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. Kelsey Anne says

    What kind of photo paper did you get it printed on? I am looking at the prints from Walgreens and they have poster prints in the 16×20 but is on satin finish, will that be ok?

      • melissa says

        i used your tutorial tonight, love the idea of the stamping…but i had a few spots that the stamping didn’t take, leaving it smooth, of course after it dried…could i go back and put mod podge on those areas and restamp, or do you think that would mess it up, and just leave it alone? hate that the whole picture didn’t hold the stamping :(

        • says

          Hi Melissa! I think you could probably add Mod Podge to just the bare spots and stamp them without it messing up the rest of the canvas. I have never tried it, but I think I would go for it! Hope that helps!

  2. Alan says

    Looks great and easy to do definitely going to give it a try. Few people at work interested in buying pictures I take so this would be great. Love the idea of painting the black edge but you could just as easily paint whatever colour suits the person it is for.

  3. Amy says

    Hi! Love your idea and tried it tonight…except I had mounted my pictures to a wood board then tried using a canvas we had on hand to stamp it…it worked okay but the edges of the canvas that are mounted on wood didn’t work to stamp the picture on the wood. Had to rub the part of the canvas that wasn’t wood and the mod podge dried a little too quickly and picked up pieces off the picture. Not sure if that makes sense…I’ll have to try using a canvas to adhere my pictures to next time…thanks for the tutorial!! :)

    • says

      Hi Amy! That does make sense. I bet you could still do it on wood, but be sure to stamp while you Mod Podge is still nice and wet so it won’t peel the photos at all. If you try it on canvases, let me know if you have better luck!

  4. Jonelle Morris says

    I just made a canvas wall using this tutorial, and it turned out awesome! Thanks so much for the awesome tips! I will post the pict of how it turned out on instagram and try and tag you in it.

  5. Brandy M says

    I’ve had this pinned for a couple of months now. I’ve have finally found the picture I want and I am hoping for a quick response (I will be at my tablet waiting haha) I just made homemade med podge last night. I looked through all the comments and didn’t see anyone asking if homemade will work. I will go get the store bought to do this if you aren’t sure. I used 1 full bottle of Elmers glue which measured to a 1/2 cup and then a 1/2cup of water and shook viciously. Thank you..you blog is awesome!!!!

    • says

      Hi Brandy! I have never used homemade Mod Podge, so I honestly don’t know if it will work. I will say that the store bought Mod Podge is only slightly thinner than glue. Is that about the consistency of yours? If so, I would go for it!

      • Kirsten says

        I just made my photo canvases last night!!! I am so happy with how they came out. What an easy project with such a great result!! I had priced the cost to order all the pictures I wanted on canvas and it was HUNDREDS of dollars. I ordered my prints from Costco and my canvases from Michael’s… I ordered a ton for under $90, including shipping!!!
        I wish I could share a picture with you to show you! Thank you for sharing this!!!

        P.S. The only thing I haven’t done yet is paint the sides black, I can’t decide if I want to keep them white or not…. hmm decisions.. decisions!!

        • says

          Yay, Kristen! That’s so great to hear!!! You are welcome to email me a photo at tasha{at}designertrapped{dot}com. I would love to see how they turned out!

  6. Meghan says

    World’s best tutorial!!! JUst completed 3 canvases for my home following your step by step directions. I absolutely love how they turned out. My mom just stopped by and begged me to do some for her home too! Thank you so much for this fantastic idea!

  7. Lily says

    Excellent trick! I do exited to see my baby’s pictures up now. I purchased the materials except the paint. What type of paint did u use, acrylic paint?

  8. Bethlyn says

    Hi I was wondering if you ever stamped the canvas but didn’t like the way it looked once it was dry, did you redo it? I made 14 this weekend and there are a few that aren’t as perfect I want! Any information would be helpful!

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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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