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Make a DIY Photo Canvas

Transfer a photo to canvas in just a few simple steps with our DIY tutorial.
30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Angie Holden

What You Will Need

  • Canvases remember that if you only have a standard printer your picture itself cannot be any larger than 8 1/2 x 11
  • T-shirt transfers or printable heat transfer vinyl
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Craft knife
  • Wood stain
  • Rag
  • Paintbrush
  • Printer and ink


  • Start by removing the canvas from the frame. Flip it over and remove the staples with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. Then separate the canvas from the frame.
    removing canvas from frame
  • Stain the frame with the color of your choice. Paint on the stain, allow to sit a few minutes, then wipe off any excess with a rag. Allow this to dry completely.
    staining a frame
  • While drying, you can transfer your picture to the canvas piece. Print your photo onto your transfer paper using a printer. Be sure to mirror your design and print with the best quality for your printer.
    printing on tshirt transfer material
  • Then put the t-shirt transfer face down onto the canvas. I am transferring this to the creamy off-white site but this same method will work with either side. Please note that you can see directions for printable heat transfer vinyl here if you are using it.
    iron on tshirt transfer to canvas
  • Then follow the directions on your package of transfers to complete the process. I had to iron in both directions for a certain amount of time.
    using an iron on a tshirt transfer
  • Then just start slowly peeling back your carrier sheet to reveal the design on your canvas.
    peeling away backing of tshirt transfer
  • Once the backing is removed, it is time to add the frame to finish this one off!
    revealing transferred photo on canvas
  • Add the frame where you want it on your picture. Then secure with staples in the back. I like to secure with one staple in the center of each side as well as one in each corner.
    adding staples to add canvas to frame
  • Then cut away all of the excess canvas with a craft knife.
    trimming away excess material with a craft knife
  • Once this is removed, add additional staples to completely secure.
    Adding additional staples to back of reverse canvas
  • Then your project is ready to hang or display.
    completed diy photo canvas project