project.  how to paint an old piano

Here is how it works in simple terms, but you can go to their website to learn more or even consider being a sponsor.  The working pianos are donated to the organization and wait patiently to be painted by a local or regional artist.  The pianos are then sponsored by a local business or organization who takes on the responsibility to keep an eye on them during the May-October timeframe they are on public display.  Each painted piano is set in place and fitted with a protective “jacket” that is put on each night or during bad weather, by the sponsor, to keep it the piano in good working order.  The piano is open and free during the day for anyone to play, listen or enjoy its beauty.  Matching sponsors, pianos, artists and locations is quite a task that the organization takes on.  If there are not enough sponsors this year, the pianos may wait until next year to find their new home.  The pianos can be found throughout the city.

paint for painting a piano

The piano was sun bleached and no longer black. The black paint was perfect for stenciling on some texture. I also stenciled some in grey.

We thought it would be fun to walk your through Heather’s design process and we hope we find out where this stunning piano finds it’s home in Des Moines.

CCB:  What drew you to the piano you painted?

Heather:  It was the only black one.

Tattered Angels Paints come in a rainbow of colors. They are water-soluble and they are the best paints for repurposing furniture and even pianos.

CCB:  What inspired your design?

Heather:  Poppies are my favorite and poppies with a bit of dripping paint have become my signature.   I had to have an idea when I applied to participate. I described the poppy idea, but only thought to use text once I was selected. I visualized the piano for 2 weeks because I couldn’t get in to work on it during the first half of April. I wanted a layered look, and embrace the urban art vibe.



The other have of the imagery is a wheat field. I often put a wheat field next to poppies because I saw such a field in France. The two fields together reminded me of a Monet painting.

painted poppies

This was my first major poppy painting and I have been painting them ever since.

CCB:  How long did the entire project take you?

Heather:  I did the painting in 5 sessions. Each was 3-5 hours.  The most difficult part to paint was the large area under the key board. I sat on the floor and had to even lay down for a bit. The dust covered me and it was tricky to write the letters. I also had to take into consideration that that part was hard to see.

how to paint a piano

I made the poppy huge and the writing large. It was an extra challenge because the lights stayed on with a motion sensor. If no one else was there, the light would go off every few minutes. Then I had to get up and move around until the lights came back on. That would be just annoying, but I’m not as spritely as I once was so it took effort and some awareness so I did not knock over any paint containers.

CCB:  What Tattered Angels Paints did you use?

Heather:  Decor and DIY Paint, High Impact Paint and Glimmer Glam Paint – The are perfect for the finished surface and the colors popped.  The Glimmer Glam let me add a bit of glitter to the flowers too.

High Impact Paint

I have a method to the poppies I planned to use and you can see in some of the photos the orange and yellow I painted on the petals to lighten parts under the red. The stems are veridian and yellow. I also used High Impact paints in green. The petals got some glitter glam for texture and variation in the red tones. The high impact paint in red went on top to add the shine.

CCB:  We love the poems and words that are all over the piano, what inspired you to add them?

Heather: The writing is a collection of quotes about music. They are from a variety of sources from classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven, to modern musicians including Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel and Eminem. The rest of the quotes are from non-musicians: Einstein, Tolstoy, Plato, Confucius, Darwin, Lao Tzu, Jane Austen and Johnny Depp.

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry every day of his life….

CCB: What was the biggest challenge you face?

Heather: The space where the pianos were stored was a pretty tight space, but the biggest challenge was the dust. It was like normal construction dust and it would cover my clothing, shoes and the piano itself. I had to keep wipes handy and wipe off the piano right before painting.

where can i donate my piano

If you have a piano to donate, they are looking for great condition older pianos for the City Sounds Project.

CCB: Where do the pianos come from and where are they stored?

Heather:  Here you can see the room and some of the other pianos.  The pianos were stored in a building that has many art studios. Mainframe Studios were built to provide economical priced studios for artists. They have an ongoing event called First Friday. The pianos will be on display in the gallery area there. On the lower level there is a room where the pianos were stored.  When they are sponsored for display in the public, they will move from this space to the real world.

Heather resides in Des Moines with her husband and son and loves to spread color and creativity.

Meet Heather Kindt, she is a vibrant artist who loves to add color to the world, keep an urban vibe and she is inspired by the world around her.  Whether she is creating work in one of her amazing art journals, jotting down a quote or poem or painting a piano, Heather’s work is a stand out and will put a smile on everyone’s face.  We were so excited to be a part of this work of art and wish the listeners and players of Des Moines the very best in music listening as Heather’s piano and all the other wonderful pianos make their way into outdoor spaces.

Painted Pianos from the Des Moines City Sounds Project 2018

If you would like to know more about the program you jump over to their Web page – City Sounds which has the contact information and more details.  Thanks again to Heather for creating this masterpiece and for letting us interview you during the process.  We cannot wait to see your Poppy Piano make it’s way into the streets of Des Moines.

We are so excited to announce that Heather’s Piano has found a home – Ted’s Coney Island

This local spot is know for great hot dots (Chicago Style), gyros and wonderful Greek foods.  Stop by for a quick bite and take a moment to play or listen.  We are so excited this amazing piano found an home!!!

Happy Creating!!!



Canvas Corp Brands is the home of Tattered Angels, 7Gypsies and Canvas Corp (Canvas Home Basics). We are a manufacturer of surfaces, paint and vintage reproductions coming to you from Springdale, Arkansas.

'Tattered Angles Paint Becomes A Small Part Of City Sounds Project Piano by Heather Kindt' have 2 comments

  1. May 9, 2018 @ 10:38 am Julia Cotrim

    What a wonderful creation! I am in love with what you did on this piano! Congratulations!


  2. May 14, 2018 @ 6:41 am Jennifer Scull

    Not only is this a fabulous project for the city, but I adore what she did with the Tattered Angels products on the piano. The poppies are so vivid and bold. Just beautiful! I love the quotes and poetry in the background.

    Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us! 🙂


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This blog is a compilation of inspiration from the Canvas Corp Brands family including Canvas Corp, Tattered Angels and 7Gypsies.