Making a Custom Art Canvas

Making art is as necessary as water for me.  Getting my hands dirty and creating something from scratch brings life to my soul.  Am I alone in this?  Come on raise your hand if you love creating!!  If you’re reading this I’m sure you love creating in some way but you don’t always have time, right?  These little canvas are simple and easy to make.  And only take about an hour sans drying time!  Want to learn how?  YAY!  Let’s get creating!

What you’ll need:
A canvas (start with a 5×5 size.  The small sizes are much easier and more forgiving to start out on)
Gel Medium (I use Liquitex, but any brand will do)
A brush
Furniture Polish
A Xerox copy of your photo (remember it will be mirrored once it’s on the canvas)For this project I choose a 6×6 canvas and a 5×5 Holga film camera photo.  I wanted a white border around the image, but definitely not necessary.
Step 1:  Spread a layer of gel medium on the canvas.  Be careful to spread it thin enough and as smooth as possible.  If there are thick areas you’ll end up rubbing the photo off along with the paper.  Place the photo print side down.   Don’t do what I did the first time and put the photo up….
Smooth out the image and remove any air bubbles.  You want the whole image securely sticking to the canvas.  Let it dry over night.Step 2:  Use a spray bottle or sponge to soak the canvas.  Once the paper has soaked up the water you can rub gently on the paper.  I’ve used paper towels and sponges, but on small canvases it works best to just use your finger.  The important thing to remember is to rub gently.  The ink will rub off too, so go slow.

Step 3:  Once you’ve removed the majority of the paper I like to use a rough sponge to rough up the edges.  Can’t have it to clean!  Let the canvas dry out for bit.

Step 4:   You’ll notice that once it’s dry the photo still looks cloudy with paper residue.  The easiest way to rid the canvas of fog is furniture polish!  The oily kind that’s just for real wood furniture.  Pour a little on a cloth and rub it into the canvas.  It clears it right up!  It took me trying about 10 different products to figure that out!And that’s all there is to it!  A small canvas like this one only takes about an hour of time sans the waiting for it to dry.  It’s the perfect way to add some vintage to your photos!  And experiment on your own.  The larger the canvas the less room there is for error, but the WOW factor is totally worth it!

A bonus to all you lovely little crafters, I’m offering a free 10×10 custom canvas to anyone that books a wedding in the month of June!  Email me for details,

xoxo – Rachael

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  • Dawn b March 12, 2013

    Thanks! Mad my day, and got my mojo working.

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