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, and Inspire Me Please Weekend Blog Hop


  1. This is one of those projects that has been on my to do list for far too long! Thanks for the tips, now I just need to get it done!

    Thanks for sharing at The Makers!
    Katie @ Upcycled Treasures recently posted…The Makers Link Party 14My Profile

  2. 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?

    • 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!

  3. 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 → Creamy Tomato Soup

  4. This is an awesome DIY project for the artsy crafty…thank you for sharing it as well as linking up with us at the #WWDParty.
    Antionette Blake recently posted…Weekend Wind-Down Party #5My Profile

  5. What a super cute idea! Thanks so much for sharing it with us at Sewlicious Home Decor! :) Pinned to the party board!

    Marti recently posted…Valentine Eggnog Pound Cake LoafsMy Profile

  6. Definitely want to try this! I’ve been itching to try a canvas project! Found you via the Skip the Housework Saturday blog hop!
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…Tangy Sesame Chicken WingsMy Profile

  7. Fabulous tutorial, Carrie! I have my own canvas photo tutorial coming up soon. Our methods are a little different, but we both achieve that realistic canvas texture. I’ll have to try your method the next time I make some!
    Tasha @ Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s body recently posted…DIY Monogram Pillow Tutorial {no sewing required!}My Profile

    • 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!

  8. Love this idea! Just pinned it. Visiting from Sits!

  9. Oh dear…now I have another project on my long list! :) Thank you for the tutorial! Pinning!
    Krissy Buck recently posted…Greek Key Closet DoorsMy Profile

  10. 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 :-)!!

    • 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!

  11. This post caught my eye on your homepage. You DIYers are so good! Maybe I’ll try a DIY project this year. Thanks for checking out my blog!

  12. This is a beautiful project! Thank you for linking up at The Weekly Creative! Your project caught my eye, and I’ve pinned!

    Melanie :)
    Melanie (Reasons to Skip The Housework) recently posted…Caprese Salad BitesMy Profile

  13. What a great tutorial!!! And I love the finish! I’m pinning this one to our talent board! Thanks for sharing on DIY Sunday Showcase!!

    Shelly- recently posted…DIY Sunday Showcase and Last Weeks FavsMy Profile

  14. 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.

    • 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

    • 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!

  15. I just wanted to tell you that this project was so fun and easy! I followed all of your directions and they were so helpful! Thank you for posting this great tutorial. I’ve shared it with all of my Mod Mommy readers on my Facebook page! :)
    Courtney Buteau recently posted…Holiday Gift Guide 2013: For HerMy Profile

  16. Love love love your tutorial Carrie! I’m so going to try this! Your DIY canvas is Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your tips and for partying with us at the DIY Sunday Showcase.
    Cheers to you and yours!
    Therese @ Fresh Idea Studio recently posted…10 Holiday Desserts and Sweet TreatsMy Profile

  17. 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!!

    • 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!

  18. Love this! I have seen similar projects to transform it to look like canvas, but haven’t done one myself. Thanks for sharing!
    I linked over from the Work It Wednesday Party where I am participating with my
    Cute Halloween project,
    Fun Halloween Facts and Pumpkin Carvings,
    If the Broom Fits Free Printable,
    I would love it if you’d stop by.
    Hugs, Antonella :-)
    Antonella recently posted…Free Quilled Orange and Black Witches Hat and BroomMy Profile

  19. What a cool project! Definitely pinning! I’d love to try this!
    Michelle recently posted…Monetize Your Blog: Increase Your Sverve Score PLUS #SverveTurns1 GiveawayMy Profile

  20. I have wanted to try something similar for decorating the nursery for my baby who is due next month. I will definitely have to try out this tutorial! Stopping by from the LOBS.
    Bev @ Linkouture recently posted…How do you define creativity?My Profile

  21. Carrie – I love seeing how you used your Dated Art for this project! What a cool surprise to stumble upon. :) Hope you guys are doing well!
    Andrea S. recently posted…Weekly Plan of Attack – Staying On Top of a Busy ScheduleMy Profile

  22. LOVE! Thanks for the tips for a professional finish
    Kim@Too Much Time recently posted…Get Schooled Saturday #91My Profile

    • 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!

  23. Do you print it as a picture on your own computer? Or do you have it printed somewhere else?

    • 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!

  24. Yay!!! That turned out so great! Mod Podge is the BEST! XO, Aimee
    Aimee – recently posted…Design InspirationMy Profile

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

    • 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!

  27. Georgia says:

    Hi, can i re-use a canvas that didn’t work properly on my photo transfer??

    • 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!

  28. Love this! so pretty and the finish is perfect! Thanks for partying with us at Give Me The Goods Monday!
    Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof
    Jenna recently posted…Summer Spruce-Up Backyard Features & Planter InspirationMy Profile

  29. It’s so pretty! I love a good DIY art project! Thanks for the tips, too! I’m going to have to try this one. Pinned! Have a great week!

    ~Abby =)
    Abby @ Just a Girl and Her Blog recently posted…Mini IKEA Hack {Dish Towel Tote Bag}My Profile

  30. 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

  31. 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

    • 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!

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

    • 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!

  33. 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

    • 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!

  34. Love this idea! thanks for sharing!

    Jenna @

  35. 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!

  36. Wow! I really like that! thanks for sharing!
    Jordan Sparks recently posted…Frugal, Crafty Home Blog Hop #14My Profile

  37. Awesome project! I am not crafty at all so I am grateful for the step by step tips and the pictures! :)
    Kathryn recently posted…Wired Word: Faith from an ElectricianMy Profile

  38. oy! I love modpodge! Id love for to share this over at our little party!


    • 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!

  39. 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

  40. 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.

    • Mod Podge has changed my life too ;) 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!

  41. Well done!


  1. […] tutorials but the only thing that is missing is the real canvas texture.  Until I found Carrie This Home’s tutorial, now this is what I am talking about!   Then I got so excited!  Okay, I […]

  2. […] so if my “stamping” technique freaks you out at all, head over to the wonderful blog Carrie This Home to see another fantastic […]

  3. […] Sign via Carrie This Home Sharpie Mug Art via delineate your dwelling Candy Stripe Meringues via Twigg Studios Pumpkin […]

  4. […] 2. DIY Photo Canvas from Carrie This Home […]

  5. […] 2. DIY Photo Canvas from Carrie This Home […]

  6. […] 2. DIY Photo Canvas from Carrie This Home […]

  7. […] Carrie This Home has some great tips to easily create your own professional looking photo canvas. […]

  8. [...] had my eyes on this faux photo canvas technique from Carrie This Home for a while [...]

  9. [...] done, it can be printed out as a picture!  I like to frame artwork or mount it on canvas (click HERE to see my easy DIY Photo Canvas [...]

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge