craft Life

DIY: Faux Photo Canvas

July 17, 2012

Last week, Hana Kate and I took on the project of making a new photo canvas for my office. I made one at the beginning of this year for my friend with a picture I took of her little girl. I loved how hers turned out, and made sure to take a similar picture of Justus in hopes of making a canvas like hers. (I took this photo with Justus on a black blanket. Photoshop can also be used to help make a dark or spotty background entirely black. He’s just 6 days old here; I can’t believe how much he’s changed!)

Here’s how we did this for just under 10 dollars, and it took only around 10 minutes of active “project time.” (Drying/waiting time is around 24 hours, as well as time needed getting supplies and a photoshoot.)

Supplies Needed:

  1. Canvas (I used a 16 x 20. At the time I bought mine, Hobby Lobby sold these in a 2 pack for $7.) Update: These are currently $7.99 for a 2 pack. With a 40% off coupon, available weekly online, making it $4.79 for a 2 pack, or just $2.40 per canvas.
  2. Printed Photo, approximately the same size as the canvas. (I had mine printed for $3.99 at Costco.)
  3. Black Acrylic Paint
  4. Mod Podge (I used gloss finish, bought in large size for $7.70 from Amazon, here.)
  5. Sponge brushes

1. First, paint the edges and sides of the canvas black. (Hana Kate hadn’t painted the sides of the canvas black in the above photo, but we did do those, as well.) Trim the edges of the photo if is larger than the canvas, and paint around the edges of the photo, too.

2. Once the black paint has dried, brush the entire canvas with Mod Podge. This will act as a glue to hold the photo to the canvas.

3. After adhering the photo to the canvas, brush another coat of Mod Podge over the photo and the side of the canvas. This will act as a sealant.

4. After allowing the first coat of Mod Podge to dry overnight (or 8 to 12 hours), add a second and final coat. For this step, I like to use the sponge brush to give the Mod Podge a patterned textured look. So when it’s done, it will look like this:

I’m in the process of decorating my office, and this canvas fit the space perfectly. When we moved to this house ten months ago, we were anticipating the prospect of quickly joining our church, finishing up training for foster care, and arranging and decorating our house (among other things). But with a rather difficult start to this pregnancy just weeks later, and then the minor complications in the months following, we’re just now getting things on the walls and in the halls. We also saw during that time that we would not be able to both adequately provide care for foster children and our biological children while our two (now three) children are in their earlier years, and this was especially evident during those days I was in the throes of morning sickness and then sometimes unable to walk with the additional complications. We bought this house to meet the specific requirements for  being a foster care, and had an extra bedroom we planned to devote for the children we hoped to care for. But since it is extra for now (and we also have a room for guests), I’m taking space for my office–nice to have a space to put my computer and now devote for this purpose. And this photo canvas is a little reminder of the many things in our lives that God has blessed us with and taught us over the past ten months in this house.

In the last few months of this pregnancy, and I also made a subway art canvas using a similar technique. For this, it was a floral-patterned 10 x 10 canvas that someone had given me, but I just wasn’t sure where to put it with the floral decor. Matthew 22:37-39 has been a passage God has been teaching us to see with new eyes, and so I arranged the words in Photoshop and then had a poster printed on photo paper at Costco, and then followed the same steps described above.

This project is certainly not original with me, and if you’ve spent time on Pinterest, you’ve likely seen a version or two of this “faux photo canvas” show up there. I just like the fresh, crisp look of the black and white. 🙂 It’s also possible to do a similar canvas using a color photo, as my sister-in-law Christa shows here. Now I just need to do some photo shoot to get some good black/white photos of my girls! 🙂

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  • Reply Susanna July 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm


  • Reply Do-It-Yourself: Faux Photo Canvas | Money Saving Mom® September 6, 2012 at 11:01 am

    […] shows you how to make a homemade faux photo canvas. Do you have a fun and frugal DIY idea to share? I’d love to hear about it! Read the […]

  • Reply Monica September 6, 2012 at 11:46 am

    This is an excellent idea I will definitely have to try. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Rebecca September 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    This is awesome! Those photo canvases are really expensive, but this looks just like it for much, much less 🙂

    • Reply Keren September 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      Thanks! The glossy Mod Podge really makes it have the painted/canvas effect. I’m about to make a couple more this week.

  • Reply Melissa September 6, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    My “adopted” son just had a daughter and I think I am going to give this a try…..thanks for the wonderful idea!

    • Reply Keren September 12, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      Congrats, Melissa!

  • Reply Natalie September 7, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    What sorts of complications did you have? 🙁 I, too, get struck with terrible morning sickness… and then plenty of complications and painful situations. It is tough!!!!! Congrats on your newest little one, though – they are worth it, as you know! 🙂

    • Reply Keren September 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      Thanks, Natalie. Yes, so much of those troubles are “forgotten” now. I get rough morning sickness, and also has some complication with my pelvic ligaments, which left me unable to walk on a couple of (thankfully brief) occasions.

  • Reply Julie Hall September 28, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Do you know if you can use a photo poster or if it just needs to be a regular print? I want to do a bigger canvas and it looks like walmart has a decent deal on a poster print.

    • Reply Keren September 30, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Julie, this should work great with a poster print, too.

  • Reply Aarathi October 4, 2012 at 7:08 am

    This is SO brilliant!! I am so going to do this!! Ive been looking for was to incorporate words/sayings/positive phrases into large frames and this is such a cost effective way to do it! Thanks!!

  • Reply Pinterest Project: DIY Canvas | Wholesome WomanhoodWholesome Womanhood April 23, 2013 at 11:29 pm

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