DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial {with a secret tip to create REAL canvas texture}!

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DIY Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

Hi friends!  It’s time for the much anticipated DIY photo canvas tutorial.  Some of you glimpsed my photo canvases that are hanging in our upstairs hallway in a photo from my $71 laundry room reveal and I have received lots of questions about how I made them myself.  THANK YOU to those who have patiently waited for me to get this post up :)  So, without further delay, I am going to tell you how to make a DIY canvas for yourself!

Materials needed to create a DIY Photo Canvas

  • Blank canvases
  • Enlarged photo prints {I get mine from Costco}
  • Mod Podge Matte Finish {*affiliate link}
  • Foam brushes
  • Black paint
  • Utility knife
  • Cutting board

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

Steps to create a DIY Photo Canvas

1) First, choose the photo you want to create your canvas with and have it enlarged and printed to your chosen size.  For this tutorial, I chose to focus on professional photos that were taken of my girls on the steps of a lighthouse this fall.  I LOVE these photos, so I went with a nice, large size–16 x 20.  I had mine blown up at Costco for $5.99 each.

2) Buy a canvas in a corresponding size.  Since my photos are 16 x 20, I purchased a 5 pack of 16 x 20 canvases on sale at Michael’s Crafts for $15.00.

3) Using your foam brush, cover the top of your canvas with a layer of Mod Podge.

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

4) Place your photo on top of the Mod Podge covered surface and flatten it with your hands to ensure that it adheres nicely.  Allow it to dry.

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

5) After it dries, you will have to cut off any portion of the photo that is overhanging the canvas.  My enlargements from Costco are always a tiny bit larger than my canvases.  No problem.  Flip the canvas over and grab your utility knife and cutting board.  Using the edge of the canvas as your guide, cut off any portion of the photo that is overhanging the edge of the canvas with your utility knife.

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

6) Next is the fun part, but you have to have a little faith that this is all going to work out.  You are going to “stamp” that canvas texture right on to your photo.  THIS TOTALLY MAKES THIS PROJECT so don’t wimp out on me and stop now.  Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge {matte finish} RIGHT OVER THE TOP OF YOUR PHOTO.  Do not panic, I promise, promise, promise you that it will dry clear and will look gorgeous.  Use long, even strokes.  This is what it will look like at this stage.  This is what it SHOULD look like.  Seriously, calm yourself down.  You are about to get to the good part.

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

7) Quickly grab a blank canvas and sandwich it ON TOP of your wet photo.  Gently press the two surfaces together.  Now, peel the blank canvas off and you will be left with that authentic canvas texture.  You know, the texture that makes people spend $50 to $75 on the “real” photo canvases.  But not you, you are too smart and thrifty for that!  Since I used a spare canvas that was smaller than 16 x 20, I repeated this process until my entire canvas was done.

This is a quick step.  You want to “stamp” your canvas texture on AND remove the blank canvas while the Mod Podge is still wet.  *Note- if your texture does not look right and looks more like the Mod Podge was just smushed around, you may have used too much Mod Podge.  Again, don’t panic.  Wipe some of the excess off with your foam brush, smooth out the strokes and try again.*  Now, let the Mod Podge dry.

DIY Photo Canvases Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

This is what the texture will look like when it is still wet.

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

And this is how that G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. texture will look once it is dry.

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

8) The final step is to paint the edges of your canvas black using a small foam brush.  This will probably require 2 coats, maybe 3, but it’s quick and easy.  I also paint a “sloppy” black edge on the top of my photos, but that is totally a personal choice.  You may prefer to paint a straight line and could use painter’s tape to get a crisp line.  For some reason, the photos I was working with for this tutorial had a white edge border {I’ve ordered lots of enlargements from Costo and this was a first}, so some sort of black paint on the photo was necessary, but I do it on all of my photo canvases.

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

9) After the paint dries, hang up your beautiful DIY photo canvas!  I was SO happy to add these two beauties to my collection {most of which I made about a year ago when we first moved into our new house}.  They make an otherwise boring hallway one of my favorite places in our house :)

The Best DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

DIY Photo Canvases by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

Cost and Time

A single DIY photo canvas in size 16 x 20 cost me around $10.  Not bad!  To order a 16 x 20 canvas from Shutterfly is $71.99 ON SALE.  How crazy is that?!  I love saving $62.00.  Each canvas takes me about 20 minutes to complete, not including drying time.  It’s a fast, easy and fun project.  My girls sat at the table with me and painted while I completed these two canvases.

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

What do you think?  Don’t you just LOVE that authentic texture?!  It totally MAKES this project and it’s not a tip I have seen before–I was pretty proud for thinking of it {not to toot my own horn}.  I did recently see another great way to create texture on canvases using a foam roller, so if my “stamping” technique freaks you out at all, head over to the wonderful blog Carrie This Home to see another fantastic option.

Now, what you are you waiting for?!  Go make your own DIY photo canvas without spending tons of $$$!

 

MUST PIN!  Best DIY Photo Canvas tutorial out there!   #diyphotocanvas #photocanvas

DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}* This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a (very) small commission if you click a link and purchase something.  It does NOT result in additional charges to you or cost you anything extra.  The small amount of affiliate money I earn per month is how I pay the fees to keep this site up and running. Thanks so much for your support!


Comments

  1. karen says

    I would like to make several of these canvases. How many time can you use the second canvas? Do you have to clean it in-between “stampings”?

    • says

      Hi Karen! I use the second canvas 4 to 5 times. Then, I apply a photo to THAT canvas and start stamping with a fresh canvas. No, I don’t clean it between stampings. I hope that helps!

  2. A. Myers says

    Hi – I followed these steps exactly, but when I “pressed” the canvases together it did not give a uniform stamping. I did sandwich them together and pressed down on the interior of the canvases. Perhaps I pressed too hard and it’s just not that difficult? My dried images are streaky, you can see the areas where I applied the modge podge and it didn’t stamp the canvas very well. It’s REALLY noticeable when the dining room chandelier is on. Any suggestions for how I can save these?!?! Put on another layer and maybe try with a paint roller or something? I don’t see how I could make them worse at this point.

    • says

      Hmmmm, it sounds like maybe you need to use a little bit more Mod Podge. I would say add another, uniform coat of Mod Podge and give it another try! At the very least, a uniform coat of Mod Podge may help with the streaking. It takes some trial and error to get just the right amount of Mod Podge. If you use too much, the texture doesn’t come out as clearly and it sounds like if you use too little, you could wind up with streaking and patchy stamping. I have had the problem with too much, but have not had the problem that you have had, which is why I am guessing maybe you need to use a bit more. I hope that helps!

    • Amanda says

      I saw this and I have to try! I sent my photos to print at Walgreens, but it only gives the option to print on Satin Paper. Will this be alright or ruin the overall look?

  3. Kayla says

    Awesome!!! I have been wanting to purchase canvas prints for some time now but they’re too expensive. I am definitely going to try this. Thanks!!

  4. Joanne Sharpe says

    I loved this idea and was so excited to try it! I used an 8×10 canvas from michaels that was mounted onto a wood frame 1/2″ thick. I also used soft gloss photo paper on my home computer to create my print. My photo glued on fine, but when I stamped it, I spent about 10 seconds making sure the canvases pressed together well from the open frame backs, and when I lifted the stamping canvas, many areas of the photo were lifted off. Now I am not sure if I should have used different photo paper (matte finish? or maybe homemade enlargements don’t work?), a different canvas, (one that does not have wood frame, or if I just took too long to peel them apart. Not complaining, as this is obviously an awesome idea, and if I can do it correctly, it will be well worth a few initial problems. Any feedback would be appreciated. I only saw one person with a similar problem, but her post was a little confusing. Knowing your thoughts on gloss prints, if your canvases are mounted on a wood frame, and how many seconds to press before lifting would be a great help for my next run at it:) Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Joanne! Sorry you ran into trouble. My guess is that it is because you printed them at home. I had mine printed on matte photo paper at Costco and have never had any problems with lifting. I don’t think 10 seconds is too long, but I would estimate I spend more like 5 seconds on that step. My canvases do have wood frames, so that shouldn’t be causing the problem. t hope that helps! Let me know how your next one turns out!

  5. Giovanni says

    Hello, I love the idea and plan to use it myself however, What finish do the prints need? Such as gloss, satin? Or does it not matter? Thanks.

  6. jennifer says

    I just finished 3 diy canvases. I didn’t see your blog prior to making mine. Do you think i could do a second layer of mode podge to get the stamped canvas look? Thanks!

  7. Tania Wilson says

    I love the idea! Could you make the photo larger to wrap around the edges of the canvas?
    One more question – I have seen other crafts say that the mod podge curls the photo – do you have any tips on how to make sure the photo does not curl?

    Thank you for a great tutorial :)

    • says

      Hmmmm, I’m not sure Tania. The photos just aren’t that flexible and I would worry that wrapping them around the edges would not hold. I have not had any problems with curling. I think if you apply enough Mod Podge underneath AND on top of the photos, you should be in good shape! Hope that helps!

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  1. […] you enjoyed this art project, you may also want to check out how I create my own DIY photo canvases {with REAL texture} and how I created DIY art for my powder room.  You can also see how I painted that gorgeous […]

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