What in the World is Reverse Canvas?

7 Materials
30 Minutes

Hello fellow DIYers! I'm sure I'm not the only one who is hearing the buzz of the Reverse Canvas craze. If you are wondering what that even means, I'll tell you. I'll also show you how to make your own! Grab a simple canvas and I'll teach you how to make a gorgeous and expensive looking DIY sign!

White canvas before removing from the frame.
White canvas before removing from the frame.

Step 1: Remove canvas from the wooden frame using a sharp knife (see below)

Cut on the outside of the staples, loosen and remove canvas. Put it aside and we'll get to the canvas in a minute!

Step 2: Stain the wooden frame with your favorite wood stain color.

My favorite as of now is Special Walnut by Minwax. Allow the frame to dry completely; I'd leave it over night to be sure as you don't want it to bleed onto your canvas!

Keep in mind staining the frame is optional. If you like the look of the bare wood, just use it that way!

If you need a little guidance using wood stain, see my process when I made DIY rustic wood shelves behind my bar.

what in the world is reverse canvas

Step 3: Create your "sign"

I used my Silhouette Cameo 3 (cutting machine) to print out a heat transferrable vinyl image "Faith" for my sign. BUT, it would be very easy to simply use chalk paint, a stencil of a saying you love, and a foam brush to paint on the front of the canvas.

Wal-Mart has several alphabet stencil options. Find a font you love and create any saying you'd like with paint!

I used one of the Wal-Mart stencils to create some really pretty terra cotta planters!

If using chalk paint, allow the paint to fully dry prior to the next step.

what in the world is reverse canvas

Step 4: Ensure your sign is aligned and staple the canvas to the backside of the frame.

At the time of this project, I did not have a staple gun. This would certainly make the back look prettier, but is not necessary! A regular stapler would work just fine!

Just be sure your canvas is taut when stapling onto the frame!

what in the world is reverse canvas

Ta Da! There you have it! Reverse Canvas! Time to make yours!

This is very inexpensive DIY home decor! Total cost is ~$5.00. Even less if you have some of the supplies already (I bet you do;-) Total hands on time was less than 30 minutes. This does not account for the wait time for stain and paint to dry.

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April at LoveOurRealLife

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


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Tracy Lynn
    on Feb 2, 2019

    Maybe a project I might actually be able to do, without making a mess of it! I'm not crafty! But I'm trying!

    I was thinking of painting the frame in bright colors. Then putting a big flower on the canvas.

    What do you think?


  • Hb
    on Feb 7, 2019

    Ok , seems simple enough , but I don't get what makes this "reverse canvas" are you using the back of the original canvas to print on or the front ? Is it just called that because you have taken it and put it in a frame instead of using the wood frame the canvas came attached to ? I just don't get it .

    • Karissa

      It's reverse canvas because when you buy the canvas, the canvas part is stretched over the wooden frame, so you do not see the wooden frame at all. You then remove the canvas from the outside of the frame & staple it "inside" or to the back of the frame so that the frame is no longer covered up by the canvas & is showing/being used as a frame for whatever picture or print you put on the canvas.

  • Couldn't you just staple the canvas to the other side from which it started out and cut with Razer knife the piece that wraps around and remove the original staples?

    • I suppose you could! You would have holes from staples if that was the side that was displayed. But I think that would work, too. The backsides of the frames are flat, so that would be an even more basic frame. Endless possibilities;-)

Join the conversation

3 of 19 comments
  • Kim
    on Feb 10, 2019

    April that's a good one. Will be doing that ASAP. I'm going to be paying closer attention to you. Anything and I mean anything green is for me. Everything's got prudential for recycle.

    • PeggySue2u
      on Feb 12, 2019

      Exactly Kim. I like to hit the garage sales and look for potential for upcycling to my needs. I have some old frames that I didn't want to throw out so this would be a great idea to take off from. I want to mod-podge some old cute fabric to it and reverse it with a different coordinating fabric; mod-podged to the frame.

  • Jewellmartin
    on Feb 11, 2019

    It seems that you exactly have it. Reuse the front or back of a used canvas, and reframe the canvas on a different frame or in a different way. Some of the Old Masters and many art students do this to save money on canvases and frames. Maybe you can do this, also. 😀

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