DIY Canvas Prints on the Cheap…

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I was trying to find a piece of art for above my bed in my re-vamped Master Bedroom and was looking for a long and skinny piece, approximately 12×36. Of course being the bargain shopper that I am, I didn’t want to spend to much money. Large canvas art can be very expensive.

I read on some other blogs that you can make your own canvas prints on the cheap by getting color images printed at Staples for not much money. Only around $6! They are called Engineered Prints and are supposed to be for blueprints and such. Then you can mount them on foam board for really cheap. So I gave it a try. Read on to see how I did it.
Time: 2 HoursCost: $40Difficulty: Medium
  • diy canvas prints on the cheap
Step 1: Order your print.
Select a photo from your collection.
After going through my millions of photo’s, I picked one that I thought would look good in my bedroom.  See it below.  I took this picture on one of my beach walks (which I should do WAY more often).

I did the ordering on Staples.com for pickup. Since they don’t print out 12×36 prints I ordered a 24×36 with the plans to cut it down to size. Let me tell you, they print these on regular paper, it is NOT a nice thick piece of photo paper, hence the huge price difference.  But, they still look good.
  • diy canvas prints on the cheap
Step 2: Mount the picture on your foam board.
I bought a  12×36 canvas and a  large foam board from Michael’s to mount the print on.

Obviously my print was much bigger than the canvas and so was my foam board so I had to cut them down to size.  I picked this photo because I knew I’d be able to chop off a bunch from the top and bottom and it would still look ok.  I planned to glue it to the foam board first, then to the canvas.  (Some tutorials I read online used just the foam board and not the canvas too.  You may choose to skip this step and just use the foam board and a store bought frame.)

First I cut the foam board down to 12 inches and then I cut the engineered print down to about 14 inches, making sure to have enough to fold over the top and bottom.  I used  Krylon Low Odor Spray Glue spray adhesive to glue it to the board and  a roller and smoother tool set to make sure there were no bubbles.  This is a slow and tricky process.  Take your time here to try to avoid any bubbles from forming.
  • diy canvas prints on the cheap
  • diy canvas prints on the cheap
Spray the glue and then smooth down the image.
  • diy canvas prints on the cheap
Once it was completely glued down I continued to use the roller tool to smooth it all down.  Below is how it looked when I was done.  There is one stubborn bubble that just wouldn’t go away but overall it looked good.
  • diy canvas prints on the cheap
I also used some  Mod Podge as a top coat which gave it a nice shiny finish. Some tutorials I read said not to do this, but I thought it needed it.  You may choose not to if you don’t want a shiny finish. I then glued the piece of form board to the actual canvas using more spray glue.  As stated above, you may choose to skip this step and just frame the foam board with a store bought frame.
  • diy canvas prints on the cheap
Step 3: Make a Frame (optional)
After it was glued and dried I thought it needed a frame around it since you could see where I had glued the foam board to the canvas.  Luckily we had the perfect pieces of scrap wood in our garage, although you can buy wood for cheap at Home Depot or Lowes.  My husband cut them down to size with his saw, and then we nailed and glued them to the canvas. These pieces of scrap wood were a little beat up, so to finish it off I painted them white.
  • diy canvas prints on the cheap
And here is the finished product, which I ended up hanging in my bathroom instead of my bedroom.
  • diy canvas prints on the cheap
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  • Diena Cameron
    Diena Cameron North Bend, OR
    Yesterday

    HI Jodi, I love, love, love your beautiful picture or should i say, "framed artwork " ? .) It came out just perfect. Can i ask why you didn't just glue the picture to the canvas ? Just wondering if both pieces were necessary ( I know you said you could use just the foamcore if you want ) ? I have alittle tip for getting bubbles out of something like this, I have used it more for laying down contact paper. Take a needle or straight pin and poke a small hole in the center of the bubble and then with a little finesse you should be able to work the air towards the center where the hole is. Just use your finger, go slowly and you should be able to work it out. It works great on the contact paper. The hole should still be small enough that it is invisible to the naked eye. I wish I had some photos like yours, guess I need to walk on our beaches more often or head over to Grafics Fairey. 😄 Thanks !

      • Hi Diena,

        Thanks! I actually tried to glue the print right to the canvas and it looked really bad! I think the canvas was to rough for this thin paper. The paper looked way to crinkly so I gentle took it off and just glued it to the foamcore instead. Perhaps there is a better way to do it but I wasn't willing to take the chance. HA! And thanks for the awesome tip. I will try that next time.

        And, I am way overdue for a beach walk myself. We live near some of the most gorgeous beaches in the USA. I am VERY lucky!