A journey to create something beautiful every day!

Canvas Photo Transfer

The first time I learned how to transfer photos onto canvas, I was in high school. It made such an easy, personalized gift that I started making them for all my friends on their birthday. I would go to Aaron Brothers when they had their “buy 1 get one for 1 cent” canvas sale and stock up in preparation for the year of birthdays and memorable canvas photo gifts. I had plans to continue to do this once I graduated, but I hadn’t done it again until this year, several years later, when a friend’s birthday was coming up and I couldn’t decide what to get her.

The hardest part of making these cute canvas photo gifts is finding the right printer to print out your photo. I has to be a laser jet printer (one with toner instead of ink cartridges) in order to work properly. Once you found your printer or settled on sending a page to staples to print, you are ready to go. Let’s get started!


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Time: 1 hour (+ overnight dry time)

Cost: $10 (less once you have the materials already)

Learn how to transfer printed photos onto canvas with this tutorial and video!

Step 1: Print Out Your Photo

Choose the photo you would like to use and print it out on plain white printer paper. Make sure to use a printer that uses toner instead of ink cartridges. A good rule of thumb is the larger the printer, the more likely it is that it uses toner. Cut out the photo to the size of the canvas.

Step 2: Prepare Canvas with Mat Finish

Generiously coat the canvas in mat finish using the foam brush. Make sure to coat the entire canvas but try to make it even.

Step 3: Place Photo on Canvas

Place photo face down on canvas on top of mat finish you just spread out. The photo should stick to the canvas.

Step 4: (Optional) Lightly coat top of photo with mat finish

I’ve always coated the top of the paper in mat finish as well. This way I know when it is dry. This step is optional and may even make the peel off process even harder.

Step 5: Dry Overnight

The mat finish needs to be completely dry before you can begin peeling off the paper. For best results, dry overnight or even longer. The dryer the better.

Step 6: Spray with Water and Peel

Wet the paper by spraying with water and then rub the paper to peel it off. If you rub one place too hard, the photo might come off along with the paper. You can see some places in my final product where I was a little too aggressive trying to get the paper off.

Learn how to transfer printed photos onto canvas with this tutorial and video!

Step 7: Repeat Step 6 Until All Paper is Removed

A good way to know if you have removed enough of the paper is to let the canvas dry a little bit and see if the photo is still visible. If it is not in certain places, it means the paper is still too thick in that area. Get the paper wet but not dripping wet otherwise it is easier to accidentally peel off the photo too.

Step 8: Varnish

Coat generously in clear varnish for a shiny finish.

Step 9: Gift or Add to your Gallery Wall!

(See how to make a gallery wall post: Here)

Learn how to transfer printed photos onto canvas with this tutorial and video!

Please reach out with any questions. Hopefully the video makes the directions a little easier to understand.

Hi there! My name is Jen and these are my crafting adventures. Join me on my journey to create something beautiful every day!