DIY Photo Canvas

Easy DIY Photo Canvas

One of my all time favorite project ideas from Pinterest is making your own photo canvas.  I LOVE photos and using them as home decor so this is the perfect project for me.

After doing this project several times and making some mistakes, I’ve found a method that works really well and looks more realistic.

Today I’ll show you how to do it!

DIY Realistic Photo Canvas


Photo and canvas of the same size

Black (or any color you choose) acrylic paint

Small foam paint brush

Mod Podge (matte version)

Small foam roller (like this one)

Small foam roller

Now For The Project!

Months ago I printed out this Dated Design Wall Art as a picture (since I don’t have a color printer) so my picture for the project will look similar to this:


1) Paint the sides and part of the front of the canvas with black acrylic paint like you see in the picture below.  Wait for the paint to fully dry.  Honestly I’d wait until the next day to do the rest of the project to make sure the paint won’t bleed onto the photo.

supplies for diy photo canvas

2) Once the paint is fully dry, trim the edges of the photo so it will fit on the canvas.

3) Using the foam brush (not the roller) put a thin layer of Mod Podge over the top of the canvas. Place photo on top of wet Mod Podge.  Gently press the photo down onto the canvas. This will glue the photo to the canvas.

4) Brush another thin layer of Mod Podge over the picture and sides of the canvas.  It’s a little scary “painting” over a picture, but trust me it will dry clear.  The wet Mod Podge on top of the picture will create a “milky” look like this:

wet mod podge

5) After covering the whole picture and sides of the canvas, take the DRY foam roller and roll over the Mod Podge slowly to create a “matte” effect.  Be careful not to create “bubbles” in the Mod Podge like this :

diy photo canvas

If you’ve got bubbles using the dry roller, you have too much Mod Podge on the picture and or the roller.  Take a little off and try again. This is what it should look like wet; a little “texture” but no bubbles.

diy photo canvas

6) Set the canvas on a sheet of wax paper and let dry.

This is what my project looked like dry.

Easy DIY Photo Canvas Tutorial

Then hang and enjoy!

Now it’s your turn.  Do you use personal pictures for home decor?
This post linked to Pin it MondayGive Me The Goods MondayTatertots & Jello  Create It Thursday, Share Your Creativity, Get Schooled Saturday, Home Stories A to Z, Wine’d Down Wednesday,  Think Pink Sundays, Work It Wednesday, DIY Sunday Showcase, The Weekly Creative, Do Tell Tuesday, Strut Your  Stuff Saturday, Saturday Sharefest, Skip The Housework Saturday, Saturday Sewlicious, Weekend Wind Down, Inspiration Monday, The Makers, Whimsy Wednesday, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Think And Make Thursday, Your Turn To Shine, and Inspire Me Please Weekend Blog Hop


  1. Tiffany says

    I am painting my own canvas; do you think I can you the finishing technique on my painting so it has an even matte finish?

    • says

      I don’t see why not! I would make a practice painting and try this technique on it first. Then if you’re happy with how it turns out you can try it on one of your own paintings!

  2. says

    I know by now I shouldn’t be so shocked at what Mod Podge can do! This is really an incredible effect and I can’t wait to find inspiration to try it out myself. Thanks for all the tips about how much to use, that helps take some of the “fear” out of trying it for the first time.

    Sarah’s Fare recently posted ā†’ Creamy Tomato Soup

    • says

      I’ve had so much fun making my own photo canvases. It’s a much cheaper option than buying one! Glad to share it at your party!

    • says

      I hope you do get to make this because it’s one of my top 5 favorite DIY projects. So easy to do and the results are fantastic!

    • says

      I’m interested to see how you did yours! Let me know when your post is done! I love making my own photo canvases–it’s such a dramatic and frugal way to decorate!

  3. Karen T says

    This project looks so cool but, I can just see me w/all the bubbles everywhere! Lol. It’s kinda hard for me to control my weakness when using Mod Podge as I always think more is better. I’m slowly learning to control myself & this looks like another good project for that. Thankx for sharing :-)!!

    • says

      That’s funny! The good news is if you start out with too much you can always wipe a little off and start over. I’ve had to do that before!

    • says

      you should definitely try this project sometime. It’s really easy to do and I love the results! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. says

    When you get your photos printed are they from an inkjet or laser printer. I’ve read that you have to use a laser printed image and I’m fairly certain you do, but just curious if that’s what type you’re using.

    • says

      Ha ha I just actually answered my own question. I decided to test an inkjet image I had laying around. I would still love to know if your prints from Walgreens were inkjet or laser, but I do know that I can use my own home printer which is an inkjet and it seems to work out great!
      Cathy recently posted…Debating what direction to takeMy Profile

    • says

      Cathy, for this project I don’t print them at home. I have them printed off at Walgreens as a regular photo. The thicker photo paper will help the paper from wrinkling under the Mod Podge.
      I hope you have fun doing this project!

  5. Molly says

    Hi Carrie!
    Can you use aka normal picture or does it have to be a photo copy? I tried a small 4×6 canvas as it was my first attempt, but the photo came out with no texture and didn’t even really look like a canvas. I also used a small foam brush instead of a roller. What do you think? I love your work, btw!!

    • says

      Hi Molly! I use a regular photo for this project. A copy on regular paper will be too thin. Also, I would try it again with the foam roller–this is the key to getting a matte finish. I hope this helps!

    • says

      I’ve made so many of these canvases for both my kids rooms! I hope you enjoy this project as much as I have! Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • says

      So glad you like this, Kim!! The matte finish makes it look really professional so I’m glad to share the technique with others. Thanks for stopping by!

    • says

      I have these printed as a picture at my local Walgreens. I think the Mod Podge will work better using the thicker picture paper. If regular copy paper is used, I think it might wrinkle under the Mod Podge since it’s so thin. I hope that helps, Carrie!

  6. says

    Like many comments have said – canvas pictures can be so expensive. What a relief that I can incorporate them in my home at a fraction of the cost. Thanks Carrie.

  7. says

    I am a photographer (portrait and fine art) and love putting work on canvasses. This will be such a ‘budget’ relief! I would suggest getting the photos printed from a good print house just for quality issues. I’m starting my 16 x 20’s!

    • says

      Yes getting a good printing quality is really important, especially if you’re a photographer. I would LOVE to see this project done with a 16 x 20! Let me know how it goes, Carol!

    • says

      Yes you can use any kind of canvas–just mod podge the photo right on top of it. If you already tried to put a photo on there and it didn’t work properly, I think you can gently remove the photo and try it again. I hope that helps!

  8. says

    I love this! And I have been wanting to do that same dates picture for so long — I think this finally inspired me! :) I found your blog through the Pursuit of Functional Home Link party, and I pinned this!!
    Jenn recently posted…High Five for InstaFridayMy Profile

    • says

      I’m so glad this inspired you, Jenn! It was a really fun and meaningful project. Thanks so much for stopping by and pinning it!

  9. says

    Love it. I did something not as nice but easier. I just printed my dates on paper and framed it. I do like the canvas version better, but have been hesitant to try it out. Thanks for sharing your success!
    Christa recently posted…Mother’s Day IdeasMy Profile

    • says

      Sure–glad you liked it! I was also hesitant to put Mod Podge over a perfectly good photo but it totally works! You could practice on a photo that’s not too sentimental first. That way you’ll be more confident the next time. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  10. Lee says

    This looks great! Did you print your photo on photo paper or regular copy paper? I can’t wait to try!

    • says

      I had the picture printed out at Walgreens just like a regular photo. I think it would be better to print it out on something thicker like photo paper but I’ve only done this with actual photos. Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

  11. Dawn says

    Hi Carrie, I, too, have been experimenting with making my own photo canvas. I have a roller like you show but in the two attempts I have made at this they have been smaller photos so I have just used a small sponge brush. Next I will be doing 16×20. Can you reuse the sponge roller or do you have to buy a new one each time? Also, do you spray anything over the canvas when it is all done? Thanks in advance! Dawn

    • says

      Dawn–Yes I’ve reused the sponge roller multiple times. The key is getting all the Mod Podge cleaned out right away before it dries. I just take the roller off the handle and rinse it with warm water. I don’t spray anything over the canvas. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  12. says

    I absolutely love this! I have some wedding pictures I am going to do this with. Or maybe I’ll do this with our wedding vows….. Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

    • says

      This would be PERFECT for wedding photos and or vows! If you end up doing that I’d love to see it! Thanks for stopping by!

    • says

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who LOVES Mod Podge! Thanks so much for stopping by and for the link invite–I’ll link up soon!

  13. says

    Nice! I ‘m pinning, love it! Visiting from the Liz Marie Linky party, I hope you can drop by and checkout my Pottery Barn Knock-off of the Beaded Eggs!

    Becky @ Posh Pink Giraffe

  14. says

    Great job! I just learned about “ModPodge” a few months ago and it has changed my life in so many ways….ok it’s really only changed in the way I do crafting, but still. Where do you get the foam roller? I’ve always just used a brush.

    • says

      Mod Podge has changed my life too šŸ˜‰ I’ve only used it for this project–what do you use it for?
      To answer your question I found the foam roller in the paint section of Walmart. It really makes all the difference! Thanks for stopping by!