DIY Distressed Photo Canvases

It's about that time of year when I start racking my brain for gift ideas.  But it's important to add that I'm also constantly checking our family budget, too.  (There I said it.  Now Mr. Oopsey Daisy will be truly proud!)  So do-it-yourself gifts are always a big plus!

These distressed photo canvases are one of all-time my favorite projects.  This might be silly, but I was truly amazed at the transformation.  I had no idea I could really create my own photo canvas!


Photo canvases are definitely hot right now!

It seems that I always see photo canvases sold online--but they aren't always cheap!  Admittedly, I have purchased a few in the past, and I do love them!  I love the natural texture of canvases.  But you can create your very own at a fraction of the cost.  And you can give it a distressed look during the process, too.


I won't give a full tutorial because the amazing Delia has already written a beautiful one.

Simple version

You copy or print your very own photos on regular old copy paper.  That's easy enough.  I printed 3 of my favorite black-and-white photos of Little Man.

I bought a group of regular old 8x10 canvases when they were on sale at Michael's.

The key to transferring the photo to a plain canvas is this gel medium. If you use a 40% off coupon, you can pick this up at Michael's for around $10.

It takes a few cycles of spritzing the photo with water, letting it dry, and then peeling away the paper.

The process lends to a little natural distressing.

LOVE this look with the black and white photos!

These 3 photo canvases are the first thing you see when you walk into Little Man's bedroom.

Aren't they lovely?

I am ready to make some more!  I am envisioning some black and white wedding photos... perhaps a gift for our upcoming wedding anniversary?

So go get the full tutorial at Delia Creates!  The details are important.

These make very personal and beautiful gifts!

Enjoy your weekend!

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  1. That is so cool! I just received a portrait of our family on canvas and I love it. How cool to be able to make my own! Thanks Alison!

  2. This is so neat! I’m curious as to where you got the picture printed at?

  3. These turned out fantastic! I’m itching to make some, but I think I’m going to try the wood version first (different tutorial). These will make amazing gifts this year!

  4. This is cool. My sister showed me another technique similar to this but WAY cheap… print your photo onto tissue paper and then Mod Podging it onto canvas. She showed me one she did yesterday and it looked great. I think I’m going to try it. 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing this! I looked at the tutorial on Delia’s site. She said that you have to print the copy in laser toner…did you print it yourself with a laser printer, a regular printer or did you have it printed some where? Thanks!!! BTW…I just moved to Colorado the first part of August. Thanks for sharing your pics from Estes Park. We are always looking for great tips on fun places to visit here!!

  6. LOVE this friend~ they turned out GREAT!!! your little guy is so. dang. cute. 🙂

  7. This is such a great thing! Thanks for posting the quickie steps. Thinking this may be a perfect gift idea for my mother-in-law. (I start scrambling this time of year too for homemade holiday gifts!)

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting too!

  8. These are just darling!!! Thanks for posting the idea!!!

  9. Hi –
    I love this project and have made some beautiful ones of my own, thanks to your post! Do you know or have you tried painting the canvas first or adding color in some other way? I am curious if anyone has tried this and the results.
    Thank you!

  10. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you
    an e-mail. I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.
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