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.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for this super duper idea!! I have a kind of silly question:how long should one wait for the Modge Podge to dry before piling books on top?

Kristi said...

That is so awesome!

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I let the Mod Podge dry overnight. I shoved it under the bed in the guest bedroom to hide it from Husband while it was drying.

Selynn said...

That's an awesome idea! I have a picture I've been trying to figure out what to do with that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg and this is perfect!!

Designing Domesticity said...

Wow, great idea. Thanks for sharing. Stopping by from Met Monday. Liz

Kate @ craftwhatever said...

This is a great idea! I could do this with my kids' photos and it would look so nice in our house!

Mistress Nine said...

I love this idea!!

Linda Miller said...

Great job, and great idea. How big was your photo? Did it have wrinkles from the modge podge?

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I wanted to go bigger but 18 x 24 inches was the largest size I could make still be able to hide it from Husband for his birthday. I don't have wrinkles because I used the plastic card to smooth them out when I adhered the photo to the canvas. Having a darker photo to hide any Mod Podge boo boos helps.

Unknown said...

I am absolutely going to try this. I bought a canvas print of my mom's dog for her at Christmas a couple of years ago (big sale, like yours) and I've wanted to have some of my own ever since.

Charlene@APinchofJoy said...

Glad to have the instructions for this -- have a pile of photos I wanted to use in redecorating and this will help! BTW -- my favorite "tool" is an old plastic card too! Great for smoothing, caulking (the rounded edge) and scraping. I would love it if you would consider linking to Busy Monday at A Pinch of Joy, a Sunday through Thursday link party for ideas that make life easier, better and more fun!

Unknown said...

looks great im sure hubby loved it

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to ask a dumb question, but when you say reprint the photo on paper, do you mean card stock or just go to the local one hour photo store and get a regular print?

Thanks for not mocking my ignorance! I'm new to DIY!

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I had my photo reprinted on photo paper through a photo store printing service. Cardstock won't take the rich colors from the print. It will look dull.

Unknown said...

Very nice! I think I'll give this a try myself.

Anonymous said...

I tried this and my photo paper rolled up from the mod podge. Then my mod podge seeped through the picture and caused wierd discolaration and wrinkling (a card wouldn't get rid of the wrinkles). What am I doing wrong?

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I'm not sure. Maybe you used too much Mod Podge and that's why it seeped through?

Alma Clark said...

Are you using photo transfer modge podge or regular modge podge? I have seen websites use both, and while your version looks the easiest, I am now confused about which modge podge to use.
Thanks, Jessica Clark

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I used regular Mod Podge.

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