Canvas Print DIY Portrait

Want a simple, cheap, and creative way to display your photos around the house? Or a sentimental gift for someone? Why not try this Canvas print DIY!

I loved how this Canvas print DIY Portrait turned out and how simple it was to make so I thought I would share it here so you can try it too. This is meant to be an imperfect transfer, I feel it gives it an antique look which I love.

Portrait canvas print

Before I go on to explain how to make this Canvas print DIY, I must admit this was not my own invention. I found the idea on one of my ‘many’ afternoons when exploring craft online. I was actually looking to find something homemade and sentimental for a Mothers Day gift that wouldn’t take too much out of bank. With that in mind, I thought Edwin and I would be able to make one each for our mothers. We then proceeded to choose the photos we wanted and made one each using slightly different techniques.

Supplies:-canvas  -picture from a laser printer (remember the picture will print reverse)  -gel medium  -paintbrush  -spray bottle filled with water

Step 1. Completely coat the canvas with the gel medium evenly, make it a heavy coat. The gel medium that we used I bought from Office Works (REEVES: gel gloss medium) It gave the picture a cool 3D effect.

Step 2. Press the photo copy onto the canvas, make sure its straight and let it dry over night.

Step 3. Use a spray bottle filled with water to wet the top of the paper. Not too much, perhaps work with sections.

Step 4. Rub the surface with your fingers until pieces of paper start coming off. You will have to be patient, not rub too hard and be prepared to make mess!

Step 5. Once all the paper is removed (no more misty white layer on top of the image), finish by painting over the top of the canvas with the gel medium to seal it and add gloss.

Canvas DIY Steps

It is not perfect, I was merely wanting to experiment (we had a back up Mothers Day gift planned in case it didn’t work out), but luckily for us we were thrilled with the outcome. I have however taken the time to make a list of tips and adjustments that I myself would/will use next time.

1. Find a canvas size that works with A4 paper (or the size paper that you are printing on) — I purchased the smallest canvas I could at the shop but they were out of the smaller ones so I ended up with a white border around the photo that I don’t like.

2. Use a black and white photo instead of colour — the colour will still come out and work but not very strongly. It’s all about the contrast when it comes to gaining the best potential from the photo.

3. Only use a laser printer — the inkjet printer will not be able to transfer the image onto the canvas and it would be a waste of resources. And don’t print on photo paper.

4. Don’t rub too hard when trying to remove the layers of paper — you will find that once you get down to the last layers and some of the actual image comes off, it will easily come off more and before you know it too much has come off. Just be patient and don’t rub too hard. Edwin accidentally did rub too hard and as you can see from the final outcome some of our faces have been rubbed off. I personally love the imperfections but too much doesn’t look good.

5. Evenly coat with gel medium — in step 1 be sure to use even brush strokes (go the same way and have a smooth, even coverage) it will make it difficult when rubbing off the paper at the end if it is not a flat surface to begin with.

Canvas craft print


Don’t be afraid to give me a comment if you have any questions.

p.s. ‘I actually ended up keeping my Canvas print and not giving it to my mother because I just love this picture of my sister and I so much’.

2 Comments on “Canvas Print DIY Portrait

  1. Looks very interesting and not too difficult. Great idea having a record of your trips.

    • Yes thanks Peter, we really liked the idea of not only recording our trips and crafts but also sharing them for others to be inspired and informed.

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