Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DIY Canvas Photo Art

I've been trying to get into more DIY projects, especially now that I've moved out and have my own place to decorate. For Chris's birthday, I wanted to make him some sort of personal crafty/artsy thing and I remembered coming across a tutorial for creating your own canvas art with your own photos. I probably came across it when I was making the wood wall art I made for him for Valentine's Day. This canvas art tutorial seemed really simple and cheap, so I decided to go for it. I was was easy and cheap!


The whole project costs about $12-$15, depending on brands and what you may already own. I went with a cheaper version and a smaller container for the gel medium since I knew I wouldn't be using it that often. I also had to get paintbrushes, so that added to the cost. I opted for cheap ones there, too. The canvas actually came in a two pack for only $4. It gave me the security of being able to try again if something got messed up, but it didn't so I am going to make another photo canvas for my room with it!

The photo transfer is not supposed to come out perfect, according to the tutorial. I feel that the imperfections create a rustic feel and give it some personality and depth. It takes a good amount of time to get all the paper fibers off, so you have to have some patience and time to do that part. Also note that your image will come out reversed, so if there are words in it then you will have to flip the image.


DIY Canvas Photo Art
Source: A Beautiful Mess

Supplies Needed:
-Gel medium (I used Liquitex Basics Gloss Gel Medium)
-Canvas (I used 8x10, but you can use any size of your choice!)
-Printed copy of photo (Access to a laser printer is needed)
-Spray bottle


1. Completely cover your canvas with gel medium. Use a heavy coat.
2. Press the photo copy onto the canvas and let it dry for several hours or overnight.
3. After your image is completely dry, use a spray bottle to wet the top of the paper.
4. Rub the surface with your fingers until pieces of the paper start coming off. When pieces start coming up your image will be revealed. This part takes a while. Be careful not to rub too hard as this can remove your transfer on accident. Continue until all the paper is removed and the image is completely visible!
5. Cover your canvas with one more coat of gel medium to seal and protect the image. Let it dry, and you're done!


  1. I didn't realize how easy this can be! I love your finished product, it has a nice distressed look, like an old black and white photo. It has a lot of character and style. Thanks for sharing your experience. I will be doing this soon!