DIY Canvas Art

We’ve had this large blank wall in our dining room, desperately screaming for art. My husband and I contemplated purchasing a traditional piece of art, but it would need to fit our taste, budget, and decor. Our budget really limited us…not that we couldn’t afford items so much as I couldn’t see spending so much money on one piece of art that I would probably want to donate in a few years. Besides, we were hoping to find something with personal meaning or significance.

One idea was to print one of our photos onto canvas through a local drugstore. Eh. Large canvas pieces tend to be rather spendy. A few years back we had Kinkos print a black and white drafting/engineering for roughly $6.00 and placed it behind an old window frame. It’s a great idea, but I wanted something different for our dining room. And…we already have an old window bar sign in that room!

Our solution was to create our own mini canvas prints with personal photos and Mod Podge (seriously love that stuff). For the first time EVER, I remembered to take progress photos to share a tutorial. I’m not sure about everyone else, but my “easy” projects always take much longer than expected. Mostly, it’s related to craft ADD and my failure to follow directions. (Those who know me would say this is odd, unlike me. A good friend said, “it’s cause you’re a libra and part way through you think, I got this and toss the directions aside.” It’s true, very true.) This project didn’t seem to take too long. Why? I had no directions. I made it up as I went. But, for those of you who want them, here are the steps.

Materials
8×8 photos
8×10 canvas (I got a 10 pack with a 50% off coupon from Michael’s)
Mod Podge
Foam brush
Paper cutter
Graphite or Carbon copy paper
Paint pen
Pencil
Printed font/lettering preference

1. Print your photos and buy your materials (all of them, the first time around). I used the Walgreens App and printed 8×8 photos from my Instagram account. You could also print other size photos and cut to fit any size canvas.

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2. I cut my photos down to 7 and 3/4 inch square to help them fit the canvas better. As with most first timers, I learned this the hard way. The true 8×8 size was not as easy to Mod Podge and would probably have not worked as well.

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3. I covered the area of the canvas where the photo would be with Mod Podge to assist with photo adherence. *Action shots while in motion are not my specialty!

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4. & 5. After placing the photo down, I covered with a thin layer of Mod Podge. I let each coat dry for roughly 15 minutes then added another. I did three layers total all in the same direction. You could go vertical, then horizontal, and vertical again to create a thatched look. I opted for all vertical strokes.

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6. After I was content with my Mod Podge layers, I sprayed with a coat of sealant. Yep, just one. This sh*t scares me! I use it in the basement and it’s not as open/airy as I would prefer. I open the windows, but when the gas kicks on I fear blowing up the house. So…don’t do I as do and follow the instructions! I would probably have done 2-3 coats if I weren’t a scaredy cat.

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7. If interested, label the photos. I printed out the size and style of font desired from my computer. I used a small piece of graphite paper atop the canvas and put the printer paper on top that, then lightly traced the lettering. This gave a nice base to use the paint pen versus freehand.

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8. Stand back and admire your work. I love the look, they remind me of old Polaroids! I also love that these are all places we’ve been, photos I took, and were inexpensive enough to be changed out when I get bored of looking at them.

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9. Hang on the wall. We used 3M photo hanging strips (the canvas are super light) and a laser level to create this layout.

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Family Tree Wall

This project began long ago…so long ago that I can not recall when it started (gulp!). I remember stumbling across a family tree idea on Pinterest and thinking, “I should do something like that.”

I wanted to display the whole family together and found the perfect vinyl tree in California while visiting my sister. Of course, I didn’t buy it because I couldn’t fit in my carry-on. I was certain I could find one just like it when I returned home. BUT, I couldn’t. It may just be me, but whenever I am looking for something specific, I can never find it! JoAnn’s had a few trees, but they were too whimsical or had attached birds. Finally, I tried my hand at the internet and found the same one I stumbled upon in California.

All of the frames came from Goodwill. This part of the project took time ’cause I was picky with the look of the frames. As I collected them, I spray painted them in copper for an antique feel. Some of them were not meant to hang on he wall, so I had to attach picture hangers with super glue.

For continuity, I choose to print all the pictures with an effect similar to sepia, called cinnamon. Lucky for me Walgreens has an Android app that allowed me to print pictures directly from my phone (the only place with the cinnamon effect). However, this meant figuring out methods for getting the older photos I wanted to use to my phone. I won’t bore you with the processes here!

The final piece was adding a cute ‘lil family sign that I scored from Hobby Lobby. I am pleased with the final project.

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