DIY Project: Create Your Own Photo Canvas

How many times do you find yourself thumbing through pictures on your cell phone, camera, or computer and thinking about how you would love to actually do something with them? Are you looking for inexpensive, yet creative, ways to add some décor to your home? Do you love the look of those photo canvases but don’t want to have to pay an arm and a leg for them? (Would you like me to stop asking questions now?) Well, this DIY project is for you my friend! You, yes YOU, can actually make your own photo canvas at a small fraction of the price that it would cost to buy one.

All you need is:

  • A printed 8×10 black & white or color copy of your picture on copier paper (the thinner the paper, the better)
  • An 8×10 canvas*
  • Gel medium (I used Liquitex Professional Matte Gel)*
  • Large sponge brush*
  • Mod Podge*
  • Kitchen sponge

*I bought my canvas, gel medium, Mod Podge and sponge brush at AC Moore but you should be able to find them at any craft store.

Side note: I chose to do an 8×10 photo canvas but you can do a larger or smaller size. Just make sure you adjust your printed picture accordingly.

Here’s what to do:

1. Coat your canvas with the gel medium. It’s important that you don’t miss any spots and try to spread it as evenly as possible.

2. Align your printed picture with the canvas and place it ink side DOWN onto your canvas. It can be a little tricky to match it up perfectly but try not to place the picture on the canvas until it’s lined up. Once it’s stuck, it’s stuck.

3. Use your hands to press your picture down on the canvas and get rid of any air bubbles. Then, simply let it sit for 24 hours.

4. After the 24 hours are up, use a damp kitchen sponge to moisten the paper. You will now start to see your image show through the paper.

photo 1

5. Once the surface of your canvas is completely moist, start gently scrubbing the canvas. You’ll see that the paper will start to peel off in little pieces, while the ink remains bonded to the canvas. It’s like magic! This was my first time making my own photo canvas so I was a bit nervous about applying too much pressure and accidentally scrubbing the ink off. Truthfully, there were a couple small spots where this did happen, but I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to scrub a little harder than I thought. Anyway, I think the imperfections give it a cool aged look. My advice is to just take your time. I spent about 20 minutes scrubbing the canvas with the sponge and even using the pads of my fingers to get off the excess paper.

photo 3

6. After you’ve removed the layer of paper from your canvas it’s time to seal it with Mod Podge. Use your large sponge brush to paint an even layer of Mod Podge over your canvas. This will help to truly give it that photo canvas look and add a bit of a glossy finish!


7. Once the Mod Podge has finished drying (which usually doesn’t take longer than 20 minutes or so) find a spot suitable for hanging your new piece of artwork!

Ta-da! Ok, so it's not perfect. You can see that I messed up a little with lining my paper up with the canvas on the right side but I say not bad for my first go at this, right?
Ta-da! Ok, so it’s not perfect. You can see that I messed up a little with lining my paper up with the canvas on the right side but I say not bad for my first go at this, right?

7 thoughts on “DIY Project: Create Your Own Photo Canvas

  1. Hi, Is there any way I can put photo on a half canvas and writing on another half? I wanna make a Canvas Art with 8X10 photo as well as writing beside the photo. I hope you understand what I mean…

  2. This is really good! You can probably even use your editing tools to print the picture in revers so when it comes out on the canvas it’s not a mirror image. I love your crafts! Your house must be amazing with all the stuff you do!

Share Some Comment Love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s