Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Photo on Canvas - DIY Project

I love pictures, and I especially love unique ways of displaying them.  I have always loved photos on canvas, but have never loved their price tag.  When looking for gift ideas for my parents' birthdays, I decided to turn to the blogging world for some ideas.  I did my research and found a million tutorials on DIY photos on canvas.  Some of them used tissue papaer for a distressed look and some used photos.  After reading many ways, I decided to go to the craft store, buy what I needed and give it a try.  I was very happy with how mine turned out, so I'm sharing how you too can create a beautiful photo on canvas (with an affordable price tag).

What you will need:
  • Photo - printed in Matte
              - mine is an 8 x 10
  • Canvas - same size as your photo
  • Mod Podge - Matte
  • Acrylic Paint - I used black for a black and white picture
  • Paint Brushes and a foam brush
  • Towel - just for smoothing

Step by Step Instructions:

#1  Paint the edges of your canvas, and paint inwards enough so that you won't see any white canvas once your photo is applied

#2  While that dries, cut 1/8 of an inch off of each edge of your photo so that there is no overlapping of your photo over the cavas.  You want a nice border of canvas around your photo.

#3  Once your paint has dried, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the canvas and to the back of your photo.  Place the photo onto the canvas, carefully.  Smooth it out with a soft towel to make sure there are no bubbles.

#4  Paint the edges of your photo/canvas.  This is up to you as to how thick or thin you want your border but it looks nice with a vintage feel.  I suggest practicing on something else before taking the paint to your photo.  Lightly dab your foam brush into your paint, you want it to feel almost dry, and paint the edges.  It looks nice to have the paint a little thicker in the corners, almost like triangles.

#5  Once your paint dries, you want to apply a final layer of Mod Podge.  Again, I suggest practicing your strokes on something other than your photo.  I painted the edges of the canvas first, so that any extra Mod Podge that accumulated on the photo could be smoothed out when I did the top.  For the actual photo, you want to apply a very thin layer of Mod Podge, and for a textured canvas look, you want to use artist stroked (almost making X's) all over.  Try not to overlap the mod podge too much.   It will look very milky white until it dries, so don't get scared.  Once it dries, its beautiful!

What I learned for next time:
  • Make sure to cut 1/8 inch off of each side of your photo.  For my first one, I thought that seemed like it was cutting too much off of my photo so I didn't trim it that much, but the photo went to the edge a little too much.  You want a nice border of canvas around your photo.
  • Practice how you want your painted edges to look first.  This is hard because it looks different everytime, but you can get a feel for how to do it consistently.
  • Do not place your canvas on a paper towel after your have applied Mod Podge all over it.  It will stick and not come off.  Duh!  (I used an upside down paper plate for my second one)
  • Don't apply your final layer of Mod Podge in perfect layers.  It will create lines from one layer to the next and that can be difficult to smooth out.
  • Make sure your thoroughly rinse off / soak the brush you use for your Mod Podge when you are done.  I must not have cleaned mine well enough, so I had hunks of dried glue in my brush for my second canvas...not easy to fix!
  • Do not leave your supplies, especially your Mod Podge, on your dining room table when you have a 2 year old!  They will open the Mod Podge, stick all your paint brushes in it, and make a big mess of it!  Ugh!
I think that's it!  This is such a fun, affordable, beautiful photo project, and a great budget friendly gift idea!  Good luck!

**If you're not feeling crafty, feel free to contact me.  I charge $25 for an 8x10 or $30 for an 11x14.  I would be happy to help you out!** 


  1. wow! Thanks for sharing this Amber!!

  2. Very cool Amber! Thanks for sharing!

  3. “I have always loved photos on canvas, but have never loved their price tag. “--- Me too! Haha! But that was before I learned how to create my own photo canvas. Now, I just need to make sure that I have a nice set of photos. The pictures must really turn out to be great looking prints. The canvas part is just a piece of cake to me! ;)

  4. This sure is helpful. I learned a lot from this. Thanks for this.

    Canvas Prints