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DIY Photo Canvas Art

DIY Projects

We’re so excited to share this DIY tutorial from Blue Label member Rachael Grace Photography. These mini photo canvases are easy to execute, and could be produced in bulk at a DIY crafting party with your bridesmaids + friends as sweet wedding favors! Read on for Rachael’s tips on how to make these little beauties:

DIY photo canvas wall art

Do you know the feeling when your creative bug comes to visit? You just want to get your hands dirty and create something from scratch. But we all have those half finished creative projects laying around, that we didn’t quite have time to finish. Today I want to share an easy creative project that looks like it took ages, but really it’s just an hour. I’m in love with these little guys, so simple and beautiful.

diy canvas photo tutorialdiy canvas photo tutorial

diy canvas photo tutorial

What you’ll need:
– A canvas (start with a 5×5 size. The small sizes are much easier and more forgiving to start out on)
– Gel Medium (I use Liquitex, but any brand will do)
– A brush
– Furniture Polish
– A Xerox copy of your photo (remember it will be mirrored once it’s on the canvas)

For this project I choose a 6×6 canvas and a 5×5 Holga film camera photo. I wanted a white border around the image, but definitely not necessary.

diy tutorial canvas photo

Step 1: Spread a layer of gel medium on the canvas. Be careful to spread it thin enough and as smooth as possible. If there are thick areas you’ll end up rubbing the photo off along with the paper. Not cool! Place the photo print side down. Don’t do what I did the first time and put the photo up… :) Smooth out the image and remove any air bubbles. You want the whole image securely sticking to the canvas. Let it dry overnight.

Step 2: Use a spray bottle or sponge to soak the canvas. Once the paper has soaked up the water you can rub gently on the paper. I’ve used paper towels and sponges, but on small canvases it works best to just use your finger. The important thing to remember is to rub gently. The ink will rub off too, so go slow.

diy canvas photo tutorialdiy canvas photo tutorial

Step 3: Once you’ve removed the majority of the paper I like to use a rough sponge to rough up the edges. Can’t have it too clean! Then let the canvas dry out for bit.

diy tutorial canvas photo

Step 4: You’ll notice that once it’s dry the photo still looks cloudy with paper residue. The easiest way to rid the canvas of fog is furniture polish! The oily kind that’s just for real wood furniture works best. Pour a little on a cloth and rub it into the canvas. It clears it right up! It took me trying about 10 different products to figure that out!

And that’s all there is to it! A small canvas like this one only takes about an hour of time sans the waiting for it to dry. It’s the perfect way to add some vintage to your photos! And so many ways you can add your own flare to it so experiment on your own! The larger the canvas the less room there is for error, but the WOW factor is totally worth it!

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This wedding from Alberta, Canada is quirky and sweet in all the right ways. Brett and Tara are environmental scientists who share a love of — wait for it — taxidermy. Bride Tara wanted to build a makeshift forest into the wedding reception, an idea that was brought to life with the help of Jennifer Bergman Weddings and shot by Diamond Cake Photography. The bride’s wedding bouquet was made of a mix of wooden and real flowers, making it a perfect keepsake for years to come!

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From the bride, Tara: Brett and I are both environmental scientists and nature lovers, so to have a nature theme was an easy choice for us. Having a winter wedding was always a dream of ours, but that meant that we had to bring the outdoors indoors to bring our nature wedding to life, including building a forest at our reception. Despite Brett thinking that I was a bit crazy, he went along with this idea, and with the help of friends and family we made a photobooth that incorporated trees, faux snow, taxidermy, and a vintage green loveseat that I found at a thrift store. Our reception venue was the Freemason’s Hall, which had been originally built to be a theatre, so the stage was the perfect setting to create our forest. It turned out amazingly, and our guests had so much fun with it.


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Other nature elements that we had at the wedding were animal themed tables, a forest floor sign-in table, homemade jam guest favors made from native berries, and a cake with a cascade of reclaimed wood flowers. In return for the traditional clinking of the glasses we asked that our guests go up and imitate an animal call; a college friend had the most impressive when she did her infamous elk call.


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For music we chose songs that we held dear from different times of our relationship. Luckily my sister’s boyfriend is an amazing guitar player and was willing to play for our ceremony. The songs we chose were a mix of The Beatles, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Tea Party and The Verve. Our first dance was a duet by Dave Grohl and Nora Jones called Virginia Moon.


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My advice to any other couples is to make it your own and don’t worry about tradition. Find those things that make you unique as a couple and run with them! It’s like my sister said during her wedding speech, “I’m so glad you two found each other, who else knows another couple that shares a love for taxidermy?”


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View all images from this wedding in the gallery

Wedding Vendors (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada):

Wedding Ceremony: McKay Avenue School / Wedding Reception: Freemasons’ Hall / Wedding Photographers: Diamond Cake Photography / Event Planning and Design: Jennifer Bergman Weddings / Wedding Flowers: Laurel’s On Whyte / Boutonnieres and Corsages: Erica Cavanagh / Wooden Flowers: Accents and Petals / Wedding Dress: Enzoani “Farlow” / Wedding Jacket: Jessica Halabi Fashion / Wedding Shoes: Sterling / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Tiffani Saxton Designs / Makeup: Anita Gill Makeup Artistry / Ceremony Guitarist: Sean Scobie / Reception Guitarist: Jeff Ramsey / DJ: Baseline Services / Chair Signs: Naturally Chic / Rentals: Special Event Rentals + Elegant Touches / Wedding Cake: Over the Top Cakes / Wedding Stationery: Pinkpolka Wedding Design / Officiant: Robert Ligertwood / Transportation: Esquire Limousines

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