DIY – Photo Transfer to Canvas

Post by Mandy Stephenson

DIY, Tutorial, Wedding, Photography, Canvas, Transfer, Image

In early May I was fortunate enough to be a bridesmaid in my one of my best friend’s wedding, the only catch was that my friend is the groom! Lucky for me his wife is amazing and has become a wonderful friend as well. I wanted to give them a personalized gift and after searching Pinterest relentlessly, I found a tutorial on how to make a canvas portrait from the blogs A Beautiful Mess and Inside Ways.

It can be hard to run around and find all of the necessary supplies, but luckily Wal Mart happens to have everything you need to make this little project work. The only thing you may need to get elsewhere is the photo of your choosing printed out at Kinkos, if you do not have a printer at home.

Elmer’s Clear School Glue     = $2.00
Mod Podge Gloss                 = $6.00
Mod Podge Gloss Sealer       = $8.00
8 x 8 Canvas, 2 Pack            = $6.00
Paint Brushes                      = $3.00
alsdkkjhkfjasfjalsdfalflkfals    $ 25.00

* You will also need a spray bottle of water and a laser image of the photo you choose.



It is important to remember before beginning this project that whatever image you choose will be reversed on the print. So if you choose to use a photograph that has words on it, make sure to reverse it before you begin, or simply glue the words on afterwards.

Once you have your supplies, the steps are relatively easy, but it is important to be very patient.

DIY, Photo, Canvas, Transfer, Wedding, Craft


  1. Take your stretched canvas in whatever size you choose, 8×8 or 8×10 work quite well, and cover it in a gel medium or simply coat it in the clear Elmer’s Glue. A thick coat is ideal and you will need it to dry full before moving on to the next step.
  2. Once the glue has finished drying spread on a thick coat of the Mod Podge and then fully press the image copy face down onto the canvas. At this point you will need to let the image dry for 3-5 hours.
  3. After the photo is dry, spray water in order to thoroughly cover the back of the photo. This is where the patience is especially important, as you will need to use your fingers, or delicately use a wide angled and damp paintbrush, to slowly remove the back of the photo paper.
  4. As you continue this process the image will become visible, but be careful not to rub too hard or you will create holes in the image. Also, no transfer will be perfect, but all of the variances in color and texture only add to the design.
  5. After you are satisfied with the image, add another coat of the gel medium or glue and Mod Podge gloss solution. I also used the Mod Podge gloss sealer for an added layer of protection and thickness.

Not only do these canvas prints make a great gift, but they could also work amazingly well to decorate a table at your wedding reception. Consider painting the lyrics to a song or simply adding the date of the wedding for another fun detail.

I have yet to try this transfer process with a full color photo, but please send us an email if you decide to give it a go. We’d love to know how it works out!


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