Easy, CHEAP DIY Canvas project.

I recently got family pictures done by the fabulous Emily, and really wanted to do something different with them. I usually just hang pictures in a frame but this time I wanted a canvas! I love them, but it was way too expensive for me. My friend showed me a MUCH cheaper way for a DIY project (we are talking $7 a “canvas”, and that includes the developed picture!)

Here is the finished project. And if you like it, read on for how it is done. :)

First I went to Lowes and bought the cheapest board they have (12″ x 36″). I believe it was around $6.50 for the board, and you can pay .25 a cut at Lowes as well. I had them cut the board into three equal parts (12″ x 12″).

I picked up Mod Podge as well, and some sponge brushes.

I developed my pictures at Costco for $2.99 a picture! (12″ x 12″)

First step is to paint the boards.

I painted the whole back and the sides grey. I just used left over house paint.

Next you let the paint dry, and mod podge the area you are going to put the picture on as well as the back of the picture.
(I got caught up in the project and forgot to take pictures! Ha)
Press on the picture firmly while rubbing out any bubbled areas.
Once the picture is on there, you can mod podge the top and sides.
Don’t freak out about the glue, it WILL dry clear!
I would try and keep an even coat throughout as well as brushing it on in one direction the whole time.

This was taken while the glue was drying. You can still see it a little.

About one hour later they were dry and ready to be displayed!

I still need to go pick up something to hang them with, but I think they turned out awesome!

Here, one of my friends used the same color boards and did black and white pictures, and it looked FABULOUS!


My other friend did white boards, and it looked amazing as well!

What do you think of the finished project?


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133 comments on “Easy, CHEAP DIY Canvas project.

  1. I just made some photo coasters with this same idea. I used the modge podge, putting one layer is straight brush stokes & let dry overnight. The next day I applied another coat in the opposite direction. It really gave it that canvas look.
    I’ll be trying these big prints too.

  2. Did you use the Gloss or Matte Modge Podge? And did you rivet out a spot for a hole on the back to hang or use a hook? Thanks! Very cool idea!

  3. I’ve seen something similar on another blog where they distressed the edges. They used heavy paper instead of photo paper. I’m wondering if I could use photo paper and still distress the edges? Any thoughts? Thanks! Cute pics by the way! ~ Mel

  4. I love this idea! However, what state do I prep the photo in? How do i print the photo with it backgroundless? normally the pictures have a abackground & yours are backgroundless so it illuminates as the board ois the background. THX!! Cant wait to try with your reply

  5. I love this idea but I’m scared to death I’ll mess up the pictures. I guess there’s only one way to find out…thank you for posting this

  6. I am wondering do you put the mod podge on both sides of picture and which mod podge is best the Matte or gloss-luste…and can you use any kind of picture? Thanks

  7. @Heather The pictures actually do have a background. The location where the pictures were taken had a big wall. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  8. Hello there. I love this idea! When you say you put mod podge on the top and sides…do you actually put it on the picture? Or just around it on the sides of the board?

  9. I did this last night! It came out amazing!!! I am going to do a few more!! can’t wait! Super easy and beautiful outcome!

  10. LOVE this project! im so glad I found it off pinterest, cause im definitely doing it! just need to get some pics done now : ) great job!!

  11. I did these yesterday and LOVE them! Thank you for the idea and convincing me to enter the world of Modgepodge…I can’t wait to hang them!

  12. This is going to sound dumb, but do I put the picture on the board face down or face up? Also if I use regular paper will it not turn out glossy? Thanks!

  13. I love this idea, I’m so excited to wake up and go get the supplies tomorrow! I’m also wondering what Charley asked (question #13). I’ve never used Mod Podge nor have I done anything like this so am I actually pasting the picture to the board or am I painting it face down to “rub off” for display on the board?

  14. Did you have pictures printed on photo paper or regular paper? I want to do this with our black and white wedding pictures but don’t know what kind of paper to print on. Thanks! Great idea!

  15. I would like to know what paper you printed on….and did you mod-podge all of the front of the picture….or just around the edges? And does it matter with the mod-podge…gloss or matte?

  16. Just out of curiosity, why do you have to paint anything besides the edges if the pic is going to cover up one side and it is going to be hanging on a wall?
    What kind of modge podge did you use? What kind of photo paper?

  17. I have done this before with prints from kinkos. It cost like 60 cents to make a black and white print that was pretty big. The best way to hang these are either the command brand hooks. I like using either the velcro or regular sticky ones. They come off easy from the wall if you need to move them but are able to hold the picture up without a problem!

  18. Here is an idea to keep it cheap and recycle at the same time… use the tabs on soda cans as hangers. You can glue them in place and bend them out of needed. I use these for lots of crafts and it works great! Love the finished photos! Such a sweet family!

  19. Did you apply the photo the the side of the wood that was painted or not painted? Would love to know as I am almost done with this project except for mod podging the photo to the wood! :) Thank you in advance!

  20. What a great idea. You could use a rubber brayer to remove all the bubbles after placing the print on the Modge Podge.

  21. I bought some 8×10 canvas boards (2 for $6) at Walmart and used spray adhesive for attaching the photos. Modge podge sometimes clumps and can be seen pushing up under the photo. The spray adhesive works great. You can also find the 8×10 canvas boards as a bundle of 10 for around $20 at Michaels. After I smooth out the photo from the backside of the canvas, turn it over, let it dry for an hour and then trim the edges of the picture that overlap the frame.
    You can either paint the sides of the frame before or after you glue the photo down. Lastly, I applied a coat of Mod Podge (Matt style looks better, that Gloss), all over the photo and on all sides of the frame, then repeated with another coat the next day.
    The finished project looked like a $50 professional canvas print.Good luck.

  22. Glad it worked for you, Dan! Ansley, it is not mirrored, it’s just glueing the picture to the wood.

  23. would love to do these and give them for christmas gift.. i just have a few questions making sure i do it righ t.

    after the picture is placed on the board , do you put glue on top of all the picture or just the top?

    what kind of paper was the picture printed on?

    gloss or matte glue?

    on what side was the picture glued on, painted or not painted?

    please please help…:) i so much wanna do these for my family as gift

    thank you

  24. Roxanne, good questions! You put glue all over on top and bottom, it will all dry clear because it is mod podge. I think matte mod podge would work best. The picture is just a photo. It can be either matte or gloss,, doesn’t matter. The picture is glued on a board that is either painted or not, doesn’t matter. did that answer your questions? :)

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