How To Mount a Photo To Canvas Tutorial ($5.00 Gift)

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How to mount a photo to canvas tutorial A great handmade gift for under $5

Today I’m sharing with you a tutorial on how to mount a photo to canvas. This is just about the easiest project in the world, it takes 10 minutes from start until you leave it to dry and each photo costs less than $5.00 to make. It’s a heartfelt and inexpensive handmade gift. I love the outcome of this tutorial because you paint mod podge overtop in long, thin strokes which gives the photo a painted effect.

Mounting photo to canvas tutorial A great handmade gift for under $5.00 10

Materials:

  • 8X10 photo printed on photo paper. We had them printed at our local photo processing place.  (You may need to trim your photo slightly to fit the canvas)
  • 8X10 artist canvas (this is a piece of canvas stretched on a wood frame. They sell them at my local dollar store for $1.25 each)
  • Foam Brushes
  • Mod Podge
  • Acrylic Paint

Directions:

Step 1: Using your foam brush paint around the outside edge of your canvas using acrylic paint in the color of your choice (I used black on one and robin’s egg blue on the other). You may also want to paint a small border on the front of the canvas in case there is any areas where your photo doesn’t quite meet the edge of the canvas. Then no white will show through.

Mounting photo to canvas tutorial A great handmade gift for under $5.00 9

Step 2: Allow to dry for a few minutes and then apply a thin layer of mod podge over the paint along the sides of the canvas. (This step is optional but I think it gives the edges a bit of shine that I like.

Mounting photo to canvas tutorial A great handmade gift for under $5.00 6

Step 3: Using a second foam brush apply a thick, even layer of mod podge over the entire front of your canvas.

Mounting photo to canvas tutorial A great handmade gift for under $5.00 7

Step 4: Stick your 8X10″ photo onto the canvas that you just covered in mod podge. Press firmly all around the photo making sure there are no air bubbles and that the photo is firmly attached to the canvas.

Mounting photo to canvas tutorial A great handmade gift for under $5.00 13

Step 5: Using your foam brush apply long, thin, even coats of mod podge over the surface of your photo. These strokes are what will give your photo an almost painted or textured appearance once dry. Make sure you pay special attention to the faces in the photo and don’t leave any big smears of mod podge over the faces. You want long, even strokes.

Mounting photo to canvas tutorial A great handmade gift for under $5.00 11

 Step 6: Let dry.

Mounting photo to canvas tutorial A great handmade gift for under $5.00 5

Step 7: Hang (or prop up) and enjoy!

How to mount a photo to canvas tutorial A great handmade gift for under $5.00

Voila! All done. I could not be happier with the way these turned out. I brought them to a friend’s house over the weekend. The husband looked at them and said “Where did you get these photos dry mounted?” I told him that I did them myself. He said “Wow! I looked into having some photos done like that and they charge around $100 a piece to do them.” When I told him that they took me less than 10 minutes to do and cost less than $5.00 each he was shocked.

Craftgawker photo canvas

I’m making 8 different canvases right now in total (though I thought of a few more pictures that I want to do as well.) Most of them are photos from our maternity and new family sessions with Zuzu Photography.

Mounting photo to canvas tutorial A great handmade gift for under $5.00 2

If you like this tutorial make sure to check out our Photo to Wood Transfer Tutorial as well!

Create a one of a kind gift with this Photo to Wood Transfer Tutorial. With Step By Step Photos and Instructions this tutorial will give you great results.

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129 Comments

  1. Hi – I followed your directions to a T, but when I applied the Mod Podge over the top of the photo, it began to bubble a bit. What did I do wrong? Is there a way to fix the air bubbles once dried or do I need to trash these and start over? I used 12×12 color prints from FedEx Kinkos and 12×12 canvasses.
    Thanks,
    Melissa H.

    1. Hi Melissa,

      Hmmmm. Good question. Were they photos from Kinkos or colored copies? You need to use photos for this tutorial (aka the photos need to be printed on photo paper not copy paper). I have tried using colored copies and the paper ends up rippling. I’m not sure if that’s what happened to you? Sounds like if it was the mod podge itself that bubbled that perhaps the mod podge was layered on too thickly, or dried to fast?

      I’m not sure if you can fix it. You might want to try sanding the bubbles very lightly using a very fine grained sand paper. You could probably also wet the canvas down, peel the photo off, letting it dry and then reusing the canvas with a newly printed photo.

      I hope these ideas help. Keep me updated.

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal

    2. Melissa H. says:

      Crystal – these were actual matte photos that I had made there. You do have a point in that I may not have had enough mod Podge down before I laid the photo over the top. I think it just did not adhere in that one area, even though I turned it over and carefully smoothed out any bubbles. I think I may try and cut the photo just a snip, then apply more mod Podge to see if it lays down. If that doesn’t work, I will wet, remove and start again with a new print.

      Thank you for sharing your expertise and tips with us non crafty gals. πŸ™‚

      Cheers,
      Melissa

    3. Ah, ok your bubbles were underneath the photo. I thought you meant that bubbles formed in the mod podge on top of the photo. I would definitely say that you need to apply more mod podge (apply it to the canvas and to the back of the photo) then really smooth the photo down to get all the air bubbles and excess mod podge out.

      Thanks for explaining the situation more. πŸ™‚ I hope it works the second time around.

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal

    4. Hi Crystal. I’ve been reading comments to see if anyone had my troubles with bubbling and this looks the closest. I’ve tried making 3 today and they all have ended up with bubbles underneath the picture. The 3rd one I tried using a credit card to smooth everything out and I thought I got it super smooth. But as soon as I put the mod podge on top, the bubbles started to emerge. Should I wait for the mod podge underneath to dry more? When I used the credit card to smooth the picture, mod podge came out the sides (which is understandable). But maybe then the picture is losing the adherence? Maybe smooth out the bubbles, wait a minute, then smooth again? I am NOT crafty so this is all new to me! πŸ™‚

      My other small bummer is that I purchased 11×14 canvases and 11×14 photos, but the photos are slightly smaller than the canvas so it’s not a perfect fit. I tried painting like you recommended. We’ll see how it turns out.

      It’s all trial & error, right?!? πŸ™‚ But if you have thoughts on the bubbles, I’d love some help so that I don’t waste too much money! This has been a fun first crafting experience!
      Thanks!
      Krista

    5. Hi Krista,

      Thank you so much for your question. I’m so sorry that you have been struggling with this. Hmmm…I wonder if it’s that you aren’t putting enough mod podge on your canvas and it’s bubbling in the areas where it isn’t getting adhered? I like what you are doing with the credit card to push out the excess. I wonder also if your canvas might have been treated with something that isn’t letting the mod podge absorb into it which could be affecting the adhesion? I would try to really get in there with your foam brush and thoroughly coat your canvas really pushing the mod podge down into the canvas fibres, place your photo on top then (maybe even put a thin coat of mod podge on the back of your photo first) and use your credit card to smooth everything out/get rid of the excess mod podge. Once you have done that I would suggest using your hands putting one on the back of the canvas and one on the front of your photo and really smooth everything down and push the two layers together. If you aren’t applying pressure from the back of your canvas maybe it’s dipping when you are using your credit card and not adhering together. Then I would suggest placing the photo facing down on a clean surface and find a book that fits inside the frame of the canvas and lay it on top while it dries. This added pressure should make it so that nothing bubbles. I would hope that if you did all of those things that there is no way it would bubble. I haven’t had issues with mine bubbling and i’m so sorry that you have!

      Please let me know if this works for you.

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Just finished doing my own photos onto canvas! First of all, thanks for the tutorial. Secondly, I was wondering about photo resolution. When I went to get mine printed 8×10, the photos came out slightly pixelated. Do you have to have Photoshop to be able to change the resolution so that they will not be blurry? Or any tips on how to fix photos to get non-pixelated?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      The photo resolution would have to do with your camera settings. For example, if you right clicked and saved an image off of Facebook that isn’t going to be an image that is high resolution enough to print 8X10. You need the original image from your camera. Were these images printed from your camera? You want high resolution images when you print. If someone is sending you an image make sure you ask for high resolution.

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal

  3. What a brilliant idea transferring photos on canvas like that! Just finished my first photo canvas and the result is spectacular, thanks so much for the tutorial!

  4. Love this creativity! Beautiful family! I wonder did you get the canvases from dollar tree or 99 cent store? I couldn’t find them. Thanks for sharing! By the way if I use a different color (dark blue) canvas would it still work?

  5. Beautiful family and I love the creativity! Were the canvases from DollarTree or 99center? Because I couldn’t find them for that price and anywhere else is quite pricey. I’m really excited to do this project! Thank you for the tutorial!! Also if I use a different color blank canvas will the results be the same?

    1. Hi Amika,

      Thank you so much for visiting. I’m in Canada and the store I got them at is called Dollarama. That being said, I’ve started keeping an eye out for them when they go on sale at Michaels. They sell a 10 pack of 8X10 canvases for $14.99 on sale. They don’t have the staples down the side, and though they are a bit more expensive, I like the look better. πŸ™‚

      Good luck finding them! I’d love to hear how they turn out when you make them.

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal

    2. I’m following your tutorial right now. Just thought I’d mention that Walmart in Canada has the canvases that are back-stapled πŸ™‚ They come in 2-packs, I’ve seen 8×10, 11×14, and 16×20. They are a bit hard to find in stock, they must sell fast, but I just buy them when they have them. They have them online now too at walmart.ca but apparently there is a glitch on their site so you can’t actually order them (there are no sizes available to choose from), but hopefully that will be fixed soon!

    3. Thank you for sharing this tip Danielle! I really appreciate it. πŸ™‚

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal

  6. Thank you for the tutorial! I can’t wait to make my own but I have some questions. Do they look as professional as those done by pros? How about durability- how long do they last, do the edges peel off eventually? And lastly, do they have that canvas texture like when you get it from pros or there’s no texure? Thank you in advance!!

    1. Hi Erica,

      Thank you so much for visiting. The results of this does look different than photos printed on canvas but has a similar feel. You are mounting the photo on top of the canvas in this tutorial, where the ones you get printed are printed on the canvas. I made mine a couple of years ago now and they still look great. 2 of them are on a wall that gets direct light, 3 are in my bedroom that gets indirect light and the rest are in a hallway that gets some natural light but not much. All of them still have the same color and quality as when I made them… but I don’t know if they will still look that way 25 years from now. πŸ™‚ This is a great way to give that type of feel at a fraction of the price. I would never suggest to do it with a photo that you can’t print another copy of. I did have the photo fall off on one of the canvases but it was a photo of my son and he kept getting a stool, grabbing it off the wall and playing with it. LOL. I put mod podge on the canvas, stuck it back on and hung it high where he can’t reach. It hasn’t fallen off again. πŸ˜‰

      I would say the texture of them is more similar to a painting than to a canvas because part of the uniqueness of this project is you can play with your brush strokes to give the photo a textured look.

      I hope that answers all of you questions. Let me know if you have more. πŸ™‚

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal

    2. Murray Gewirtz says:

      Crystal,
      I did my first Mod Podge “painting” yesterday, before finding this site, on one of my photos that had already been manipulated by me using a Photoshop type program app to make it resemble a painting. I printed the photo on a glossy, fairly heavyweight photo paper. When I applied the Mod Podge over the photo, instead of doing even vertical or horizontal strokes, I did them every which way with a brush, trying to figure how a painter would do his brushstrokes. The result was pretty good, though with my next attempt I plan to be even freer with the brush strokes. One question: I pasted my photo to foam core instead of canvas. Why does it have to be canvas, if the canvas (and its texture) is going to be covered up anyway by the photo print?

    3. Hi Murray,

      Thank you so much for visiting! Your photo sounds like it turns out great! You can definitely do this project on foam core. My idea of doing it on canvas was to mimic the expensive canvas photo prints that you can buy. πŸ™‚ Once the photos are on the wall they are thicker than other photos and you can also see the canvas along the sides. I’m sure there are other materials that work great as well. You’ll have to let me know if you ever try it on canvas.

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal

  7. Love the tutorial. It is very helpful for a non-crafty person like myself. I am interested in knowing the method used to hang the canvases on the wall? Nails, picture hanging tape or command hooks? I don’t want to put unnecessary holes in the walls.

    1. Thank you so much for your compliments Kathryn. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this… but I just use thumb tacks to hang the photos with! Easy peasy and just a tiny hole.

      Thank you for visiting!

      Crystal

  8. Madelyn Tagudin says:

    I can’t wait to try this!!

  9. Love your tutorial, I am going to do some for myself. After reading the comments I would trim the photos with a rotary cutter and ruler, if the edges show white or not exactly even I would use a black stamp pad and lightly rub it along the edge or which ever colour you need. Just a suggestion from here in Australia.

  10. Debbie S. says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I will definitely be giving this a try!

  11. I am going to do a happy 80 th birthday canvas, each grandchild is holding a letter that they colored and iam spelling happy 80th birthday grandpa, I will have some area on the canvas that will not have a picture on. Do I put the mod poge on the whole canvas. Thanks for the information

    1. Hi Linds,

      What a fabulous idea! I’d love to see a picture of how it turns out. That’s a great question about whether you would mod podge the full canvas or just the areas covered in photos. The primary purpose of the mod podge is to adhere the photo to the canvas and then seal the photo to protect it. I think that I would probably mod podge over the entire thing, but that would be my personal preference. You could probably do it either way.

      Thank you so much for visiting!

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal

  12. Teresa Thompson says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have a canvas and picture that I plan to do this with very soon. I can’t wait to see it finished.

  13. Marsha Cote says:

    Why do I have streaks and tiny bubbles across my photo?

    1. Hi Marsha,

      Thank you so much for visiting Hello Creative Family and for trying this project. My guess is that your layers of Mod Podge were too thick. You want to make sure that you really look at the layers you put down before letting it dry because those are the lines that you will see on your photo (only they will be clear). I love the lines that the mod podge leaves behind because I think it adds to the canvas look of the finished project, but you definitely want to make sure they aren’t too thick and that you don’t have any bubbles in your mod podge.

      I hope this helped!

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal

  14. Came across this post looking for an inexpensive way to put a couple of canvas prints up. So easy and loved the results!! Thanks so much!

  15. Hi, getting ready to do this and do not have acrylic paint. Was just going to use the paint I use for painting my walls. Will this work? Too cold to go outside and get anything else. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Brenda. Thank you so much for visiting. I’ve never tried it with house paint before but it’s worth a try! Since this is such an inexpensive project the worst thing that could happen is that you’d be out $5 and have to reprint a photo and get a new canvas! If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal

  16. Hello I recently had a collage done of about 26 photos. One picture is dark. Can this one photo be covered and redone?

    Thank you,
    Brandye

    1. Hi Brandye,

      Thank you for visiting. I’ve never tried recovering one but I think it would be possible. The one issue is that photo would be raised slightly higher that the rest. You might also consider trying to pop the one photo off and putting the new one on.

      Best Wishes,

      Crystal