Friday, January 23, 2009

How to transfer an image to canvas

I can't seem to stop dabbling in different creative mediums. I know I'm not alone. My photographer friend is currently taking a pottery class. Other friends who specialize in jewelry, painting and sewing recently took a group screen printing class. Personally, I have dabbled in photography, pottery, mosaics, drawing, and some jewelry making. I consider myself a jack of all trades, master of none.

Over a year ago, I bought these little 4" x 4" canvases simply because I liked them. I can't paint so that option was out. I tried decoupaging them but wasn't satisfied. So these mini canvases have sat on my shelves collecting dust.

A few days ago, I decided to figure out how to transfer an image to canvas. Using the supplies I had in my studio...


  • Modge Podge
  • sponge brush
  • 4 x 4 canvas (ready to use with archival gesso priming)
  • ink jet image of a photo I took (If your image has words on it, be sure it is mirrored before printing. The text will be backwards if you don't.)
  • Teflon folder

1. Liberally cover both the canvas and image with Modge Podge.

2. Place the canvas face down onto image. Using my Teflon folder (finger or popsicle stick will do), I smoothed any wrinkles.

3. Let dry (at least 30 minutes although the longer the better). Placing the canvas face down onto the image, I used a book to add additional weight.

4. This is the tricky part that I'll need to work on perfecting...once dry, wet the paper with your finger or damp cloth. This will release the ink from the paper and onto the canvas. Do not soak. Slowly remove the paper exposing the image.

5. Once the paper is removed, slowly rub off the remaining bits of paper. I found using my finger was the easiest.

6. Let dry again and then coat with Modge Podge or another finishing medium.

I was actually pleased with the result because, for the most part, it worked. While not perfect, I know that trying different techniques and mediums (gesso), in time I'll come up with something that works for me.

If you try this (or have tried this in the past), I would love to hear your tips and techniques.

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