Condo Blues: How to Make a Photo Canvas that Won’t Put You in the Poorhouse

Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Make a Photo Canvas that Won’t Put You in the Poorhouse

Many of my friends and family have my photography hanging in their houses.

Except me. 

Photography is our family hobby. My grandfather started the tradition. He passed the hobby onto his children, my father and my aunt. My dad passed it onto me.

One of the best photography classes I ever took was from my father in his kitchen. One by one, my Dad handed me a different type of camera lens, various telephoto, macro, and specialty lenses. I put them on my film camera body and looked through his kitchen window and at the same pot of flowers to  understand what each lens did to my subject.

Many of my family and friends have my photo hanging in their homes. I’ve been asked to shoot photos for others too.

Photography wise, it’s a cobbler’s kid doesn’t have any shoes situation around here. Here’s my photo collection. One photo of Husband and Blitzkrieg on my desk.

I took the photo of Husband and Blitzkrieg on Blitzkrieg's first vacation four years ago.

Husband regularly comments on the photo of Blitzkrieg  I use as my computer desktop wallpaper. I made a reprint of it last summer for Husband's birthday present and turned it into a custom photo canvas. I DIY'ed it because the giant print I wanted was way too expensive. The more affordable 8 x 10 canvas was way too small to hold Mr. Personality.

Given the outpouring of love you have given us during Blitzkrieg's cancer diagnosis I thought you might like to see it too.

 My personality cannot be contained by a mere 8 x 10 picture!

How to Make a Large Custom Photo Canvas

You will need:

Large reprint of your photo on paper 
Artist canvas the same size as your photo
Craft paint
Paint brush
Mod Podge
Card/smoother thingy
A bunch of heavy books

Make it:

1, Have your photo reprinted using a photo reprint service such as a local photo shop, Staples, or though an on line service such as Snapfish, Vistaprint, etc.

2. Paint all four sides and approximately one inch around the face of the canvas with craft paint and allow the paint to dry. I choose black because it matches the background edges of my photo.

I painted the sides and top to make my photo canvas look finished instead of 
slapped together in the front yard when Husband wasn't home.

3. Brush the back of the photo and the canvas with Modge Podge. You will have to move quickly on to Step 4 before the Modge Podge dries.

4. Line the photo up with the canvas. Use a card/your hand/something to smooth the bubbles out of the photo and attach the paper photo to the canvas.

I reuse an old plastic card as my Mod Podge smoother tool.

5. Pile a bunch of heavy books on top of the photo canvas to encourage everything to become always stick together BFFs.

This is when being a history geek pays off.

6. Optional: If you want a matte or glossy finish to your photo add a coat of matte or glossy Mod Podge to the photo canvas. I skipped this step.

7. Hang it up and admire! 

 Blitzkrieg looks like Big Brother, doesn’t he?

How Does My DIY Version Compare to a Professionally Printed Photo Canvas?

I had a canvas made of one of my favorite Tower Bridge photos shortly before Christmas through a sale plus coupon I can't make it for that cheap kind of deal. However, the customer service was so bad and the ordering system was so kludgy I think I'm sticking to the DIY version from here on out.

I took this photo from a water taxi on our dream London trip way too many years ago.

I hung the Tower Bridge photo in our guest bathroom. I hung Blitzkrieg as Big Brother in the living room.

The photo quality is largely the same. I think the Tower Bridge print looks a little better in this post because the lighting in my living room is darker than the guest bathroom.

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed or to Condo Blues by Email.