Looking for something different when it comes to displaying your photos? Ditch the usual picture frames and transfer photos to canvas for a look that’s bound to have your friends asking where you had it done.

You can take your photos to a professional but it can get pretty expensive, so why not save the money and do it yourself? It’s not difficult to do but the process of dabbing the canvas and rubbing off excess paper requires a bit of patience so if you’re a speed demon, this project may not be for you.

If you think you’re up to the task, the rewards are definitely worthwhile. You control the desired effect whether it’s rustic and vintage or clean and modern. Be gentle when working with portraits, though. They can get tricky—tear too much around the facial features and you won’t be able to recognize who’s in the photo!

You can also preserve that special masterpiece your young budding artist has worked so hard to create—just scan, print and follow the same easy directions. Keep it simple with a single photo or make a collage on a larger canvas—the possibilities are endless!

how to transfer photos to canvas
  • printout of your desired photo
  • 6″ x 6″ canvas
  • 2 disposable foam brushes
  • Liquitex Gloss Gel, medium gloss brilliant
  • wet sponge
  • clear acrylic spray sealer
  1. First, print your photo on a laser printer. If you don’t have access to a laser printer, you can always print at Kinko’s or other quick print shop.
  2. Use a disposable foam brush loaded with Liquitex Gloss Gel to cover the entire canvas (sides too). Coat it evenly but nice and thick.
  3. Place the print on canvas face down, working from one side to the other and smooth it out with your fingers. Allow it to dry overnight while you enjoy an evening with the family.
  4. Once dry, grab a wet sponge and dampen the front and sides of the paper until you see the photo show through.
  5. Wait a few seconds for it to set then gently rub the paper with fingertips until the paper starts to peel off. Brush off excess paper with a dry sponge brush.
  6. When the photo starts to dry, you will see that more paper needs to be removed. Just blot it again with a damp sponge and continue rubbing until the photo is no longer cloudy. For a vintage look, use the rough side of the sponge and scrape edges.
  7. Let dry and finish it off with a clear acrylic sealer.
Be gentle when working with portraits—you still want to recognize who’s in the photo!