Friday, January 10, 2014

DIY canvas photos

Empty walls.

They're everywhere. They haunt my home. They haunt my dreams. They expose me as the newbie decorator I am. They shame my very existence and make me question everything.

Ok, ok. Empty walls aren't that epic of a crisis. But they are pretty bleh. We moved into our apartment precisely a year ago, and I have yet to decorate. I'm not exaggerating when I say, my home is one giant empty wall (with only one small space being the exception).

But it's time for change people. <insert legendary 'new year-new you' type quote> I'm tired of seeing empty walls everywhere, so I am going to start redecorating... errr, decorating. I'm going to go room by room and add my own touch. I will chronicle my progress here in the hopes that I may inspire other procrastinating newbies out there that you really don't have to be that creative or design-savvy to make your home inviting, cozy, and appealing. Also, I'm hoping it will keep me accountable to actually go through with the decorating... ha!

First, the nursery.

I think I've made it pretty clear by now that I am a procrastinator. So, when we moved into our place, naturally I had planned to decorate the nursery. I kept putting it off, and, if you read my birth story, you know that my little guy arrived 3 weeks ahead of schedule, so I never got around to it. And I still didn't get around to it until about one month ago. Sad, I know.

So here are some before pictures of his room.

Aside from a couple of pieces, this has pretty much been the state of his room since before he was born. Quick side note: when I post the final progress of his room, I will give a detailed list of where I got everything and color of the wall.

Since I am not a fan of empty walls, I had to do something to fill up all that space without spending too much money. I absolutely love canvas photos and the classy and sophisticated touch they bring to a room, but I was NOT about to fork over $$$ in order to get it. What's a girl to do when she wants something that's too expensive? Does she just give up on it? No... She just makes them!

And make them, I did. You can too! It's seriously so insanely easy. Here is what you'll need: 

Any size blank canvas (mine were 8x10). Mod Podge. A sponge brush. And the pictures you will be using. The pictures can be glossy or not... It really doesn't make a difference. 

Here's a close up of the Mod Podge I used. There are so many out there! You can also just make your own by mixing equal parts of water and regular glue (like Elmer's), but that was one step I did not care to do. Maybe next time. 

Anyways, first, start by gluing your picture to the canvas. You do that by using your sponge brush to lather the canvas with the Mod Podge. 

Once you put your picture on your canvas, give a moment for it to dry. Then, using the same method to apply glue on the canvas, cover your picture with Mod Podge. 

Cover the whole picture. This is what it should look like when you're done: 

Now all you need to do is just wait for the glue to dry! That's it! I did 4 in less than 30 minutes. 

Ain't he a cutie?!?

Another option you have if you wanted to add something more to the canvas is to paint the edges with acrylic paint. I made both sets of parents one of these for last Christmas with our wedding pictures, and I did paint them. 

I used a regular paint brush and then a makeup sponge to blend and create a little vignette along the edges of the photograph.

However, for the ones in the nursery, I kept the canvas white because that was just the look I was going for. 

Ready to see the result??? Here is what one of the walls in the nursery looks like now...

Not too shabby, eh? I'm actually pretty proud of myself. I got the mirror from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for like $15, and the J was from Joann. It was white and I just spray painted it yellow. And the frame is from Ikea. I plan on putting an ultrasound picture in there. It will eventually happen!

Total cost for this project: 
I bought the canvas from Ross for $11.99 for a 6 pack! Friends, it does not get any cheaper than that. I just saw it one day and thought, "I could use that someday." I snagged them right up. 
I printed my pictures at Costco for $4.06 for all 4. 
The sponge brush came in a pack of 2 for .99. 
I already had the Mod Podge (but you can get a small bottle for like $8). 

Sooo... This whole project cost me under $20 and I still have 2 canvases left! Not bad for a newbie, huh? 

Cheaper option: Finding canvases for as cheap as I did isn't very common. You can find cheap ones at or at Walmart or something. However, if you could not find any decent priced ones or did not have any extra cash to spend, you can do this same exact project with the same exact process on shoe box lids! It works! It won't look exactly the same, but only you will know it's not on an actual canvas. To the naked and unknowing eye, it will look no different. 

Hope this helps you! Can't wait to show you what I did with the rest of the room!



  1. Awesome idea! Love it! I think I'm going to have to try this. BTW I love the new look nursery wall :-)

    1. Thank you! For someone who is not very decor savvy, I'm pretty surprised at myself haha! Let me know how they turn out :)

  2. My goodness that is VERY creative, I don't have that in me but I appreciate your awesomeness in doing this! I just won a canvas and that is as close as I'll get to this magic I'm afraid! Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me via Grace's FYFB

    1. Trust me! I am soooo not the creative type. That's why these were so perfect for me. They are so easy to do that even someone like me can pull it off! Let me know if you ever decide to jump in lol!

  3. Awesome! Just curious, have you tried using basic printer paper or cardstock to print the photos on? Do you think it would work similar or would you recommend splurging on the photo paper?

    1. Oh my! I just realized my reply never posted. Darn internet...

      Well, I had written that I had never tried it, but I suppose it would still work. However, I would probably use the cardstock as opposed to a regular letter paper because it would most likely hold the Mod Podge better. The regular paper would probably get too soggy and blotchy. Let me know if you try it!