Pics to Canvas

So technically this pinventure was done before any residency activities began, but I’m going to blog about it anyways because I learned some interesting things along the way. Tips for the next time I do this and I do not want to forget!

I originally found this great pinterest DIY from A Beautiful Mess Blog where I also ended up pinning other genius ideas! I loved the way that her canvas had turned out, especially the imperfections making it look all “vintagey.”

Since I was about to move into a new place, I decided a couple canvas portraits would be a great idea to decorate! My friend Kathy concurred and we went out and purchased the materials.

  • canvas in size/shape of your choosing
  • gel medium from Liquitex – we chose just the regular one, heavy not super heavy and not matte
  • pictures printed to your chosen size – laser copy
  • brushes to apply gel medium

***When buying the canvas, make sure you buy one that is smaller than your print!***

We bought canvases before prints at FedEx/Kinkos so we guesstimated what we wanted the sizes to be. All turned out to be a bit too big. =/

When we went to print out our pictures, it turns out that the photo had to be sized correctly prior to them printing it out. Depending on the dimensions of your photo, especially if you had cropped it, it may not print out properly. For THEM to resize it, it would cost a ridiculous amount of money (around $8/resizing + printing costs). They also print only on 8 1/2 x 11″ or the elongated version. Otherwise prints have to be custom and would take much longer (the guy told us next day) and of course be more expensive. Therefore, the 8×10 canvas that was used in the original post seemed to be best.

***Size your photos properly especially if cropping! Check before you bring to get them printed out!***

That being said, we did our best and lugged everything back. As described, we applied the gel medium to the blank canvas giving it a generous coating. You can see our photos in the background which don’t extend to the edges of the paper!

After the gel is applied, we stuck the photos on face down onto the canvas. Be careful because once you stick it on, it is difficult to move around. If your photo is larger than the canvas it shouldn’t be TOO much of a problem unless yours is really crooked!

Then just leave it overnight to dry!

The next day we took a dishtowel and dipped it in water (generously!) and applied the water to the paper on the canvas.

When the paper is wet enough, you’ll see the image. Then just roll the wet paper off. You can actually peel it as well if you can. This part takes the longest time and you’ll probably have to go over it multiple times to make sure the paper is off. If it isn’t, it’ll dry with some white fluffy material which is additional paper. As you remove the paper, you will get the “vintage scratches.” We kept trying to figure out how the scratches were appearing…

***It seems like the scratches appear only in the direction that the brushes applied the gel medium and was dependent on how hard you stuck the photo on. Areas that were looser (more air trapping?) seemed to have more scratches. One photo that Kathy REALLY stuck on there had no scratches at all!***

Our final product wasn’t a perfect as the original I had seen and pinned, but they were pretty darn close and now after going through it once and figuring out some tips, I think I’ll have a much better second round!


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