How to make a canvas print for $20 vs $200

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I love those big black and white canvas prints you see in galleries and homes. Big artwork makes a small house look more open and cleaner, vs. small pictures and collages which tend to make a home look more cluttered and closing in. Since I'm a messy enough person as it is, and have two small children....yeah, I need all the help I can get. Problem is, big artwork is expensive, so I've set about trying to make something that both fits the bill and is more meaningful.

Successful? Sort of.

But maybe it will inspire someone to do something better.

The idea was to take a large photo print (which is substantially less money than a canvas print) and modge podge it to a blank canvas (which is also not very expensive).

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Canvas Print Tutorial


1. Find a 50% off coupon and go to michaels/hobbylobby/someplace-that-sells-canvas and pick up a 24x36 gallery wrapped canvas. You can pick a different size, depending on what you want to do, but the standard poster photo is 20x30 so plan accordingly. Cost: $10

2. Buy Modge Podge. If you haven't used it before, it's the stuff best known for turning puzzles into frame-able art, but it's also one of those all-purpose craft substances that is invaluable and can be used for almost anything. Cost: $3

3. Pick the photo you want to use, make sure the resolution is at least 3450x2300 pixels and print it at someplace like Costco for $7.99.

4. I'm assuming most people have brushes and paints around their house, but if not, no biggie. You'll need at least a few bottles of acrylic paint (at 99 cents a bottle it's not very expensive), and you can cut up kitchen sponges, use q-tips, toothpicks and fingers as paintbrushes.



5. Paint the edges of the canvas. I intentionally bought a bigger canvas than the size of the photo print because the space over my bed is big and I wanted to make the artwork bigger. If you used a smaller canvas you wouldn't have to paint at all. I also enlisted my 4 yr old's help because what fun is hand made art unless there are memories and meaning woven into its existence?...also preschoolers do random and eclectic sooo much better than adults do.



At the thrift store I picked up an old book of Shakespeare plays that had seen better days (the book that is). The spine had fallen off and half the pages were missing. The lady gave it to me for free and I've been repurposing the pages for other things...like this.


6. Spread a thin layer of modge podge over the entire canvas. If you get it too thick, you'll get lumps and bubbles so beware.




7. Let the modge podge dry completely. While you're waiting, go rip or cut or whatever the edges off your 20x30 poster print. I don't know why mine came like this, I didn't specify I wanted those funny edges, but it doesn't matter because I was ripping them off anyway. I wanted a more whimsical, torn sort of feeling to my project.


8. When the modgepodge on the canvas is dry, paint a thin layer of modpodge on the back of the photo. Then starting at one end, carefully lay it down onto the canvas, rolling and smoothing out any bubbles with your hand wrapped in a rag or cloth.

9. Now modge podge over the whole project with one last thin layer. This is the trickiest part because modgepodge soaks into things and dries really fast. If you take too long, or conversely rush yourself, you'll end up with your photo ruined and dripping off it's paper. (I know this from experience). I'm making it sound harder than it is though. Just work quickly, apply evenly and you should be golden.


It goes on looking sort of like Elmers glue and dries completely clear.

10. That's it! You're done. Put it some place to dry and hang at a later date.



This is the embarrassing part where I think my furniture doesn't jive, I don't like the blinds, I have no idea what to do for window treatments and the bed is boring, but there you go. Did I get it straight? Can you see the dust? I hope not.

I like it for now. I'm wishing in retrospect I would have restrained my preschooler's enthusiasm for adding circles. I think if I were to do it over, I would do the whole thing with my good pal Shakespeare, because this ended up looking like... a four year old did it. *smile*
9 sprinkles of fairy dust:

I love it! Very good job :-)


LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! I will definitely be doing this one soon


I love it, sentimental and it looks perfect there. My bed looks exactly the same between the two windows!


fun project! i like! i've been wanting to have some of my floral photos printed on big canvases for my studio, but those things are soooo expensive. i just might have to try my hand at this technique! thanks!


that is splendid! I just love it!


Oh my goodness...that's SO cool! I would LOVE to try something like that one day. :)


I love it! I am so not the crafty or artistic person, but modge podge is one thing I have done for a few years, for Mother's Day & Christmas I have done pics of our family as gifts. This post reminds me I need to do it for MY own family and put it up on canvas. Thanks!!!


What a great idea! Great way to save some money and make a pretty wall hanging!


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