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DIY Photo-to-Canvas and Wood Prints

I have one pet peeve when it comes to decorating. I absolutely cannot stand a blank wall. One step in my apartment and you’ll see what I mean—not one inch of wasted space. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on wall art. I  recently started making my own canvas and wood prints, and I've found it's remarkably fun and affordable.

Here is what you need:

DIY Prints_materials
  • Photo or drawing of your choice

  • Ink jet printer

  • 1 canvas or piece of wood (Available at craft stores like Michael's or Hobby Lobby)

  • Paint brush

  • Sponge

  • Mod Podge or Gel Medium

Choose your Art

Find an electronic file of an image to print. I usually choose photos I have taken, but you can also find any photo of your liking online. (Just don't try to sell the finished product at a craft sale; keep copyright issues in mind.)

If you want to use a drawing you've made, try transferring your drawings from your sketchbook to canvas, scan a copy of it, and save it as a file. From there, you can easily adjust the size as needed.

Print it Out

Using an ink jet printer, print your image on regular white paper.

If your print has wording that you want to look exactly like the original, flip the image horizontally in photo-editing software before you print it—otherwise it will read backward.

Make it Stick

Using a paint brush, cover your canvas or wood with a generous layer of Mod Podge or Gel Medium. Place your photo directly on canvas or wood—ink side down. Firmly smooth out bubbles so the paper is nice and flat. Don’t rub the paper too hard, but make sure it is smooth.

Let dry for 24 hours.

DIY prints_steps

The Big Reveal

With a Damp sponge (don’t soak it!) gently wet the paper. Using your hand, gently rub the wet paper off. Keep wetting and rubbing the paper until all of the paper has been removed.

Using a paint brush, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge over your newly transferred print to seal your finished piece of art. Let dry.

The Finished Product

DIYPrints_ Finished Product_images


If you are using a canvas and your transfer doesn’t work exactly like you wanted, or you got a little sponge happy, don’t despair. Remove what you can from the canvas, paint over the canvas, and start over.

Above all, have fun with this! Don’t worry if some of your image does not transfer perfectly; this actually gives the finished product a charming vintage feel. You can also paint on your canvas beforehand; a solid color background really makes a black-and-white photo pop.

The finished product is so satisfying that you are not going to want to stop. But that's okay because these prints also make for awesome, affordable gifts!