Instant Gratification (canvas photo DIY)

DIY Canvas Photos -easy!

I am so excited to share this easy and beautiful tutorial for to make your own Canvas Photos from inexpensive craft supplies!!  Back in January, I saw a post on Blue Cricket Design and have been wanting to put some of my pictures on canvas ever since.  I finally set aside the time and put a picture of the girls on canvas for Graham for Father’s Day.  It was such a quick and easy project and I think the results are super cool.

The supply list is short:
canvas
photograph (same size as canvas)
MATTE mod podge
scrapbook paper
acrylic paint
DIY Canvas Photos -easy!
First, cut strips of scrapbook paper to fit each side of the canvas.  It’s easiest if the strips are just slightly shorter and narrower than the sides.  Apply mod podge liberally and glue strips on each side  Glue the photograph to the top of the canvas.  You can lay your project on wax paper so that it doesn’t stick to your work space while drying.  Allow to dry completely.
DIY Canvas Photos -easy!
DIY Canvas Photos -easy!
Then, apply a coat of mod podge over the entire surface, the edges and the picture.  Allow to dry completely again.  It will look milky at first, but will dry clear.  I used photos printed at Costco; they held up well and the ink didn’t smudge or anything wonky like that.
DIY Canvas Photos -easy!
Okay, so after it’s all dry, use a sponge or cloth to dab on acrylic paint to cover any spaces between side paper strips and the photograph.  I also liked the look of smudging up the corners.  The paint adds a little texture that I like, too.
DIY Canvas Photos -easy!
I only got a quick snapshot of Graham’s picture before we wrapped it up and now it resides at his office.
DIY Canvas Photos -easy!
I made a couple more canvas pictures for Addie’s room with my favorite pictures from her birthday.  I usually prefer black and white photos, but I did these in color because I love how the coloring coordinates perfectly in her bedroom.  Rather than the black acrylic paint, I mixed a metallic bronze, medium brown, and metallic black and dabbed that around the edges and corners.  It took me a couple tries to get the right color combination, but since the mod podge was well dried, I was able to rub off the unwanted paint with a damp sponge – foolproof!  You gotta love that.
 DIY Canvas Photos -easy!
This is one of those immediate gratification projects.  Each step literally takes less than a minute, and the mod podge dries fairly quickly (e.g., less than 30 minutes).  You can have your canvas photo project done and on display in no time at all!
DIY Canvas Photos -easy!
DIY Canvas Photos -easy!
DIY Canvas Photos -easy!
I like it, I think I’m going to go for a big ‘ol picture next.

PLEASE ALSO READ:  CANVAS PHOTOS DIY REVISITED

( for additional project ideas and answers to your FAQs)

More Canvas Photo Projects and Answers to your FAQs about Canvas Photo DIY

Comments

  1. says

    YOU are brilliant! You should make these for people via Etsy, you know for people who like to take pictures but are just way to lazy to actually put them on canvas. Just saying….

  2. Lanie says

    I LOVE these! Especially Addie’s room canvases. I’m going to do it! Someday…

    Umm, love the country view from Addie’s window.

  3. Catherine says

    What a great idea! I definitely need to do this with some photos of my kids. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Anonymous says

    I LOVE THIS!! What a great gift idea, rather than just a framed photo! I am so excited, I can’t wait to try this!! Thank you for sharing.
    Pat in Titusville, Fl

  5. says

    I used photos printed at Costco. Mod podge the canvas and the back of photo, stick it down, let it dry, then mod podge over the top! I do think you need the heavy photo paper so that it doesn’t bubble or wrinkle.

  6. Eden Clare ArtfulFairyTales says

    oh my gosh…
    i love this…i am going to try and do this over the weekend with the ooodles..of photos i have…
    thank you, thank you for sharing!
    xoxo EdenClare

  7. stacy says

    This is a great project idea. I really want to try it soon! There is a site that prints photos on canvas in about a week if time is an issue… as far as printing, buying, and making the final product. It is called http://www.canvasnow.com if you ever need one. Your little one is precious and I love the photos you picked.

  8. Cafe Groenhout says

    Just saw this on Pinterest and seriously can’t wait to try this with photos of our furbaby. :) Thanks for the great tutorial!

  9. The Oakley's says

    I tried this today and it turned out great! The only question I have is, the matte mod podge dried clear, but I can see the brush strokes. Is there a way to avoid this? I used a smaller width brush than you did, could that be the trick? Use a bigger brush? Thanks for the tutorial!

  10. says

    Oakley’s: I would use a foam brush, as wide as you can find. But, really, once you get your paint on the edges and set it on display, I bet you won’t even notice the brush strokes. Just consider it added ‘character’!!

  11. NotSoSilentMommy says

    Hi there! I just found your site on Pinterest and have fallen in love with it.. I’m on a mission to try these canvas photos today… I was also wondering if you did a post on the beautiful letter A that you did in the picture above?? I would love to know how you did that.. Thanks so much in advance!! Your site is beautiful!!

  12. The Oakley's says

    Thank You! I am attempting my second today, a larger canvas 16×20 and I was more careful with the brush strokes this time. Thanks again :)

    Sami

  13. Anonymous says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    My project turned out fantastic and I’m NOT a crafty person!
    Perfect Christmas gifts for family!!

  14. TT says

    Just added the paint to mine today. LOVE it. I can see my brush strokes also. They are ok and I am ok with it but I was wondering if everyone sees them or is it just my technique. Of course, you do have to turn it sideways a little to see them that is why i am ok with it but wanted to know if they can be eliminated totally. thanks for this idea. It is for my sisters birthday. :)

  15. Robin says

    Thanks for sharing. I have a print that I had enlarged to 8×12 and I think it will be perfect for this project.
    Going to Michael’s tomorrow after work to pick up supplies.

  16. Blue Velvet Chair says

    Excited to try the project! Love the green of the photo in the field. What a fun pop of color! Thanks for the toot and inspiration.
    Michael

  17. Anonymous says

    I love this project and I plan to do it this week! I was wondering if your photo was printed on glossy photo paper? Thanks for the post!!

  18. says

    Thank you so much for the tutorial!! I’ve seen others with ideas such as printing the photo on tissue paper, but this was the easiest (and cheapest, which I love) way to do this and mine came out awesome! I attached a picture of the outcome and I hope you can see it! I am going to meet the Nashville Predators hockey team tomorrow and I can’t wait for them to sign it!! Thanks again!! http://twitter.com/#!/rlhutching21/media/slideshow?url=http%3A%2F%2Fyfrog.com%2Fkkvtcqvj

  19. reality chick says

    Beautiful! You have a great eye. My daughter-in-law is going to flip when she gets some of these! Once again, Pinterest saves the day.

  20. Ashley Robinett says

    Would it harm anything to coat with clear polyethylene after? some of my mod podge projects become sticky later with the humidity here

  21. Anonymous says

    Tried it and it doesn’t work! I don’t know if there is a better way to glue down the paper on the sides and the picture but with the directions given it did not turn out well!

  22. Anonymous says

    I love taking and editing pictures…..Now I have a new project for them. I love this. Thanks so much for posting it

  23. Kim says

    I absolutely love this. I have a question – when you paint over it with an acrylic paint wouldn’t that change the color of the photo?

  24. says

    Kim…

    Yes, it does color the area that you paint. I chose a photo that didn’t have important detail around the edges and corners and then dabbed on the paint just in those areas. The rest of the photo stays intact and doesn’t change color because the mod podge seals it in. Have fun!

  25. Anonymous says

    I take so many photographs, but never do anything with them! I am now inspired to put some of my favorites on canvas.
    Beautiful !
    Thanks so much

  26. BritnieAnn says

    I’m SO EXCITED! I saw this on pinterest too and cannot WAIT to try this for some Christmas presents! And heck, my whole house may be full of them soon, lol. Thanks again!

  27. Michele says

    Ok I tried it and I messed it up. I don’t think the ink was completely dry when I tried to modge podge it. The best thing about it was that it didn’t waste the canvas I just put another pic on top of the first one. I used a really thin canvas so no boarder on the sides. I kind of like the look of the pic without sealing it. Is it important to seal or is that just what gives it more of a canvas look? Thanks so much for this tut. You are awesome.

  28. HannahJones05 says

    What kind of paper did you print the picture on, like normal computer paper or like when you get them print out at a photo place? I’m in love with canvas pictures, but it’s too expensive to get it done!

    Thanks, Hannah!

  29. Dani says

    I just used this method to make a little collage on canvas of my wedding photos. I cut out the date from an invitation and put it in the middle! Thanks for the tips!

  30. School System Occupational Therapist in Virginia says

    Just beautiful! Might try it somehow inexpensively with students I see in schools. Maybe get “used” canvases at yard sales or Goodwill and whitewash them first. Karen

  31. Katie Smith says

    Hi Stef! I ran across your blog on Pinterest. I just started my blog and was hoping that you would stop by and check out my stuff and subscribe. I am hoping to connect with more crafters! Thanks, Katie!

  32. Anonymous says

    I LOVE THIS <3 Just started my canvas tonight. I am doing a big one with several small photos for my cousin who was in my wedding, as well as her children (which is what the photo canvas is, various photos of the kids at the wedding). Thanks!

  33. Anonymous says

    I absolutely love this idea!!! Who needs to pay $20 when you can do it yourself *which adds an extra smidge of sentiment* Thanks so much for this post!

  34. Anonymous says

    I just did this tonight! It was absolutely easy and it came out perfectly. I love how doing the paint around the edges gives it a vintagey look and covers and flaws! I also accidentally printed gloss pictures (instead of matte) and it was fine =)

  35. Anonymous says

    This is such a great idea!! Going to do several of these for Christmas presents. Have a question though, can you use spray on clear acrylic paint? If so would a clear glaze finish work? Thanks again!!

  36. Anonymous says

    I’ve done this with posters and LOVE it! Going to try the paper and paint around the edges…what a great edition!

  37. Anonymous says

    Beautiful!!!! Wonderful idea!!! For those of you that can’t find mod podge, make it. Equal parts of Elmer’s glue and water! Works just the same, but MUCH cheaper. :)

  38. Anonymous says

    Beautiful!!I have done this before but when I glued the photo to the canvas it bubbled up in certain places as it was drying. Do you have any suggestions on how to not let that happen?

  39. Kim Z says

    Thank you so much for your idea! I made 4 for Christmas presents and they were a hit! Would you be able to tell me how you made the “A” that sits on your shelf in a few of the above pics? Want to do the same thing for my baby that is due in a month. Thanks!

  40. says

    I love the idea of doing it on wood, Kristina!

    Quick answers to some of other frequent questions:

    I use matte mod podge and I buy it at any hobby/craft store.

    I have never tried lacquer or spray-on acrylic paint – if you try it, let us know how it turns out!

    I have my pictures printed in a MATTE finish at Costco – I do not have problems with the pictures bubbling or bleeding. Thicker scrapbook paper tends to bubble less when drying – I walk by every few minutes and press any bubbles in the paper out to the surface.

    I will be posting again on this topic soon – check back for more tips!

  41. Anonymous says

    I tried this on canvas with printed photo and it got wrinkled tried it with photo paper and that one also wrinkled is there a trick to this

  42. Kristina says

    I did this for Christmas gifts, but I block mounted them onto wood. I bought nice wood at Lowes, cut it to the various sizes I needed, sanded the edges, stained the sides and back then mod podged my pictures on. A couple of things that are key to the process…the pictures need to be matte finish, not glossy. That will result in the bubbles some people have experienced. I used glossy mod podge and loved the results. A wide foam brush is best. The few stroke marks that are visible just lend to the canvas look for me, almost an oil painted brush stroke! I’m thrilled with this whole concept…I’m a photographer, but I don’t have much printed because frames are SO expensive!

  43. Anonymous says

    Thanks for the great tutorial. Did you use the same technique to the letter ‘A’ in the first photo? Any instructions, tips for letters?

  44. Courtney Locke says

    I just did this and hung them in my living room! They turned out so great and were so easy to do! Thank you!!

  45. Kelly @ Here Comes the Sun says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I am pinning it now and am going to try this for photos for our living room.

  46. Anonymous says

    I did this today, it looks great! I used a glossy picture printed from walgreens- looks great! No bubble issues, either :)

  47. Anonymous says

    I love this. I do alot of photography and can’t afford to have them put on canvas. I will definitely try this. Thanks.

  48. Connie Haley says

    Thank you for the inspiration and tutorial! All I have to do now is mod podge the photo and paint around the edges. I love it!!!! Thanks again.

  49. Anonymous says

    Thank you for the great tutorial. I’m new to crafting an did this as my first project an loved it. Thank you!!

  50. Shelley Eggett says

    I just made two of these today. I struggled with the scrapbook paper on the sides. It kept bubbling up. Any tips on how to prevent that from happening?

  51. Anonymous says

    Canvas is on sale this week (Feb. 19-25) at Hobby Lobby and with 40% off coupon you can also save on Mod Podge. Thanks for the tutorial! I plan on doing this tonight after my kiddos are in bed!

  52. Anonymous says

    Bubble problems:

    The Mod Podge will usually cause a little bubbling when it is wet, not a lot just enough to drive you crazy but after it dries magically everything lays flat.

    I make clipboards with scrapbook paper (same way you make photo canvas) and it drove me crazy the first time I made one until I left it alone and let the Mod Podge dry and then it dried flat.

    Plus, you really don’t have to buy Mod Podge. It’s just equal parts glue and water mixed together. So, if you have some Elmers white glue around you can make your own Mod Podge and then the project will be even cheaper.

  53. Anonymous says

    I had been trying to figure out how to display my 3 boys’ school pics instead of with picture frames. So glad I came across this via Pinterest! I put them each in separate rows (the oldest son in the top row, etc) and then they are all lined up per grade. So neat to see them all from year to year! I didn’t do the scrapbook paper on the sides, just left plain white. I like the clean look of it. I did try the glossy mod podge for my trial and like the matte finish better. Thanks for the help!

  54. Leonie says

    Hi These canvas’s are gorgeous. I tried to do it & my photo crinkled & bubbled I was wondering what weight photo paper you used ? I would really appreciate your advice.
    Thank you

    • says

      Leonie,

      I only use photos printed at Costco. I’ve never had a photo crinkle or bubble – I think you should definitely try it with photos printed up from a photo developing center.

  55. Anonymous says

    This idea is just what I’ve been looking for. I user an 8×10 glossy (before i saw to use matte) photo from Walgreens. It looks great! I will do the rest as matte photos.

    I was also wondering is their anything else that could seal the photo besides mod podge,because i too have horrible humidity. Thank u TX lol.

    Thanks,Trish

  56. Anonymous says

    Today, Made 3: 11/14 canvas/pics, shots of my daughters No CAL Beach Wedding. Beautiful. I noticed they were bubbling a bit when I first glued the pics down so i took some wax paper, spread it out (also helped with beging able to really smooth down the pictures) and then I put some books on top of the picture for about 20 minutes. Everything was nice & flat, only had glossy modgepodge on hand, looks fine. Strokes are much more pronounced with the glossy so rather than brushing flat I did brush stroke marks all over the pictures. Looks GREAT! Thanks so much for the lovely tutorial! I’m off and running going to do several more…

  57. Karen says

    Hi! I tried this the other day and I loved how it turned out! To glue my picture onto the canvases I used a glue tape, and instead of using scrapbook paper, I just painted the sides… I loved how it turned out! Thanks so much for sharing this! Would it be ok if I shared the link to this tutorial on my blog?

  58. Kaylyn says

    So cute and easy. I really like adding that little touce of paint on the egdes and corners added that little something more to it.

  59. Anonymous says

    I made my two mother day gifts and love them! Had an issue with the edges of the scrapbook paper coming up on the edges but was fine when the project was all complete. More I will be doing for ME!

  60. BDL Palash says

    I have got to say I did this for a school project
    even before finding this trend online. I use two Picasso paintings from his
    blue period. This has inspired me to post them later on, and maybe create some more. :)
    I loved the Mondrian one by the way. Very clever!

    Pictures to paintings
    photos to paintings
    photo to painting
    picture to painting
    painting from photo

  61. Ashleigh says

    Found you on Pinterest! This is awesome! I can’t wait to look around your blog more!
    Your newest follower,
    Ashleigh @ Live Gorgeously

  62. Anonymous says

    You are so creative – amazing. Just a question – were the photos laser prints or inkjets? Thanks for replying

  63. Anonymous says

    I tried this and love it but I used a black and white photo and from putting mod podge on the photo it turned it yellow!!..what did I dod wrong??

  64. Anonymous says

    I finally finished mine this morning. I think that the next time I’m not going to buy the cheapest canvas I can find. The edges were not square and it altered how everything fit. But I love this and it was so easy to do.

  65. Anonymous says

    This is the best and easiest way to make beautiful canvas prints. I paint the canvas whatever color matches best where I will hang the photo. I then mod podge the canvas where I set the pic and let it dry then I put a layer of mod podge ontop. Once dry, I kinda sandpaper the edges of the pic and I staple ribbon on the top of the back, tie a bow and hang them.

  66. Shaper of Little Souls says

    Question: Why even use Mod Podge? Why not just glue it to the canvas and be done? I am so afraid of ruining it with the wet Mod podge.

  67. stacy morrison says

    Great post, useful tips posted here for instant gratification, this is a unique consent you have describe here, any person can learn this easily because there is also photo tutorial for easy learning.

    canvas prints

  68. Anonymous says

    Love this idea!! What a money saver!

    I wanted to ask where you have found the vintage “A as in Azalea” picture? It’s so pretty, would love it for my daughter’s room.

    Thanks in advance,

    Sara

  69. Rama Gomez says

    I tried this but when I put the Mod Podge on top of the picture and let it dry I saw smear marks and lines from when I painted the Podge on. Any ideas how to not let that happen? I’m making these for Christmas pictures this year so I wanna get this right. Thanks for the idea and can you email me your answer? ragomez1022@gmail.com
    Thank you!!

  70. Laura says

    The first link in this post, as well as the suggested post to read {Canvas Photo DIY Revisited} are broken. I get an Error 404 message. Do you have new links?

  71. Sherry says

    This is wonderful! I also used glossy photos by mistake, and it worked just find. I also found that if I painted the modpodge on in vertical strokes and let it dry, and them did it again in horizontal strokes, it had more of the look of canvas!

  72. Donna Sutton says

    I was just wondering if you use regular photos or were they special printed…where I live we don’t have a Costco or anything like that….

  73. Linda says

    Hi Steph,
    I luv this! I want to do a 12 x 12 canvas with some old pics for a family reunion photo. Will this work? I wanted to print to regular paper, glue down and then use Mod Podge over the top. I would love to hear from you and your opinion! Thanks for such a precious idea and love the photos etc.

    Linda

    • girlinspired says

      Hi Linda!

      Definitely do not use printed pictures from your home computer – the ink will run and the paper will probably bubble and/or crumble. Take the pictures into a photo development center and have them print them up for you there – I’m sure they can scan in an old picture if you don’t have it digitized yet, and then they can print it onto professional grade photo paper with photo-appropriate ink. Hope that helps!! And have fun!

  74. Linda says

    Sorry, I posted on wrong page. I sent you some emails with my project on it – you really inspired me! Thanks for your hard work.

    Linda

    • girlinspired says

      Hi Linda,

      The books look amazing! I’m so glad you jumped into the project! I know your family must appreciate it so much!

  75. Linda says

    I just read your note, hopefully my pics will work. I didn’t use photo paper, but had the lady copy on card stock and that is what I decoupaged.. It is done now. Hope it lasts! Live & Learn! Again, thanks!

  76. Lana K. says

    I tried this yesterday!! I was a bit nervous, but mine turned out great!! Now I am so excited to make more!!! Thanks so much for the tutorial!!

  77. Krystal Niemczura says

    Hi there! Ok, Im actually in the process of doing this ( hoping you get this comment NOW and respond, lol) Anyways, my 16×20 photo is slightly hanging over the edges of the canvas, which is also 16×20, strange! Did you happen to have this issue? What is the best way to trim the edges…scissors? I am so afraid of not cutting it just right. Confused :-/

  78. Gillian says

    I just found your website approximately two weeks ago. I’m working on Xmas gifts for my daughters to send to the U.S., and I had never done decoupage before and saw many ideas online that I thought would be awesome. I bought two serving trays from a store here in Rome that has the heavy-duty trays, and they were painted with acrylic paint, and sanded it off due to the slippery thing of trying to get paper to stick. Anyway, I made collages of my girls since they both have been married on Windows Publisher and I am having it printed at a copy place with the laser printer so it won’t run. I used the ink-jet I have, sealed the photos, but it was a mess due to other things, but it all has worked out. My husband’s mother passed away in August and when I saw your canvas photos it struck me as the perfect thing to make for him and his sister for Xmas, and very personal. I have all his parents’ photo albums for scanning purposes for both of them and access to all their wedding photos. I thought of a nice black and white photo on the canvas with some sort of the photo album paper around the edges and I found the acrylic paint in a nice charcol grey/black…very awesome. Okay, my question is, did you have your photos printed on photo paper or just off of a laser copier onto regular acid-free paper? I have photo paper that I can give to the copy place, top of the line paper and print it that way onto matted photo paper, Let me know because I don’t want to mess this up. Everything else about this project is really simple to do and I am thrilled with it. Thank you for your wonderful ideas, and tips. Gilli

    • girlinspired says

      Hi Gillian, You have so many beautiful projects in the works! I order my prints from a photo processing center and just rely on whatever photo paper they use. How do you order printed photos in Rome? I would think the laser printer would be just fine with either type of paper, but the photo paper may hold the color in the picture better? I would go with whatever type of paper you typically would have a photograph printed on. Just a guess, though. Let me know how they turn out! I’m excited for your family – those trays sound amazing and your husband and sister in law will love having those special photos. Have fun!

  79. Gillian says

    Hey Stef,

    Thank you for your reply. The copy shop I go to informed me that they do print photos on the heavy photo paper, but I’m not sure if they use the matted paper. In any case, I will take my own and they can print on that, but the important thing is using the laser. The trays are still a work in progress and I would be happy to send you photos when completed. I’ve learned a lot from trial and error, it is the thought that matters. For my youngest who is in college I found a wooded box with four drawers. It was painted this gray/beige color. I painted the box black, but not the drawers because they have these stars painted on them with clear little handles. The black off-sets the drawers really well, and she can use this for jewlry, desk supplies or whatever she wishes. This too will have photos around it of her with her family and friends. She will be here at Xmas and that alone is exciting.

    Your work is absolutely beautiful and your girls are adorable. As a mother of three girls I know how much it means to make something personal for them. Photos are of great importance to me and doing projects with them makes it all the more special.

    For my husband’s project I got the arcylic paint in the charcol color, which is perfect for the black and white photo and the border is a rather unusual charcol striped paper with small designs (very Roman). It should all coordinate nicely.

    Thank you again for your input, and I am so pleased to have found your website. Take care. Gilli

    • girlinspired says

      Hi Laura, Try to use a wide foam brush and create as smooth finish as you can, most of the streaks will smooth out when the project dries, but the streaks that are left are what give it more of that textured canvas look.

  80. Christy says

    I love this and want to try it myself. I live the way your photo canvas turned out ESP with the acrylic paint. I was wanting to know what kind of paper did you print the photo on. I am so excited to try this. I’m glad I found your blog.

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