Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mini canvas art project { inexpensive art DIY }

Lately, I've been attracted to art that's either huge, or really tiny. Giant canvases really fill up a space and I feel like you can really inspect each piece of the artwork.  Similarly, I love small artwork because it requires you to interact with it and really inspect its intricate details.

I found some cute 2.5" x 2.5" canvases at Wal-Mart (land of the cheap craft supplies) and I knew I had to snap them up.  What I would do with them, I wasn't sure, but I knew at $4 for the duo (just $2 per canvas and easel set!!!), I had to have them.

In short, what I did was printed out a favorite saying and decoupaged that on the canvas.  For the white canvas prints, I painted the sides black.

Here is the more detailed tutorial using MS Publisher, if you're interested...

I'm a novice at photoshop, so I used MS Publisher for this project. First, I created a black square that was 3.6" x 3.6". The front of the canvas is 2.5", and each side is .5" wide. This gives me enough to wrap up the sides as well. You could just put an image on the front and paint the sides; really whatever you want to do.

Next I created a second square that was 2.5" x 2.5". At this point, you can fill that second square in black or white and change your font color to black or white depending on if you want a white canvas with black letters or a black canvas with white letters. It was easier for me to visually see the white box with black letters and change it later on.

To make sure both squares are perfectly aligned horizontally and vertically, I went to the Arrange menu, then Align or Distribute, then Align Center. Then I went back and went to Arrange, Align or Distribute, and then to Align Middle.

Now go to the white box and right click, selecting "Add Text". Type your text in. Now you can play with fonts and sizes until you find something you like.

It's important that your text isn't sitting right at the margins of the canvas. So you can right click and go to "Format AutoShape". Now go to the "Text Box" tab. Your vertical alignment should be middle. I used margins of .25" on the left, right, top and bottom. Hit OK. Now my saying isn't hitting the margins and there is nice white (or black) space all around it.

Print out your image. I'm lazy and just use my inkjet printer and I haven't had any problems. Yes ink will smear if try to reposition things several times or get globs and then try to wipe them off. If you think you may be a little messy, just take the file to your copy shop or your work (oops, did I just say that?) and have a laser print made.

I positioned the saying in the center, put a thin coat of matte mod podge on the front of the canvas and placed the image (right side up) in the center. I then covered the image with wax paper and used my brayer to smooth things out. I did an envelope fold for my corners and glued the sides as well.

I put a thin coat on the top of the image and all four sides set aside to dry.

And here is a grainy picture of the result!

*Note, if you're doing a full black background with white lettering, this is when your inkjet print is most likely to smear. Let your inkjet printout fully dry before you do anything (I waited a 1/2 hour).  Just work carefully, use the wax paper when smoothing anything out, and wash your hands. My hands looked like I'd been playing with an ink pad, but the project itself didn't smear.


  1. Hey Emily! I really appreciate you stopping by my blog and for your sweet comment! I am a new follower of yours! I really like the mini canvases! They are sooo cute!


Thanks in advance for your comments! They help inspire me to keep creating and sharing on this blog.

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