If you are like me, you LOVE the photo canvas prints from online photo retailers such as Snapfish, but are have sticker shock when you see their prices (an 8×8 canvas starts at $33!). While browsing ideas on Pitnerest, I came across Stephanie Lynn’s Under the Table and Dreaming blog post Make Your Own Printed Fabric Photo Canvas. Love the idea, love the tutorial, and love the price. However, if you are like me – a novice crafter with big ideas, but not always the patience to wait until I have the right tools for the job – than you might benefit from what I learned after putting together my own 8-canvas photo gallery wall.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Use the right materials. I ordered a lot of 8-8×10 artist canvas on ebay and visited my local Walmart for 2 yards of Muslin fabric ($2.75/yard). When the ebay package arrived I couldn’t wait to start my project. Unfortunately, I hadn’t actually picked up the other materials recommended in the blog post. But in the spirit of wanting to do the project immediately, I decided to use what I had. I found 3M General Adhesive Trim in basement – way too thick and probably really old. It bled through material and, no it doesn’t dry invisible…as you can see in the picture. Hmmm…turns out the material list Stephanie Lynn provided wasn’t just about putting craft words in a blog.
2. Wait for the ink to dry overnight. I think when I did my first few canvases, I put on the fabric on the canvas too early & it bled. Hard to do for me ’cause patience is not my strong suit!
3. Cut all excess overhanging trim from around paper. I thought I would be smart and leave a little excess so it would be easier to wrap on the canvas. This just caused the fabric to bunch up and jam in the printer.
4. Check and recheck your printer settings. You’ll want to set it on borderless 8.5 x 11 if trying to make a 8×10 canvas. For some reason my printer likes to constantly to default back to letter 8.5 x 11. This caused the margins around my photo to be too wide to have that wrap around effect on my canvas.
5. Waiting to long to peel off the cardstock. It will still peel off, but I found it was just easier if done right after printing (just be sure to not touch the ink).
6. Not cutting away any stray threads – As you can see from the picture on the left, the computer ink will print on the stray thread and not actually on the canvas – you will be left with a mark.
7. Not ironing out any wrinkles. The printer will print funky on wrinkly bunched up fabric! This was a painfully obvious fact to me after I made the mistake. Duh, I said to myself.
8. Putting modge podge over the picture. Stephanie Lynn gave this instruction in her tutorial – but I found it made my picture much darker and bubbly. It could totally be that I’m using the wrong kind. I used Modge Podge Fabric – she recommended Decoupage Medium & I have no idea if that is the same or not. But I like it better without it. Time will tell if it holds up or not.
9. If you have any reservations do it over – you’ll be glad you did. The two pictures to the left indicate this. The one on the right was my first stab at it. As you can see my son’s head was chopped off. I was going to just go with it, but thought “This is going to bug me every time I look at it.” So re-centered the picture and reprinted it. So glad I did. Luckily I hadn’t attached it to the canvas yet.
10. Have back up ink – and don’t wait until your ink gets way too low. If you are warned multiple times that your ink is low, just replace the darn thing – otherwise it’ll be midnight and you’ll think you have just printing your last canvas but it comes out looking like this: Fortunately I had actually purchased ink before starting this project so all I had to do was replace it.
11. Reusing the piece of card stock too many times. Eventually it just becomes to saturated with lint. I am an admitted tree hugger that reuses a piece of paper multiple times before I retire it for a higher purpose. But just think of all the money you’ve saved by doing this project yourself. So go ahead, get another piece of card stock – you deserve it!
12. Color vs. BW vs. Sepia. Ordinarily I am a huge sepia (antiqued brownish hue) and black and white fan. I tried my first few in sepia, but needed to do them over for reasons mentioned above. I figured I would try color and see which one I like better….I am definitely a fan of color in this case, but you can judge for yourself.
13. Types of pictures – I definitely found outdoor shots seemed to work better with the canvas/cloth/fabric but that’s just my humble opinion.
14. Canvas Size. If you want a true wrapped canvas look get a canvas smaller than 8×10 unless you have a super duper printer that prints larger than letter size. Otherwise you will have unfinished edges – which I covered with ribbon, but still not sold on the look.
Thanks for reading. Good luck with your own gallery wall creation!!