Wall Art - How to Print an 8" X 10" Canvas With a Printer!

2 Materials
$0
2 Hours
Medium

You may remember the 'Inspire' themed office decor items I created for the Hometalk HQ DIY Challenge earlier this week:
I'm back with another project in the Inspire series, but this time it's an idea for wall art you can hang in your cubicle (or anywhere at home). We spend 57% of our waking time at work, so why not surround ourselves with artwork to make that time more enjoyable?

You can create your own one-of-a-kind creations yourself using a home printer and pre-made 8" x 10" canvasses. Here's some artwork I created exclusively for Hometalk's head quarter decor challenge, once again using the Hometalk logo.

I used Illustrator to design the graphic but if you're not inclined to work with graphics programs, you can probably experiment and use the tutorial to print other wall art that you'd like to hang, such as a photograph (although I haven't personally tried it myself).

I purchased a 10-pack of Artists Loft Super Value Canvas from Michaels to bring my newest 'Inspire' creation to life. Of course I ran out of printer ink by the time I was ready to print it so the canvas turn out less saturated than the cartoon prints that inspired this post (which you'll see a sample of below).
The Original Project That Inspired This Post
Hubs and I don't like to take ourselves too seriously (afterall, laughter is the best medicine!), so I was inspired to immortalize our day-to-day antics. A few years ago, I printed a series of cartoon canvasses using my own home computer and store-bought 8" x 10" canvasses back when Bitstrips was an app on Facebook. Since then, I believe that Bitstrips has since been removed from Facebook, so you can't replicate my cartoon idea. However, you can still use this tutorial as inspiration to print your own art canvas, like I did for Hometalk's HQ challenge. I've provided a step-by-step tutorial to show you how I did it!

Here's a closeup of just one of the canvasses in my cartoon series. I added a 'film-strip' effect border around each of the cartoons to balance the white space around the artwork and to group them together more effectively.
It's fairly easy to transfer your ideas onto canvas using a home printer and artwork that has been sized to fit onto an 8" x 10" area. The canvasses were printed with the aid of some freezer paper to stiffen the canvas (see more about the printer below under footnote 2. Printing directly to canvas results in artwork that pops!

If you don’t have a suitable printer, you should be able to achieve a similar effect using T-shirt transfer paper. I haven’t used T-shirt transfer paper personally so you will have to experiment if that’s the method you use. One thing you will have to keep in mind if you have wording as part of your visual when using the T-shirt transfer method: you’ll need to mirror the image in a graphic program so that when you iron it onto the canvas, the printing is legible.

To start, I used Powerpoint to scale my images.
To use the printer method that I used, you will need the following supply list:
  • 8” x 10” canvasses (footnote 1)
  • Reynolds Freezer Paper (generally found in the grocery store with tin foil and plastic wrap)
  • Upholstery staple puller
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Ziploc bag (to save the staples if you choose to reuse them)
  • Scissors
  • Inkjet printer (footnote 2)
  • Ziploc bag (to hold the staples)

Footnotes:
(1) Canvas. I recommend using a 50% off coupon from Michaels and buying the 10 piece Artists Loft Super Value Canvas Pack illustrated on the right. I'm not sure about the United States, but last time I checked they were selling for $16.99 in Canada (regular price).
(2) The Printer: The printer I use is an Epson WF-3540. It has a rear feed slot that can accommodate heavy stock. Note that the printer slot MUST measure at least 9”wide in order to be able to print directly on canvas to accommodate the canvas once it's opened up and refolded (as you'll see later).

The Graphics Fairy also recommends Epson printers in her post on the best printers for crafting (link can be found on my website). The reason she likes Epson printers (other than the fact that she has affiliate links on her site), is because "because many of them (although not all) come with pigment inks, that are both waterproof and fade-proof, which makes it the perfect ink for crafting! This means your ink won’t run or bleed, even when you apply something wet over top of it, like various types of glues, Mod Podge, etc." I don't have any affiliations, however I do concur that Epson inks are great! If you are buying a printer for crafting, look for an Epson that uses Dura Brite Ultra Ink (my particular printer takes a 127 cartridge).

Instructions

1. Cut a piece of Reynolds Freezer Paper to 9” x 11.5”. This size needs to be slightly bigger than a standard 8 1/2" by 11" piece of paper because of the canvas; a rear printer slot should be able to accommodate this custom size.Note that you won't be able to get two full pieces out of the width of the freezer paper because of the size (9” x 11.5”). Don’t be tempted to skimp on the size of the freezer paper (even if it’s only 1/4”) — it needs to be cut to the exact size of the folded canvas (as you'll see further ahead) to get the best result when printing. To make up for that 'waste', you'll find that the freezer paper is reusable, so don't toss it out after only one use.

2. Remove all the staples from the canvas using the upholstery staple puller shown below. Set the staples aside in a Ziploc bag if you wish to reuse them.
3. Set aside the frame. Note: once the canvas is printed, pair it back together again with the same frame if you’re going to reuse the staples so you can fit them back into their original holes).
4. Now that the canvas is free from the frame, there will be two sets of creases all the way around the sides. Put the iron onto medium heat and iron out the canvas on the wrong side (i.e. the side without gesso) until all the creases are slightly flattened. The goal isn’t to make the creases disappear completely—it’s just to open the piece out. Do this in a well ventilated area as the fumes can be quite smelly.
5. With the canvas flattened and still facing wrong side up, refold the outer crease all the way around and iron it flat, as shown below. If you're using the value pak from Michael's and the piece doesn’t measure 9” wide by 11.5” long, then you know you’ve folded it wrong. Don’t worry if the edges don’t lie perfectly flat—the freezer paper will hold it them place in the next step.
6. Take the piece of freezer paper you previously cut (shiny side down/paper side up) and place over the canvas (which is still facing wrong side up with the margins folded in). The freezer paper will be the exact same size as the canvas and will effectively sandwich in the folded sides. Iron the freezer paper onto the canvas until it is well attached; keep the iron moving to prevent burning. Make sure the corners are as flat as you can get them (this could be a place where the canvas catches and jams in the printer). Let it cool slightly before placing in the printer—but not so long that it starts to curl. If that happens, iron it flat again.
Printing your Images to Canvas

I've included the rest of the instructions on my blog to explain how I printed from my own Epson printer, but you will need to experiment with your own printer if you have a different brand or model. If you're not careful you can jam your printer and may not be able to clear it, so DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK! Visit my blog at the link below for detailed pictures and instructions on how to print. Reattaching the Canvas to the Frame I’m pretty fanatical when it comes to reducing waste, so I saved all the staples and reused them, putting each one back in by hand. If you don’t want to take the extra time to do that, you can use a staple gun to add new staples and reattach the canvas. If you plan to reuse the old staples to reattach the canvas to the frame, you will need:

  • Small hammer (I used the side of a nail remover as a hammer)
  • Staples that were removed
  • Needle nosed pliers (in case you need to straighten out some of the staples) Printed canvasses and frames

Instructions

1. If any of the staples are bent, straighten them with the needle nose pliers.

2. Line up the canvas so that the holes in the canvas match the holes in the frame. That way, you can reuse the same holes.

3. Starting in the middle of one side, put a staple through the canvas, line it up with the holes in the frame then tap it into place.

4. Put a staple in the middle of the three remaining sides, then fold in the corners and tap in a staple to each of the four corners. Add the remaining staples all around the frame until complete.
Hanging your Artwork on the Wall of Your Cubicle To hang your artwork on the wall of your cubicle you can glue half of a binder clip to the back of the canvas and attach it to your cubicle with a push pin, as I showed you in the first post I did for the Inspire series of office accessories:
If you're lucky enough not to work in a cubicle and have actual wall space, use a medium size 3M Command Strip as a hanging device. Since the canvas is light, you only need one for each canvas, centered onto the top of each frame. Follow the instructions that came with the package.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, please pin and share on Facebook.

Now that you have the basics, I hope you have as much fun creating your canvasses as I did, however if you happen to jam your printer, don't say I didn't warn you:) If that scared you off, I'll have at least one more 'inspired' office decor item coming up that you won't want to miss. Until then, check out one of my other craft ideas (more ideas on my blog): Vinyl Record Art – Creating a VW Bug Key Holder
Paint Chip Portrait (search for it on Hometalk or at my website).
For more inspiring ideas, in and around the home, follow our blog here on Hometalk and/ or Birdz of a Feather (link below this post where you see our logo). You can also follow us on:

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/BirdzPIN
Facebook: http://bit.ly/BirdzFB
YouTube: http://bit.ly/BirdzYT
Instagram: http://bit.ly/BirdzIG

Suggested materials:

  • Canvas  (Michaels)
  • Binder clip  (Office supply store)

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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3 of 7 comments
  • Candy Walsh
    Candy Walsh
    on Sep 8, 2016

    Love it!!

  • Roberta Lenski
    Roberta Lenski
    on Sep 8, 2016

    Much easier - buy canvas made for ink jet printers. The cost is comparable and the project is much easier. I have used several different brands and all that I used were good quality.

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