Photo Transfer to Canvas

November 25, 2012

Writing a new blog post is way overdue! I have been very busy with work, school and have been doing many projects of my own. Now I am going to share them with you!

The most recent project I have done is transferring a printed image onto canvas. There are many different approaches people have but I found that my method has worked for me. 

1) First thing's first - choose a photo you want to transfer onto your canvas. I chose a photo I had taken in Grand Turk during a cruise so it has meaning to me. Plus I wanted to go for a vintage look and the picture had that style already. Here is the original photo:

2) Second, I went out to Michaels and purchased a few items that were necessary. 
 - Canvas
 - Mod Podge 
 - Foam brush
 - Acrylic paint (for sides of canvas), I used vanilla and turquoise 
 - Fine grain sandpaper sponge 
 - Scissors
 - Spray bottle of water

3) Third, I printed out the picture on regular white printer paper in color and cut the picture to fit the canvas. Cut it so there is about 1/8 of an inch on the outside so you're sure none of the paper is hanging off the ends.
 **Keep in mind that the picture will print out opposite so if it is a symmetrical picture you won't need to adjust, but if not you may need to rotate the picture so it comes out the way it is suppose to**

4) Next, spread a thin coat of mod podge over the printed picture and lay it picture side down onto the canvas. Make sure there are NO BUBBLES. So use your fingers to smooth out the paper so there are no air bubbles. This needs to dry COMPLETELY. I let mine dry for about 2-3 hours because I used a thin coat of mod podge, but in some cases overnight may be best to make sure it is dry.

5) YOU ARE ALMOST DONE!!! :) Now that everything is dry, spray the paper with water. Make sure it is completely soggy with water. Then use your fingers and start rubbing the paper. Because the paper becomes very wet and soggy, it will start to fall off. Try to rub as much of the paper off as possible so it is smooth.

6) I then used mod podge to "seal" the photo onto the canvas. 

7) As you can see from the picture above, the ends are not straight but in this case I did not want them to be. The look I was trying to achieve is exactly what I got with the ends coming out this way rather than perfectly straight lines.

8) Now, you can simply leave the canvas this way or paint the ends. I decided to paint the ends turquoise, and then vanilla (off white) on top. 

9) I then used the sandpaper sponge to sand down the paint so the turquoise came out from under the vanilla. I then used mod podge to seal the completed look. THE END.

Above is the completed look. This was my FIRST time doing this project so I would have done a few things differently. I would have:
 1) Painted the ends of the canvas prior to transferring the photo. I would do this because I would like the photo to blend in better with the paint on the end so when it is sanded, it will look like it truly belonged that way. Or I would have used a black on the ends (again painting it prior) and then sand it. Using black may have made the photo stand out better.
 2) Rubbed more of the paper off so the color of the photo could come through better.

Other than that, I think it came out really unique and it is 100% original. You can use family photos and really create something amazing that could be a perfect gift to a loved one. The best part is, you created it yourself! I am going to do this same project again by doing some of the steps a little differently as I mentioned above and let you all know how it comes out!


1 comment

  1. I absolutely LOVE how you did this!! I am definitely going to try it. Your instructions are easy to follow and step by step photos are so helpful. Great job!!