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

 

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

* 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. Heather says

    This turned out to be a disaster for me. I used a poster print from kinkos. The photo wouldn’t lay flat and the “stamping” process took off the top layer of the print in several places. I’ve now ruined 2 canvases and a $20 print :-(. I wanted to make several of these for Christmas, can you tell me what I’m doing wrong?

    • says

      Hi Heather! So sorry to hear you are having trouble. Are you allowing the layer of Mod Podge under the print to dry completely (like perhaps overnight) before putting the top layer on and attempting the stamping? If not, be sure to do that. My only other thought is that it sounds like you may be using too much Mod Podge and that it is making the post print too wet. I have never had this problem with either photo prints or poster prints, so it’s hard for me to know. You can check out my tutorial using a poster print (, but it’s the exact same process, so I am not sure what the cause of your trouble is. Sorry I can’t be more helpful via computer.

    • tamara says

      If there is a Staples in your area, they have poster prints on sale starting at $6.99 they also have 16×20 enlargements on sale for $9.99. Hope this helps a little bit!

    • says

      Hi Justine. Did you allow the first coat of Mod Podge (under the photo) to dry completely before putting the top coat on? Did you have your photos printed on photo paper at a professional lab?

  2. Jana says

    These are excellent tips that I think will save me hundreds. I have a 45×60″ print made of banner paper and can obtain a canvas of similar dimensions. Does anyone have experience/tips for something of this material/proportions? I think its better than buying a frame/matte/backing/acrylic/etc. Any thoughts?

    • says

      Thank you, Jana! I have read about ordering engineering prints from Office Depot {only available in black and white}, which are quite large. You could them apply them to foam core using and use this method to get the look of a canvas. I 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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