20 minute crafter-DIY photo canvas


First of all...I apologize for the quality of some of these photos.  I was full expecting this NOT to work so I didn't even bother getting out my real camera until the end.  It looks too easy,  but I promise that it IS easy and quick.  And the result is darling.
Want to save several dozen dollars and make your OWN photo canvas?
Do you have a printer?  Do you have a canvas?  Well let's get on it.
 First, I trimmed down regular tissue paper to standard paper size (8 1/2in by 11in).
 Then, I did my best to iron it flat.  High heat with no steam. 
I then ran the tissue paper through the printer like regular paper.  I manually loaded it to make sure it was in there right.  It worked perfectly.  I was stunned.  And still not using anything to document it other than my phone because I was sure this would all fall apart at any moment.  I gathered my mod podge and a foam brush.
Then I put a thin coat of mod podge on the canvas...
...gently laid my tissue paper over the canvas and quickly centered it...then working from the inside out...ever so gently pressed the tissue down and pushed the bubbles out towards the sides.  Work QUICKLY but carefully.  All the bubbles and wrinkles will come out. 
Keep working until you get them all out...when you are done trim the edges.  The tissue paper will allow the lovely canvas texture to peek through. 
 When that is done...gently add a light layer of mod podge on top.  BE GENTLE. 
 Allow to dry.  And you are done!!! Wasn't that easy?
The result is a wonderful photo canvas that is pennies on the dollar...I'm thinking the total cost is around $1.50 or so (I bought a dozen 8 by 10in canvases from Michaels for around $10 with a coupon).

I can't wait to try this again with a black and white photo...or for Christmas gifts! 

I'd love to see if you try this!  Have fun!

P.S. I have an InkJet printer. :) 
Pin It!

85 comments:

BeccaMarie Designs said...

Wow, where did you get this idea? It's great. Thanks for not only sharing but also making it a tutorial. Don't worry, the photos are fine :)

HotHarmony said...

Where did you get the tissue paper?

Ashley said...

Where did you get the PRAY sign?
You always have the best decorations on your mantle :)

Grace said...

Thats awesome! I wonder how you would feed a tissue paper through the printer? I have visions of it getting gunked up with ink and jamming the printer :)

Shannon said...

I have done this on tiles for coasters and they look great...haven't tried the tissue paper on canvas yet. This will be my next project:) I tape my tissue paper to a piece of card stock and it goes through the printer just fine. Thanks for this wonderful idea!

Rhiannon said...

awesome idea! pinning this!

TG said...

What kind of a printer? Does it matter if its an ink cartridge or a laser toner?

Donna said...

Just shouted you out on my facebook page! I am beyond impressed and yeah, I would have thought it would have ripped!

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Loopy-Loop-Creations/236540319740508?sk=wall

laceylady said...

What kind of printer are you using, laser or ink jet?

Tait said...

Just did this and it came out GREAT! I decided to sponge paint a thin line around the edge where the picture meets the canvas and it looks very artsy. A black and white or sepia photo would look vintage with black around it. Thanks for the awesome (and easy!) idea.

Hadar said...

TOtally cool!!!

Heidi said...

This is awesome! Please come share at our link party...junkintheirtrunk.blogspot.com/2011/11/link-it-up-wednesday-5.html

K_FeAtHeR said...

Did you use your fingers to push out the bubbles?

Suzanne Bay said...

If you're short on time, you can get awesome 5x7 tabletop canvases for only $12.99 on cvs.com. The 8x10s are also reasonably priced at $19.99. My friends all LOVED them. :)

amanda said...

I did this for Christmas presents! I taped my tissue paper to the printer paper before sending it through the printer. My pictures aren't exactly centered and one has a slight tear but they still look great!

Vicki Dutcher said...

This is so fun! i can't wait to try it~

Ashley said...

OMG this is awesome!!! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial

Michelle Ann said...

Okay so I was totally inspired by this idea. I made 4 of these for my sister for Christmas, I did pictures of my nephew. The first one I did was a HUGE struggle bus... Then I learned if you tape the tissue to the computer paper it gets easier AND I have a very cheap (free w/ purchase) printer so the (lack of) gentleness of the print kept tearing the tissue. Then I realized (I have a Mac) that you can change the paper quality to "special paper" and I used the Iron-On option... and it printed so much softer with less ink so the tissue didn't smear or get ripped! Sooo awesome! I'm ecstatic! The last 3 turned out awesome. I'm going to do a 1/2 inch black ribbon around the edge of mine to cover up where the canvas meets the print and to give it a "finished" look. I thought it would make it look kind of framed.

Again, awesome idea! Thanks for sharing =] Hope my tips help anyone else who runs into the same snags I did. (on the plus side, I learned the secret compartment to unjam my printer ;-)

Diane S said...

Great idea. I am amazed that you didn't have to adhere the tissue paper to freezer paper 1st before putting it thru the printer. Love this Idea. thanks for sharing.

Viv said...

WOW!! What a brilliant idea!! Gotta do this! (Found you through Pinterest and will follow you)! xxx

A Creative Operation said...

I totally have to try this...this is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

Official Pinterest-er said...

I just did this for Valentine's Day! I used regular printer paper and the picture was in black and white. The only difference here is that you have to be super careful when adjusting it and to make sure you put a good layer on the canvas before laying the picture down. My picture did tear a wee little bit when I moved it (I had to pull it up and put more mod podge on the canvas because of bubbles.) But I had ribbon that was going to frame the picture and it covered it up nicely! LOVE THIS PROJECT!

PJ Hornberger said...

Thank you. Very good tutorial! And the photos were just fine. LOL

Princess_zelda_2009 said...

I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!

I taped the tissue paper to a regular sheet before printing to get it to go through better. I also let the ink dry, then ironed it again since it got a little wiggly with the ink. I have a laser printer and the pic comes out a littler darker than expected. So I lightened it, had the pic fade to black edges, and reprinted. Then after placing the tissue on the canvas, I just pressed the bubbles down instead of smoothing them out. I didn't want to rip it or smear the ink. It left little wrinkles, but I think the texture looks nice. There was a spot near one of the edges that tore a bit. After I trimmed off some of extra from the other side, I cut that into strips the length of the tear and stuck them down to cover it up. It's not really noticeable, especially with the second coat of Mod Podge. Which by the way, I made my own using the Pinterest recipe of 1:1 water and Elmer's glue. I made it a little thick to try to avoid smearing the ink too much. It looks great right now, but it still has a few wet spots. After it dries I'm going to paint the uncovered sides black so the edges of the pic aren't visible since they're black. I'll probably give it a coat of clear spray paint later on just to seal it better since I only used glue and water.

Creative Lady said...

sounds great! cant wait to see a picture of your project..

Tracey said...

I just made 2 of these tonight ... and I love them. I found it useful to tape my tissue paper to cardstock when printing. I also found it helpful to iron my image after it was printed and before Modge Podging it to the canvas. I did this by ironing it between the cardstock and another sheet of tissue paper (so as to not get ink on the iron). I used two landscape photos. :)

Modern Allergy Mom said...

Really neat! Is there a reason why you used tissue paper instead of regular paper?

Nancy Claeys said...

Saw this on Pinterest and had to visit you. This is fantastic! Thank you so much for your creativity. :)

Lindagie said...

Someone asked about the printer. Did you say it had to be a laser printer, not inkjet?

Mimi said...

This is a great idea. What do you use to smooth out the bubbles? Your finger or the foam brush?

Linda said...

I used this idea with a 16 by 20 print I ordered from Costco. It worked perfectly. I just used a sponge to mod podge the photo onto the canvas. I also painted the edges of the canvas before I mod podged the photo.

Jennie said...

Hi,
I'm in the UK and was wobdering what modge podge is?
Thank you!

Diane Swett said...

for Jennie - Moge podge is a glue with additives like varnish - You can make your own but here is a great explination why you shouldn't http://www.modpodgerocksblog.com/2011/11/why-you-shouldnt-make-your-own-mod.html
Her is a recipie for homemade if you would like to try it: Repurposeful Play: How to Make

Homemade Mod Podge!
Posted in: Do It Yourself,Family, Family // 3 Comments
Anyone else addicted to Mod Podge?! My love for Mod Podge goes all the way back to my junior high days and I still love it. BUT, it’s pretty expensive, so I am excited to find a way to make it myself with items I have on hand!
What you will need:
 1 jar (An old pasta sauce or salsa jar will work)
 1 bottle of Elmer’s glue (Hopefully you stocked up with the Back to School sales)
 water
Empty the glue into the jar. Add water; you will need equal parts water and glue, so you can even use the (now) empty glue bottle to measure your water. Now, shake the jar until it’s well blended. You will need to shake it a lot, so pace yourself!! This recipe will make Mod Podge that is a little on the runny side. If you want yours to be a little thicker add more glue.
Homemade Mod Podge

lindatwell said...

Love it and cant wait to try, thanks so much for sharing!

Ann said...

Thanks for the 'how to' on this.
Can't wait to try it.
Also, I just bought the exact same owls you have in the first picture at a yard sale last month! I was surprised to see them here. : )

Becca said...

Hi I've tried to do this but my printer keeps eating up the tissue paper so I tried taping it to card and its done the same and just shoves it out the other end ripped!help

Holly Carter said...

This is my new favorite craft! I linked up to your tutorial on my blog about my own photo canvas creations.
http://www.optionsabounddesigns.com/2012/06/05/diy-canvas-prints Thank you so much for sharing!

Meg said...

There is a thin paper that you can get in the scrapbook section. I used it for wedding invitations, I bet that would work better in the printer.

Meg said...

There is a thin paper that you can get in the scrapbook section. I used it for wedding invitations, I bet that would work better in the printer.

Leni said...

Hello, my name is Leni and I'm from Brazil. Forgive me the errors of English.His work was wonderful. I'll try to do it.if you want to add me on facebook, look me up by Penachio Arte and Crafts. My blog http://penachioarte.blogspot.com.

the Grammar Gramma said...

I have found that spraying the photo after printing with clear fixative keeps it from bleeding when modpodged...I use an inkjet printer.

Kristin K said...

I'm not sure how this worked for others but it ended up jamming up my printer. End result: bloody thumb (from ripping out paper) and broken $300 printer. I wouldnt suggest this on a printer you care about! I guess you would need to use a cheaper printer you could manually feed it through.

Kristin K said...

I don't know how other got this to work but it totally failed on me. End result: Jammed printer, bloody thumb from unjamming it, and broken $300 printer. I wouldn't suggest this on an expensive printer, rather one you could manually feed it through.

PrncssAmarasMommy said...

It's called Vellum. I was wondering if anyone had tried using it instead of tissue paper epically after some of the comments I've read about issues with the tissue paper.

PrncssAmarasMommy said...

It's called vellum. After reading several of these comments I was curious to know if anyone else had thought to use it.

Michelle Glass said...

I'm going to try this with tracing paper instead of tissue paper seems a little sturdy and might go through the printer easier....anyone else try it with tracing paper????

Sara said...

If you've ever printed on vellum you know that the ink can bead up on top of the paper -- I've used a "vellum" setting when printing on vellum. I imagine the tissue would absorb the ink somewhat. I'm still concerned with the ink jet ink running or smearing with the Mod Podge. I have "Mod Podge for Paper", I think that's the one I'll use.

I have a printer that will print bigger than 12x12 and I think I'd like to try printing larger and wrap the picture over the edges of the canvas....

Great tute - thanks. Found you on Pinterest.

Sara
www.TheOtherEndOfTheCandle.com

Charity Dee said...

Hi, I've used both an ink jet and laser printer with tissue paper. Both came out fine. I used a glue stick and dabbed the corners of regular paper and attached tissue paper to it. I did my project by mod podging the tissue printed photos to a glass cup candle holder fom dollar tree. Came out nice, especially when the candle is lit! :)

Charity Dee said...

Hi, I've used both an ink jet and laser printer with tissue paper. Both came out fine. I used a glue stick and dabbed the corners of regular paper and attached tissue paper to it. I did my project by mod podging the tissue printed photos to a glass cup candle holder fom dollar tree. Came out nice, especially when the candle is lit! :)

Charity Dee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda said...

I use freezer paper when putting something other than copy paper. I iron fabric, etc., to the shiny side of the freezer paper that has been cut to 8 1/2 x 11 size and hand feed it into my ink jet printer. After a few minutes I am able to peel it off the freezer paper. I rarely have a problem with tearing.
I going to try this soon. Thanks. B

crystal said...

Hi! I tried this once..with freezer paper and did it the exact same way..however after a few days green spots started to appear on the canvas and it kinda ruined the picture. Do you have any idea why this happened? Feel free to email me at crystalann823@gmail.com

Karla86 said...

I did this project and it turned out great. I mod podged wrapping paper along the sides of the frame and then did the picture on top looked great

Kendra Bingham said...

Thanks so much for this idea! had to tape the tissue paper to a regular sheet of paper and send it through like normal... also ink will only print on one side of the tissue paper (the side that looks shinier). Instead of a picture I chose a memory verse I loved and typed it on word then added jewels and pearls to the canvas afterwards! LOVE THE IDEA!

Kendra Bingham said...

Tried this at home and LOVED it! A few things I had to do differently were tape the tissue paper to a sheet of regular paper so it would run through my printer (I have a brother MFC-J435 Inkjet). Also it would only print on one side of the tissue paper (the side that's glossy). instead of a picture I typed a memory verse I love and added jewels or bead-pearls to spice it up! GREAT IDEA! Thanks for posting!

Michelle Hinchey DeLaughter said...

Love this. Thanks for the step by step. Here are a few tips I've learned.
1 Tissue paper is better than vellum, regular paper or photo paper. When you apply the tissue correctly it appears like the photo is printed on the canvas. Other papers appear like its just placed over canvas. This is NOT the outcome I desire.

2 When you use tissue paper apply pressure from the front & back of the canvas with your hands so you can sink the paper into the grooves of the canvas. This makes it look printed directly on the canvas.

3 cut the tissue larger than the copy paper & fold it over then tape it on the back side. This prevents it from jamming in the printer!!!!

4 Iron the wrinkles 1st is a must. My printer smears on the wrinkles if I don't iron!

Michelle Hinchey DeLaughter said...

Love this. Thanks for the step by step. Here are a few tips I've learned.
1 Tissue paper is better than vellum, regular paper or photo paper. When you apply the tissue correctly it appears like the photo is printed on the canvas. Other papers appear like its just placed over canvas. This is NOT the outcome I desire.

2 When you use tissue paper apply pressure from the front & back of the canvas with your hands so you can sink the paper into the grooves of the canvas. This makes it look printed directly on the canvas.

3 cut the tissue larger than the copy paper & fold it over then tape it on the back side. This prevents it from jamming in the printer!!!!

4 Iron the wrinkles 1st is a must. My printer smears on the wrinkles if I don't iron!

Laura Tadlock said...

How do I keep from the ink on the tissue paper from smearing? I let my picture dry overnight, then I mod podge it to the canvas, let it dry for about 45 minutes, then I put mod podge over it and it smears my ink. What am I doing wrong? Mine are all smeared. Should I turn the ink volume down one notch on my printer?

Laura Tadlock said...

How do I keep the image from smearing? I print the image out on tissue paper, let it dry over night, then i mod podge it to the canvas, then let it dry for about 45 minutes, then put mod podge over it for the finishing touch. It still smears the ink when I put the final finish on it, how can I keep it from doing that? Should I turn the ink volume down a notch on my printer? I have a HP Photosmart printer.

Bailey said...

This DID NOT WORK!!! I have a Lexmark Intuition printer and I tried just running the tissue paper through and it jammed. I tried taping tissue paper to regular paper and it jammed even worse!!! :( Really bummed because this was going to be a gift.

AJ said...

I just did this step-by-step and once I put the mod podge on top of the picture it removed all the brown out of the background and mixed with the blue of my image's shirt- creating a purple/pink hue of glue covering everything! So I cleaned it all up carefully with water to remove all the purple and now the background is green... so it doesn't go with my bathroom decor anymore. Gotta fgure out where to put this now. Is there a way -or something to spray- to keep the colors from bleeding/smearing? 20minute project turned into an hours worth w/o the desired result.

nickielise said...

Hey :) first off, let me just say that I LOVE your guidelines [Ephesians 4:29].

Secondly, I was just wondering if this also works when printing large images?

Thanks for posting this by the way! I'm definitely going to try it!

My email address is: nixx_92@hotmail.com

Thank you! :)

The McCarthy Family said...

I love the idea of using tissue paper, although I printed it this way attached to regular paper and it printed fine but came out dark. I can't lighten it too much as its a pic of my dog who is very blond so I then printed on regular paper. By the 4th picture I finally got all the wrinkles out. I don't think I used enough modge podge on the others. But I still like the look of the canvas better and not just a photo tacked on top. I will have to try the tissue paper again only setting the printer to iron on as one other reader suggested. Thanks for all the great ideas!

Dawn Murphy said...

What is mod podge? Is it an american thing?

Korinne King said...

What do you mean you used it for a 16x20? You used a regular photo? I'd like to do a canvas larger than my printer could print on tissue paper, but I can't think of how I could!

The Alakaby's said...

My tissue paper jammed... took me 30 min to unjam it....

kulkedisi said...

Hi, I tried this project before. first, I printed my picture on regular paper. But I have problem with the quality of the picture. It was the best setting on my camera. So, it is because of my printer, or camera? Do I need to print the pictures in the stores? My second question is; I got lots of bubbles between the canvas and pict. When I try to remove them, the paper ripped. what did I do wrong? thanks for help.

Desiree Nemec said...

First, let me say that I was able to print out a beautiful picture of my nephew, and the canvas, although a bit wrinkled, turned out great. I didn't mess with the colors and they came out very vibrant!

Just a couple notes:
1. As I saw mentioned by others, cut your tissue paper a little long and tape it to the back of a piece of BLANK copy paper. My printer would not feed the tissue paper alone through without eating it. Also when I recycled an unused Fedex label, it transferred onto the picture. 2. Look at how your printer feeds. My manual tray feeds so that the printer grabs the copy paper not the tissue paper, but my other tray did not and ate the tissue paper.

Otherwise, I am in love with this project and will be doing it again!! Thanks for posting!!

April Woronec said...

This was awesome and easy. A lot of people asked if u you used your finger or other tool. At first I used a brush and couldn't get it right so I used my finger and that worked a lot better. I lined up the top of the picture with the canvas and held the bottom of the picture with my other hand then rubbed left to right across the picture as I layed it down as I went. Hope this helps.

Audie Mecum said...

I just tried this and it didn't work out so well for me. I tried to manually load the tissue paper in the printer and the printer just ran it though and said "out of paper". So I tried to tape the tissue onto regular printer paper and the printer just tore the tissue paper to shreds. What kind of printer do you own? I have an HP Deskjet 2050

Charli Robinson said...

Sorry but no where do I read when the photo is added? Did I just miss it?

BJRaynor said...

I do this all the time but I tape the tissue paper to a piece of card stock before feeding it through the printer. I measure the tissue about a 1/2 in longer than the card stock and tape the tissue to the card stock by folding the excess over the card stock. I then put the full tissue paper side down in the printer. Works every time.

Luvlyjess said...

Regular paper won't flex to the canvas, nor would it show the canvas textures :)

Luvlyjess said...

Regular paper won't flex to the canvas nor show the canvas texture :)

the seeley family said...

I read this post last summer (found you via Pinterest) and tried it out. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. :( The paper fed through the printer fine without jamming it, but the ink bled horribly when printed (despite trying multiple printer settings, even using very little ink with a draft print). I didn't even try putting it on to a canvas because the print looked so bad, despite using a high-end photo printer.

I decided to try my own technique and printed my photos on matte photo paper and adhered them to the canvas with mod podge, and I also painted the edges so they woud look nicer. Looks great! I have a post about it on my blog. :)

floosy said...

I have used tissue to print on, taping the top edge down with invisible sticky tape which is nice and flat. That is the edge which goes into the printer.
I use a brayer, or ink roller to smooth the tissue paper onto the canvas. Also I have used a small foam paint roller, dry, which is nice because it is gentle but does a good job.

Erin Stevens said...

There are a few things about this project I have found.

First, the kind of printer you have is a factor. I wasn't able to get mine to work right. The reason is my printer doesn't feed but one way. The way it feeds grabs from the top, which tears the tissue paper every time. You must have a printer that will grab from behind the page. Usually this will be the manual feed area. I don't have a manual feed on my printer.

I was able to get the project done, but not using my own printer.

The other problem that I have read as a recurring problem is the bleeding of the inks. You have to first let it dry. After it has dried you MUST spray it with a spray fixative. This seals the ink in the paper and will prevent it from running.

I hope this helps someone that is making one and has one of these issues.

stuhr727 said...

Definitely need to get special canvas paper and there are a few things to consider when printing, recommend ensuring you have plenty of ink and canvas to do a few practices. Have you tried printing a single Photo on Canvas across three separate canvases?

OMGitsAnOwl said...

Hey anybody got a tip for this to work on an epson printer?

OMGitsAnOwl said...

hey anyone got a tip for this to work on an Epson printer?

Terry Murphy said...


So wonderful idea's given indeed you are i really appreciated with that so thanks for share these ideas with us get more details just
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Nyssa said...

I have also done this, like others taped the tissue paper to plain paper before printing. I made it larger so could tape on the back.
To stick it down, I used spray adhesive and started in the corner - spray a line diagonally, rub it down using a dry foam brush. This way I could get it wrinkle free, and had the option to lift up a re-lay the last few cms if needed. Then I mod podged over the top. To avoid smearing ink, I had to spread it quickly over a small area and then not go back over it (once it wet the ink it would smudge, so on first application when the tissue paper was still dry, it worked well).
I used my ink jet printer.
Someone earlier asked about mod podge and is it American, I'm in Australia and have no trouble finding it.
Yes you can print on other paper etc and stick it down more easily, but that doesn't let the canvas texture show through which is why I (personally) prefer the tissue paper method.
Thanks for posting your article, hope my feedback helps some people!

Jessica perez said...

I just had a quick question. Once you applied the tissue paper to the canvas and too all bubbles and wrinkles out, did you use the gloss mod podge or the matte?

Helen's Humor said...

I just printed right onto the canvas.

Mimi said...

I did it! I wish i could send you a picture....it looks amazing. I taped the tissue paper onto regular 8x11 and used the manual feed! i used a glue/water mix instead of a commercial gel and it dried beautifully. the smaller the picture, the better the look...but still amazed. you are a life saver. My son will cherish this graduation keepsake forever (I hope).

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