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Transferring Photographs to Canvas

Jennifer L. Betts
photo on canvas

Framing pictures is fun, but there is just something sleek and refined about having a mounted canvas image above your mantel. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, there are multiple ways for you to transfer your favorite images to canvas. However, if you prefer just to order one, there are places that specialize in transferring images to canvas, as well.

Create Your Own Image Canvas

If you are a diehard crafter, then transferring your images to canvas might sound both fun and intriguing. Depending on the clarity of image you are looking for and how much you want to spend, there are a few ways you can do this.

Use Waterslide Decal Paper

Waterslide decal paper is a fun medium to work with that looks like film adhered to a white sheet. It is available for both laser printers and inkjet printers.

For this method, you'll need:

  • Canvas
  • Waterslide decal paper
  • Square pan with water


  1. To use it, print your image on the decal paper and let it dry. If you are using the inkjet paper, you might need to apply a coat of clear coat to make sure the ink doesn't run. This is dependent on the paper, but it is a good rule of thumb to use.
  2. After the image or clear coat has had ample drying time, put the paper in the water and the backing will slide off.
  3. Take the film, which has an adhesive, and gently put it on your canvas.
  4. Carefully work all the air bubbles out with a damp cloth until the film adheres to your canvas seamlessly.
  5. Give it some time to dry, and it's ready for hanging.

Use Mod Podge

Another way that you can try to get your photos on canvas is by using Mod Podge. This gives the image a rustic. patchy look. How it looks depends on how consistently you coat the image with the Mod Podge.

To transfer your images this way, you'll need:

  • Mod Podge or another transfer medium
  • Printed images roughly the size of your canvas
  • Canvas
  • Sponge


  1. Print your images in high quality on plain printer paper.
  2. Trim the image to remove borders and fit it as close to possible to your canvas.
  3. Laying the image face up, evenly coat it with Mod Podge until it is saturated.
  4. Lay the image face down on the canvas and press firmly. The Mod Podge will adhere the image to the canvas.
  5. Let it dry completely (this can take several hours).
  6. After ample drying time, wet your sponge and begin to coat the paper. The paper should start easily peeling away leaving the image on the canvas.
  7. Give it time to dry, and you are ready to hang.

Tips for Doing It Yourself

art class workshop

Remember, it takes practice to get anything perfected, and this is the same with transferring images to canvas. It might take a few tries and some all-out fails before you get the image quality you are looking for. Therefore, patience is key. Always buy a few extra canvases unless you are a seasoned expert. Even then, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Additionally, don't expect perfection. Sometimes it is the little imperfections that make the craft the most beautiful and memorable. Remember you did this yourself for a reason.

Buy A Photo Transfer Online

So maybe doing it yourself just didn't work out, or you don't have time for that. Either way, there are several reputable places that offer photo transfer canvases online. Finding the best is a process of checking reviews and discovering those with the highest quality. Thankfully, several are available.

Canvas On Demand

Ranked among the 3 Websites That Make Great Canvas Photo Prints by Steve's Digicams, Canvas On Demand offers several canvas sizes ranging from 8x10 to 32x48. Their canvas prices are reasonable, ranging from about $53 to $190. However, this site frequently offers discounts. Additionally, the canvases come with a limited 2-year warranty, and the quality is excellent; Extreme Home Makeover uses the company due to the quality of their work. Creation and shipping takes about two weeks, but the company offers an option for rush orders.

Canvas Pop

Another great option is Canvas Pop. This company was featured among Best Canvas Prints by Still Being Molly. Canvas Pop boasts hand-stretched museum quality prints. Additionally, they use professional Canon equipment for the printing process to produce high quality images that are then laminated by hand. Canvases start at about $30 and take about 2 weeks to get to your door. The sizes range from an 8-inch width to up to 76 inches. Canvas Pop also offers the option to create photo collages and other unique canvas designs.

Canvas HQ

Listed as the 2017 pick by Top Consumer Reviews, Canvas HQ offers an assortment of photo to canvas transfer ideas. In addition to a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, Canvas HQ allows you to choose your canvas finish and frame. They also offer complimentary proofs to ensure your photographs are spot on. The size options range from 6 to 96 inches, and they offer black and white and color canvas art. The prices vary based on the framing but range from $18 to $319.

Tips for Buying Canvases

If you are buying something, you want to get the most bang for your buck. However, in the photography world cheaper isn't always better.

  • Remember quality counts so when you are considering a printer for your photographs on canvas, check their materials and processing procedures. This ensures the canvas above the mantle holds up to the test of time and you won't have to replace it in a few months.
  • Picture quality is important. If you are creating a large canvas, ensure the image you use will enlarge without looking grainy or pixilated. Even the best of printers can only work with the artwork given, so if you want a large canvas, don't use a Facebook image.
  • If you are getting a framed canvas, wrapping matters. A tightly wrapped canvas will be less likely to fray and wear at the edges. This ensures the image of your family lasts for years.

How to Choose?

Creating a canvas on your own or having it done by a professional will inevitably have different results, but depending on your personality and how much of a perfectionist you are, either way can be satisfying. Just remember that if you are doing this yourself, you will need to account for user errors. On the same note, if you are having a professional printer create your canvas, ensure that the images you provide will blow up well into the size you chose. Give transferring your photos to canvas a try. You won't be disappointed.

Transferring Photographs to Canvas