Make Your Own Canvas Portrait!


I love the look of family photos printed on canvas, but I never knew I could make them at home! After transferring photos to fabric, I was super excited to try some pieces using stretched canvas. I hope this inspires some of you to make something special for your home…


Here’s how I transferred my photo to canvas:

Supplies needed:
-stretched canvas (I chose an 8×10 size)
gel medium
-paint brush and the image you want to transfer (laser copy)
-spray bottle filled with water.

Remember, your image will print reversed.

1. Completely cover your canvas with gel medium. Use a heavy coat.

2. Press the photo copy onto the canvas and let it dry for several hours or overnight.

3. After your image is completely dry, use a spray bottle to wet the top of the paper.

4. Rub the surface with your fingers until pieces of the paper start coming off. When pieces start coming up your image will be revealed. This step takes patience and is messy!

Be careful not to rub too hard as this can remove your transfer on accident. Continue until all the paper is removed and the image is completely visible!

6. Cover your canvas with one more coat of gel medium to seal and protect the image.

Note: You can expect an imperfect transfer. I think the imperfections are absolutely lovely! It’s best to choose an image that is not incredibly detailed to work with. Each transfer is different. The more you experiment, the better!

Here are a few questions that readers asked…. 

Q: Can I print my photo on photo paper? 

A: No. A photo printed on regular photo paper (like what you would get from any 1 hour photo) will not work. The reason is that in steps 4,5+6 you need to be able to rub the paper off from the canvas. Any photo with a plastic feel on the back will be water resistant. The best thing to print your photo on is regular printer (or copy) paper.

Q: What is a laser copy? Can I just use my home printer?

A: The method we’ve had the most luck with uses laser copies. Inkjet printers (home printers) can also work, but if you choose to use them be sure to print on regular copy paper, not photo paper.

There was some confusion about what a laser copy is. It’s the kind of copy machine that you could use (for cheap!) at any copy shop, office or public library.

I’ve personally had several successful projects using a laser printer, so that’s what I would recommend! I take photos in and blow them up to fit the canvas side. I always print in black and white because I think that a contrasty black and white transfer looks better than color.

Q: I don’t have Liquidex, can I just use Mod Podge? 

A: No. Although I’ve heard of readers using it with success it didn’t work well for us. We tried the gloss and the matte varieties of Mod Podge. The results were the same with both types. It’s normal for the transfer to have imperfections, but with Mod Podge it was much more than usual. Mod Podge is awesome, but it’s not ideal for this project.

What we DO recommend for this project is any gel medium that you would get at the art store. We usually use glossy. Liquidex Gloss Gel or Golden Gloss Gel work great. I know they are a little pricey, but it’s worth it for this project.

Q: There is a white film covering my photo. What did I do wrong? 

A: You didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just not done yet. If your transfer looks like this (below) it simply means you need to keep rubbing the paper off!

A lot of people get nervous when some parts of the image wear off and don’t want to finish. If you look at my finished example at the top, there are some spots that wore off during the process, especially around the edges.

This is totally normal and should be expected. Use a spray bottle and rub gently until the paper is completely removed. Then gloss the photo with another coat of gel medium while the surface is still slightly damp.

I’m so excited to have this little keepsake for our home. These would also make amazing gifts! I can’t wait to make more. xo. elsie

  • WOW! There are a lot of questions and comments. You may have been asked this several times, but if I mess up on the first picture, can I use white paint to paint over it and try to transfer again?

  • We absolutely love this Idea! They would make an amazing gallery wall in different sizes! It’s been featured in our lastest blog post
    10+ Stylish DIY Gifts for Fathers Day!
    Keep up your (very,very) creative posts!

  • This is brilliant!!! 🙂 I have just discovered this website and i am in love with it!! 🙂
    I was just wondering what paper did you use? was it just normal plain paper or a type of photo paper? 🙂

    Thanks so much for the great ideas!!

  • great post – i am new to anything “DIY” and crafty and was wondering what a “gel medium” is and if Mod Podge would work the same as Liquidex? Thanks!

  • I am making this as a present for my mum’s birthday. Praying it works!! Thank you for the idea (:


  • Curious as to your paper choice, did you use photo paper? Plain paper? I tried it and mine did not work out but would love to try again.

  • Is there an alternative you could use for the gel medium? I cant find it anywhere living in Northern Ireland! Thankyou! x

  • That’s very inspiring! I’ve been using the gel medium for 3d ornaments and never thought it could be used as a transfer medium… thanks a lot for that!

  • When my eldest two were little I had professional photos taken that were mounted on board, over the years, and there have been a lot since then they have become damaged. I was thinking of scanning and reprinting them. This is such a fantastic way to do these, I will also do the same with the photos of their families. Thankyou for this.

  • Are you using photo paper when making the copies to transfer or just regular paper?

  • This is such a great idea. I can’t wait to try it. Is the picture on photo paper or regular computer paper?

  • What Liquidex did you buy? Is it matte, or gloss heavy, ultra matte? I love this so much and want to do it for a wedding present! I just want to make sure I use the right kind of gel.

  • I tried this and the paper wouldn’t come off. I used pictures I had printed at Walgreens. I covered the canvas with gel medium. I let it dry over night. Did I miss a step or use the wrong type of photos? Help!

  • I tired doing this..but the black ink turned green..any suggestions?

  • Hi How did you get it so clear? I did mine I think I did a good job of removing the paper but it’s so still shady.

    Thank you

  • Mya, read my follow up tips here- there is no special kind of paper or ink. it’s just a regular copy on regular printer paper. it should be super cheap, like if you were copying a contract or document (not a photo).

    It is best to use photos with less details. Faces are tricky. XO! elsie

  • LOVE the idea but I had some troubles and now some questions…
    I got my images printed in B&W, laser print but the printing company asked if I wanted it printed with an inkjet or toner…I had no idea so I used inkjet. So I tried a test – B&W laser print(inkjet) and it was a portrait of my sis and I. I realize now portraits are NOT a good idea because there is too much detail! I rubbed my sis’s eye off completely so now my test is garbage 🙁 I’m going to try using modge podge with a coloured image now.
    Back to the inkjet/toner question, which did you use? Printed on what kind of paper?
    There are lots of printer options out there and I didn’t know what was best….

  • Hi
    So I was pumped when I found this site, blew up a picture, put it on let it dry out & then took the paper or so I thought off. I can’t seem to get all of the paper off and get a clear image instead of a foggy one – anybody use sand paper or something before?

  • Rachel-Try dampening the image before sealing it. This will help to brighten the image before you seal. But also make sure you have fully removed the paper (see the example above) this step does take a while so it can be easy to think your done when really you need to remove just a little more.

  • i tried this but when my canvas dries, it goes back to almost paper white..what can i put on it to keep the dark colors showing after its dried?

  • Id like to try this and have guests sign it as a guest book at my wedding. What type of pen would you suggest using for them to sign on a black and white photo?

  • I hate sounding goofy, but, can you clarify a couple of things for me? #1 “gel medium”? I’m not sure what that is. Can you give some examples? (and what kind of store might you find it in) #2 “transfer (laser print)” Again, I’m not sure what that means. I’m wondering if that is simply a photocopy… Thank you for your help.
    I’d love to try this. I can pick up very cheap stretched canvases at the Dollar Store… 8X10 I think. ($1)

  • Is there a certain kind of photo paper that works better or will any photo paper do? I’m assuming you can’t use standard printer paper or cardstock.

    Thanks. Looking forward to trying it out.

    Sean C.
    Words With Friends Cheat Admin

  • I love this idea, I did it in color, and it looked beautiful. Great bday present for my bo.

  • Hello,
    colour printing perth is the best you can make good and effective and different panting.

  • What kind of paper did you print on? I love this and cant wait to give it a go. Thanks for posting. 🙂

  • I’ve been trying this at home and maybe I’m not using the proper gel medium? I ordered my prints off of shutterfly, perhaps not the right paper? It doesn’t seem to be sticking to the canvas, maybe you can offer some insight?

  • What kind of paper did you use and did you use an ink jet printer or a laser jet?

  • Hi, your link for the gel medium goes to a whole page of Liquidex mediums. Do you know which one you specifically used? I’ve never used any so I didn’t want to make the wrong choice. Thanks so much!

  • I just have to say that this inspired me for a unique guest book at my wedding. I went to kinkos and printed out a 24×36 of one our engagement pictures. Cut it up into 3×3 squares and transferred each one onto a mini 3×3 canvas. Each guest got to sign one of the mini canvases. It was like a puzzle; as each mini canvas was placed, it slowly revealed the full picture. The guests loved it and now my husband and I have a spectacular piece of art to display in our home! Thank you so much for sharing how to do this and inspiring me!

  • What does “laser print” mean? Can I do it with a regular printed photo? I can’t wait to try this. I have the canvas’ ready but want to make sure I get it right the first time.

  • I totally love this project. Can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for sharin.

  • Where can you get a laser copy of a photo? Also when you put the photo onto the canvas, you put it face down, right? Thanks.

  • Elsie, did you also tried it with colours? I was thinking about do it with superimposed pictures and just see if it works!!! I Love your Blog! Greets from Germany

  • Hi
    I love this ! Its so much fun, Im having one promblem tho and need so advice. After I remove the paper and seethe picture clearly before I finish it off I let it dry but then it looks all somkey the paper drys and covers the picture again what am I doing wrong? please help

  • It isn’t too clear but I presume you put the image onto the printed canvas with the image facing down? is that why it comes out reversed? If someone could clarify for me that would be great!x

  • does anyone know if u can use modge podge to do this, or does it have to be the gel medium liquidex? thanks!

  • What a great idea. This would be perfect for a wedding gift for my sister!


  • Will this work with pictures printed at a photo shop? I know the photo paper is a little thicker. I have a bunch of old photos I’d love to use, but don’t want to have to scan them in and get them laser printed.

  • what kind of paper did you use to print the picture on, i am confused on that part thank you Deb

  • Love this <3
    Did you try it with an inkjet print? Or does it just work with laser print?

    This blog is one of the best, I love to read it! Keep on posting such great things <3


  • Where do you find the gel you use? Is that at common drugstores? Thanks for this idea! I can’t wait to use it!! 🙂

  • I love this project! I am having trouble with the paper though. Every time I think I have it all off, it starts to film up again. Then when I wet it, it looks perfect. Did this happen to you? How do I fix it?

  • Does the photo need to be on photo paper? I have a photo on a digital camera i want to use and don’t know if i should get it laser copied onto photo paper or just regular paper.Thanks!

  • I tried one last night but the picture was printed on regular white paper. Did you use photo paper? I cannot get all of the tiny pills of paper to come off no matter what I do – wondering if the paper type makes a difference. Thanks!

  • This is a really great project, I love it! Thank you for the info.

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  • I got married recently and my wedding invites were little canvases! My husband and I designed our invites and the wording for it, inverted the image (mirror image), printed it on paper and then transferred it to the little canvases with modge podge. It looked awesome and everyone loved it…oh, they still do, cause its not like any other invite that just end up in some drawer… 🙂 I loved making them!!

  • This is amazing! I just stumbled on this site today,and I just loooove it! This may seem like a stupid question, but I noticed the imaged needs to be a laser copy. Does this mean photos printed from an inkjet printer will not work?

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  • I am in South Africa, what is the gel you use for the canvas transfer, is it modge podge? Thanks

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  • IT LOOKS SO GOOD IN MY OFFICE!!!!Everyone has been going nuts over it. And they all want your info. And then I tell everyone- just kniddig she is leaving for two months Miss you.This whole work thing blows.

  • Tthis is so cool…thanks for sharing 🙂
    Tried this with a few of my own photos and it came out great! Next 5 years of gift-giving…solved.


  • I just made this today and it took me forever at least 2 or more hrs and I couldn’t get all the paper off, as well the canvas was starting to show through. Is there something I’m doing wrong? I Love this idea and would like to make more of these.

    Thanks Georgette

  • Do you know of anyway to transfer a photo onto wood?
    And what is a laser copy? Ha. I’m so lost, but I’d love to do this for a gift for my dad!

  • Elsie – I can’t seem to find liquitex anywhere around town. Do you think mod podge would work or would I be better off ordering liquitex online?

  • I just LOVE IT!

    I can’t wait to make my BUNCH of new project!!! thanks so much for the sharing!!!!!

  • Love this idea and I have a question: by ‘laser copy’ do you mean a photocopy of a photograph? I just did my 1st trial one and just printed a photo on my printer at home but the details seem to get lost and the colour isn’t as bright. Also, is all the paper supposed to rub off?? Thanks so much 🙂

  • Is there any chance these will withstand rain? Or does anybody have any ideas of something to put over top of it so that it can get wet?

  • Do I have to use a paper copy or will it work from a picture?? sorry for confusion….

  • Hey I love this idea and can’t wait to have a go for myself. I’m trying to work out what the gel medium is and where I can get some, is it like gesso? xx

  • wow!thanx so much for sharing this! definetly i’m gonna try it out.

  • I tried for the birthday of my love and it’s really great! Thank you for this great idea.

  • This also works wonderful on wood (which is cheaper). I haven’t tried the canvas yet…..what a great idea!

  • What is a laser copy of a photo? Does that mean simply printed out on paper? or on photo paper?

  • woooowww, this is an amazing idea, for sure i will try it in my new place 🙂

  • I have wanted something for a gift for my parents that they don’t have, they are 81, healthy. on the go, and if they want it they buy it. I am going to try to do this with a picture of us three kids. they will love it. thanks., you are so talented!

  • can i use elmers glue instead? i dont have any modpodge or Liquidex in my country..

  • This is one of the best websites/blogs I’ve ever seen. Martha Stewart eat your heart out! LOVE IT. -thanks!


  • this didn’t work for me. I’m bummed. I want to try it again though. I worked with a water bottle but couldn’t seem to get all the paper off. It left behind so much residue and I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it all. what did you use? your finger, nails?

  • What if I totally messed up the picture?.. Can I reuse the canvas? Can the image be removed?

  • You said “gel medium”…I’m guessing mod podge wouldn’t work?

  • Hi! I think this is such a great idea. When you say “laser copy” do you mean a print that is printed out on a piece of photo paper or on a piece of normal copy paper?

    Can’t wait to try this!

  • Love this idea….attempted it, but failed 🙁 Not sure that I used the correct type of photo. When you say laser, is this supposed to be like a photocopied image? I actually printed out a photo from the store on photo paper and only half of my image transferred? I let it dry overnight and sprayed the water as well…..?? Any suggestions? Thanks


  • Hi,

    What a great idea! Has it have to be a laser print copy for the photo image? Any special reasons? Will inkjet copies work?


  • I can not wait to try this! I have so many photos and canvases that I can use! Thanks 🙂

  • Hello! I have made a translation into spanish of this post on my own blog, and I did use your pictures, i made a link to your post and mention it.
    Here you can see it! Hope you like it!
    If you dont give me the permission i will erase it!

  • Great idea!The perfect thing to fill the space on the wall in my living room 🙂

  • is it printed out on paper with a laser printer, or some kind of actual photo print?

  • I am having a hard time getting all the paper removed…any tips?!

  • Please help! I’m trying to do this & it’s not working. I got my print from target…is that not considered “laser print” thanks so much!

  • I tired this with a print from target & it did not work…suggestions?

  • I tired to do this, but it didn’t work…I got my print for target…I take it thT is not
    Considered laser printed?

  • I need help! I tried to do this and it just didn’t work for me. I think it’s the kind of photo I used. If you could help me out I would really appreciate it!

  • Hey Elsie,

    Came across your amazing blog a few days ago (oddly enough a few hours after I made my own coffee syrups, just to notice you did a post on that too!).

    i’ve tried this last night / this morning, and did 3 in colour and one in black and white. They all seem to have a shade of green in them, and aren’t anywhere near as vibrant as yours! It’s kind of like I need to turn up the contrast – of my eyes! haha

    Maybe the ink I used had a green tinge, not sure.. but have you any tips on how you made your colour so vibrant? The only thing haven’t done yet is the final coat of gel medium, maybe this will bring out the contrast a little more? I’ll let you know!

    Thanks again for the amazing idea.. love it.
    Mic x

  • Can’t wait to try for many

    of the walls in my home! Why have someone else’s work in my home?!

  • I wonder if you could use Gesso instead of the gel…Awesome project 🙂

  • This is an interesting way of creating a canvas print, I work in a large Canvas Print company and we use large format printers, but this is a much more artistic and personal way of doing it.

  • Can you do it with color??? Can I paint the Canvas with acrylic brown, let it dry completely then add the photo with the steps you have posted?? I want to do this for fathers day!

  • So if it’s a laser copy does that mean I shouldn’t get it printed off somewhere? I have a printer but I am not sure the image will be great but should I print it off from my computer? I really want to do this! It’s such a cute idea!

  • I love this! Just wondering, is there any other types of gel to use? And what exactly is the gel?

  • Laser copy? does that mean on regular paper and also not necessarily from my home printer? I really want to do this for father’s day but want to make sure i get it right! Thanks!

  • I’ve tried this twice now and I always end up tearing the picture off when i rub the paper. Are there any tricks to this step that maybe I’m missing??

  • Has anyone tried an inkjet transfer? Why must the print be laser and not inkjet?

  • I’ve done this in college, but using emulsion paint. We did ours on fabric. I’ve never thought about doing it on canvas though, I’m going to have to try it 🙂

  • I have a question…I am trying to do this and I ordered prints from Walmart…the backing of the photo is slick and seems to just repel water (Which I suppose is a good thing…except for this project) Did you use a certain type of paper?


  • I tried this with color photos, and they turned out amazing. I’ve told everyone I know to try ’em, too. Can’t wait to make 100 more!

  • This does not work as easily as I thought it would. I love the idea, but the gel medium does not adhere that great, and as soon as you add water it becomes extremely slippery. I tried this with a color photo, but I don’t see how it would be different with black and white. What thickness of paper did you use? As soon as I added water the paper did not seem thick enough to separate from the photo. I also tried an 8×10, and it seemed like exposing the picture would take quite a while. Wish I could have an in person tutorial on this because your photo turned out beautifully!

  • Hei guys im from Germany ans i cant find this gel medium in shops :/
    For what do u use it normally ?
    Is it for letting the paint dry slower or faster or to make it transparent?
    Because if i knew i would One from another brand …
    Would be so cool if i got any answers from somebody who knows about that…and im sry for my English…its so bad :/
    Xoxo Leo from Germany

    Ps:i love this Blog and im looking everyday if theres sometjing New 😛

  • I would love to try this with a family portrait, but I have a quick question. Do you print the picture on photo paper or regular paper? Thanks!

  • This is really pretty! — Is the picture that you use printed on plain copy paper or is it regular photo paper?

  • Could you use Mod Podge as a medium? That is what I have on hand.

  • I love, love this idea! I tried it and it was super easy. One question though….Why does the picture when dry look so fuzzy? The original and copy were not fuzzy. Could you let me know how to fix? Thanks for you tremendous ideas!!!

  • is the “gel” some kind of glue or lacquer?
    I have never heard of that (maybe it’s because I live in Denmark?)
    Very nice picture

  • hi, I just discovered this amazing diy. I have a question though. I live in Denmark, and are uncertain about this gel. Is it a glue or is it some kind of lacquer?

    It would be nice to know what to tell the the lady in the store 🙂

    Again, very nice picture!

  • This is really cool. Did you use plain printing paper, or photo paper? thanks! 🙂

  • HELLO this is really awesome! Was it just plain printing paper, or photo paper? 🙂

  • You’ve got your point via a great deal far better than I at any time

  • THANK YOU!!! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this for a couple yrs and stumbled upon this post! So excited and can’t wait to try!

  • Is this done with regular computer paper or with photo paper? Thanks!!

  • I love this so much! I was just wondering, would it work the same with PVA glue? Thanks x

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  • jerry michalski – Very innitesretg work, you capture the moment. I am PaPa Rev and live in Millersburg Ohio in the heart of the largest Amish community in the world. It is hard to keep tabs on the band remotely. You do a wonderful job of bringing your subjects to life.Love to purchase the Starbuck Underride Artwork. Please let me know the details.

  • Angie – I am pretty parital to the Angie & Tanner picture but my vote is for baby Kylie! I cannot wait to have JenniferA Photography capture our baby pictures someday!! You do such fantastic work and are so wonderful to work with!!

  • Rita R Niederkorn – JOHNSON FAMILY!Love my Johnson’s! That is the most beautiful prituce of Aiden how you captured his blue eyes with the tint of blue in his blanket! Alexander! awesome! Great photos of the family with the boys both crying!You do a fabulous job,keep up the good work!

  • Wow, this looks incredible! I love it, what a great idea!

  • do you happen to know if mod podge would work instead of gel medium? beautiful blog btw 🙂

  • Does it have to be a laser copy? Can I just print it off my computer or does it not work with ink? Thanks. I”m going to make a collage of my wedding pictures so I’m doing at least 6 of these. Such a great idea! 🙂

  • can mod podge or anything else be used instead of liquidex ?

  • You can also paint over the transfer with watercolor or acrylics for a painterly look.

  • These are too interesting. Nice for your qualitative shearing . great job here.

  • i just ordered the gel – now i have to buy canvas and find a laser-printer 😀 it’s going to be a great gift – at least i hope so 🙂 Thank you for the great idea!!!

  • This is really neat. Can’t wait to try it! Gotta find the perfect picture!

  • I am so excited to try this. One question – did you use a special kind of paper or just regular white paper?

  • Sorry for the silly question but is this on regular paper or photo paper printed on a laser printer? Thanks in advance this is gorgeous!!!

  • does this absolutely have to be laser printer or does inkjet printer work as well?

  • This is great! Just wondering, when you say a “laser copy” for the picture, what do you mean by that? Is it printed on a home laser printer or is it a regular picture you’d order from Walgreens or something like that. I’d love to give this a try!

  • Is it necessary to do a laser copy, or can I use my home inkjet? Regular copy paper?

  • fantastic! does it matter what kind of paper the photo is printed? I have one I’d like to try that is printed on card stock instead of photo paper. What has worked best for you?

    Thanks for posting this amazing DIY!

  • I have tried this so many time’s and I still can’t get it to work right, I do not know what I’m doing wrong.. I use the gel medium and black and white picture’s and it just won’t work, I let it dry over night but I can’t get the paper to come off without the print coming off, if anyone can tell me what I’m doing wrong that would be so great. I love this project just can’t get it to work..

  • Hey Elsie 🙂 how do you get photo’s to ‘laser copy’? Absolutely love this idea and am so keen to try it!!! Julzz zx

  • I LOVE this! I’m thinking of trying to make a big one – 24 x 36, but so far I’ve only found places that print that size onto real photo paper. I’m assuming you did this on regular paper. Any chance you ever tried transferring from photo paper?

  • could mod podge be used? i’m going to do a photo collage for a friend’s graduation present, and i’m trying to do it as cheap as possible. basically, i’m not completely sure what a gel medium is (i’m new to this craft business!) 🙂

  • I’ve been doing these for the last year as gifts to my wedding photo clients. I always love the unexpected results!

  • I have tried this on 3 seperate canvases…. And I can’t seem to get it to work… :/ it seems simple enough- but I’m obviously doing something wrong! Help!

  • Hi,
    I tried this and failed miserably the first time. I’m still going to try again because I could definitely see how it would look great if I can get it right. How did you get the striped effect on your rubbing? Did you rub with something other than your finger?

  • I feel sorta strange asking this since I usually know these things… but why exactly should we use laser copy? And what exactly is it?

  • Hi! I tried this today and everything worked out okay except everything turned green. I used plain paper, should I use photo paper???

  • How do you print a laser copy of a picture? Is it a special printer or do you use special ink? Thanks for the tutorial, I would love to try this!

  • Hi, this blog is really instructive. I would like to know more about this. simply great post.

  • I would use a picture I took of my son’s family at a recent wedding.

  • hii i did it by my parents picture but didnt work good!in step 5 when i try to rub paper all my pic came up!!!

    but i love your wblog! kiss

  • Does the copy have to be printed on a laser printer or can it be ink jet? And does it work with normal 4×6 photo prints?


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  • Hi I love this idea. Could you get a glossy print from CVS for the image? or do you have to have a laser copy from home?

  • ilove your blog! this is an awesome project that i will for sure try! thanks for the idea!

  • Elsie I tried this out last night (it’s been on my “I want to-do” list for a ridiculously long time) and I had some trouble with the black ink bleeding into the white areas. Did you have any trouble with that? I’m wondering if I needed a thinker coat of Mod Podge on the bottom, is Mod Podge the wrong product, should I have left it a few more hours?

    Thanks Elsie!

    xo Devon

  • Ok, so Im not usually a big, do it yourselfer, lol. But I really want to do this for my friend as a wedding gift! So my question is, what do you mean by a laser copy picture? Is that like a picture I would get printed off at walmart?

  • Do you know where I can make a photo copy that will work with this project? I just made an 8×10 copy at Walgreens…followed all the steps onlky to realize that there is a smooth plastic-like layer before I get to the photo, so it won’t work.

  • Made this using a picture printed on normal printer paper on my regular printer (which I am pretty sure is an inkjet) and it turned out great!

  • Was the photo still wet when you applied it to the canvas? Will it still work if the image has dried?

  • Okay, I have a silly question.. it says “laser print.” Do you mean on normal paper or photo paper?

  • Can I get my pictures printed at Walmart, or walgreens or do I need them printed in some special way?! Thanks!

  • LOVE THIS just made a few for my Mom, Grandma, and Sister-in-law for mothers day! THANKS!

  • This is so wonderful! Considering canvas photos are usually very expensive! I am going to repost this on my blog if that’s okay with you, with a linked credit!!

  • Hi Elsie, Do you think this would work on a wood block instead of canvas?

  • Would it work with an inkjet printer (as opposed to a laser jet printer like it says)?

  • Hi! love this. When you say “laser copy” of the photo… do you mean printed on regular printer paper? Or could I use a photo that was printed at Walgreens or such?


  • Is that just “regular” computer paper? Or is it actual photo paper? I feel like it would be regular, right? cuz of the water element… I just want to make sure before I waste ink… I’m good at that. lol

  • What can I say other than add YOU ARE BRILLIANT! Thanks for sharing this I can use it fast!

  • What kind of paper did you print the photo on to? Plain paper or photo paper?

  • Does the picture need to be on photo paper rather than standard printer paper?

  • Hi! I came across this and would love to make this for a friend as a wedding present. I just want to make sure I understand what you mean by “laser copy.” Is this something I would get printed at a kinko’s? Is it photo paper or regular paper? Thanks so much!

  • Did you print the original photo yourself or have it printed somewhere?… should it be on photo paper (glossy… semi-matte.. matte…etc)or copy/printer paper

  • This is beautiful! Do you think Mod Podge would work as the gel medium?

  • I just used this as a birthday present for someone and it’s so much fun! I had a blast!! thanks for idea!!!

  • Definitely wanna do this!!


  • Would Mod Podge work? l love this it will make perfect Christmas presents ;D

  • Amazing idea! I never thought of trying this, thanks for the tutorial!

  • would mod podge work as the gel medium? this is awesome!! I just need to find a place to print my image on a 16×20 paper lol. Any suggestions since I shouldnt use an actual photo?

  • I love it. It’s gorgeous. Thank you so much for the tutorial, I searched on Google, and you came up! So happy I found your blog! xo

  • I love your ideas and I have done this a million times and they all turn out great. But last night I was getting a canvas wet and was going to start removing the paper when I noticed more paper was coming of than before. It is a black and white close picture of my son. His lips came off and other parts of the picture. Unfortunatly I will not be ale to use the canvas. D,o you have any suggestions to help me next time and can I reuse the canvas? If so how do I need to prep it for another adventure. Thank you

  • Hi, I tried this and had a couple of problems. I only have an inkjet printer so not sure if that was part of my problem. I printed my picture in gray scale, brushed on the gel medium then placed the picture as instructed. The picture bubbled in long lines. Tried as I may I could not work them out. I was hoping as it dried they would shrink up and go way, most did not. After it was dry the paper was all pink. As I sprayed the water on and was removing the paper the picture has a green hue all over and since the bubbles did not shrink up they are there with a pink hue. Any advice? I was so hoping to use this project for a wedding. Thank you!

  • does the pucture have to be a laser copy ? what if the pic is on kodak paper ?

  • does this work with only laser prints? or say if I try with a photo printed as a normal photo, have you tried that before?

  • Does the picture need to be printed on plain/regular paper or will glossy photo paper work too?

  • Thank you so much for this! Question!!! If you mess up (which, I did, Ugh!), what would you suggest doing if you wanted to reuse the same canvas? Try to rub everything off and start over? Or paint over it with white paint, and start over?

  • should you use a glossy of matte photo?this is amazing and I want to do it!

  • Can you please share…Was this just normal copy paper you used? Or was it a special kind?

  • Does it have to be a laser-printer copy or can a high-quality inkjet copy work?

    And do you use the regular, or heavy weight of the gel medium?

  • This looks like a wonderful art project.

    Two questions please:
    Can you use an actual photograph? It seems that your directions are saying a laser copy, but I can’t imagine that would leave the picture behind.
    And what thickness of gel medium do you use? Your link shows “heavy” as well as what seems to just be “gel medium.”

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  • Is there a particular type of canvas needed to do this project? I love this! It’s absolutely beautiful!

  • Excited to try this – one question though – does it have to be a laser copy or can I use and ink jet copy?

  • Ok, so I am trying to do this with photos I had made at Walgreens. The paper is thick and I am not sure this is going to work. You meant pictures made by my printer?? Help!


  • im 10 and i really want to try it and i asked my mom and she said ok im exited thankyou for giving the tip cool pic u used i love the imperfections it maes it look old and ccol thx for the tip !!!

  • Thanks so much for posting this. My aunt taught me this 30+ yrs ago but I didn’t know what her supplies were.

  • I’m bummed you can only do it (successfully) with a laser and not an inkjet 🙁 I think most people have inkjets? I could be mistaken but I think they are more common for home users, etc. But oh well…next printer I get will be laser. I’ll just have to try to do a transfer using the other methods I found…more complicated tho.


  • This may be a silly question, but is a laser copy one from a laser printer?? Or a xerox machine?

  • I love this! But can you use something other than Gel Medium???
    Thank you for the idea 😉 Xx

  • Does the image need to be printed on photo paper or just regular paper? And will any gel medium work? I live in Australia so I usually can’t get my hands on the same brands.
    Im so keen to give this a try!

  • so trying this! ty for introducing me to a new method because I have a few links bookmarked and they don’t do it this way. This way seems way simpler! (as I don’t mind little imperfections..)

    is there a particular paper that you used? (heavier weight, etc) or is any old printer paper ok.

    thanks 🙂

  • Hi,

    I have a question about the laser copy of the image. Is it done using a laser printer? Is it on photo paper? This looks like a great project.



  • Just a quick question do you add more medium gel over the print once you have placed it on the canvas???

  • I just stumbled on this now… the link for the liquitex that you used no longer works. do you mind sharing what type you used? thanks!

  • This site is amazing. in 5 minutes I have added 30 million things to my to-do list. YAY!!! But I have a photo in mind right now for this!

  • I tried this and it came out great until I added the final coat of the medium gel. When it dried it was so white that it detracted from the transfer. Is there another coating you could recommend sealing it with?


  • Hi, I attempted this but mine did not turn out very well. Did you print your picture right from your computer?

  • Is the secret the Liquidex or would something like Mod Podge work too?

  • I love this so much… I’ve been wanting to try it since you wrote this post, and am finally trying it now!

    Question though, is your laser copy on computer paper, special paper, or photo paper? As I’m looking at mine I’m worried it won’t work. 🙁

  • This is an awesome idea! I’m thinking of making this for my friend’s baby shower! She’ll love it!

  • Hello, thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. I loved it. I’m writing you from Brazil and I have a little doubt about this tutorial. You used ‘gel medium’, I don’t know what that is here in Brazil. Is it like varnish? Maybe if you told me exactly what it does, I could find a similar thing over here.
    Thank you!

  • Is it possible to take a water painted picture on paper and apply the same procedure to canvas..Thank you~Audrey

  • Did you let the gel medium dry before you put the photocopy on the canves or while it is still wet?

  • Might be a dumb question but when you said a laser copy of a picture do you mean a o=picture you copy onto a paper from your computer, or a professional pict?

  • Does the print have to be laser copy? Would it work if I just used an inkjet printer?

  • I am so excited to try this. But i do have a quick question for you. I want to transfer a black and white photo to canvas but I want the canvas to be black. Can I paint the canvas and then transfer the picture to it??

  • this is awesome! what is a laser copy? a normal photo or a printed out from a printer?

  • Love it and going to try it soon, I’ve been looking at the gel mediums and there’s afew different kinds,matte, acrylic, semi gloss, which do I use??

  • What works better, if your laser print is on photo paper, or regular paper? Such a great idea, I’m definitely going to try this!

  • I just created one of these, but the picture is very faint and seems to be disappearing even more. I left to gel to dry for six hours. How to I get the colors to stay and not fade?

  • can you use a photo from like walmart or does it need to be printed on paper?

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  • I love this idea!!! I can’t wait to try it! I have some what of a silly question; Is a laser copy just a picture printed from a regualr printer? Or do you have to go to like staples or office depot to have one made? thank you for your time.

  • the photo copy is on picture paper not a ‘photo copy” from a copy machine right?

  • I love photo canvases! This is also another way I’ve seen it done, and this one doesn’t reverse the photo.

  • I’m totally going to try this out! When you say laser copy of a photo, what exactly do you mean? Would an 8×10 printed out from riteAid work?

  • Thanks for the tutorial and inspiration!! I obsessed over the idea for a few weeks before I finally convinced a friend to try doing this with me. You can see my final result on my blog!

  • This is gorgeous, and simple! I’ve used transfer gel for other things, but i’ve never thought of using it for a full sized image! I’m so inspired!!!!! I’m a Denver Realtor and I might just use this idea to stage the houses I’m working on. Nice personal touch 😉

  • Hey there,

    I love your project and recently tried it. However, my transfer definitely did not look like yours. I was wondering what kind of paper was your photo printed out. I couldn’t get all the paper off of my canvas and the photo ended up being pretty smudged. Any suggestions would be helpful.


  • Did you use regular printer paper or the special glossy type photo paper? This is a great tutorial. Thank you for sharing!

  • I love it! i have just the wedding photo too! thanks for sharing this!


  • So is this possible with color pictures if the color saturation is increased?

  • do you just get the photo printed from cvs or do you print it on normal paper?

  • Hey there,

    I just tried your technique and it didn’t really come out. What kind of paper was your photo printed on? Your image seems so clear whereas mine is mottled and blurred. I used a simple black and white picture too.

    Any thoughts would be helpful! Thanks!

  • I’m so glad that I found this space, so have so many fun ideas! I’m so excited to try this out during the holidays hehe but I was wondering if the images needed to be a laser copy. Will the effect be the same if I were to use normal images on paper? Thanks for sharing and I’ll surely be following this space for more interesting DIYs 🙂

  • Hi! I was wondering what you meant by “laser copy”? (Sorry, I’m new to the world of crafting and all things Pinterest.)

  • Hi I love this idea!! I was wondering if this would work on watercolor paper as well…or would it only work on canvas?

  • This same process works on wood, as well, and looks beautiful when the texture of the grain shows through a little bit. I didn’t know it worked on canvas too! The way I print on canvas is a lot more difficult. Thanks for making life easier!!

  • Just wondering what exactly is a laser print? Is it different than a regular picture you would have printed at any store?

  • what do you mean by ‘gel’ and ‘laser copy’ (is it printed by computer printer?) i’m spanish-speaking, from Argentina, but love the blog and would love to try it !!

  • First this idea is AWESOME….but I do have perhaps a silly question…. When you are talking about a laser copy does that mean a photo copy or printed from my computer printer??? Thanks for your help !!!!!! Can’t wait to try !!!!!

  • Wondeful idea! I’m extremely intrigued and I want to try this myself.
    I googled the Liquitex stuff you used, and came up with a few more results than I was expecting. Any chance you could tell me WHICH one you used specifically?
    Thanks so much!

  • This is such an awesome idea, I love it. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to put this on my DIY To Do List.

  • this is so cool! I cant wait to try this! Did initially print the photo image on photo paper or printer paper?

  • What a great idea!!! Ok, I tried this last night and I must have got the wrong laser copy because it did not work. What did you use for a print? I used some family pictures that we had and it did not work. Please let me know any suggestions you have?

  • Did you just use a laser copy from your printer? Using regular copy paper? Or is there a special kind of paper I need to use?

  • Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve seen directions for the transfers before but they weren’t as “doable” as yours! I cant wait to try it!

  • thanks for the how-to – love it! I tried it with vacation photos and am making plans to make a few more. i’ve posted my results to my blog – of course, with credit to you.

  • omg I’m going to try it this weekend. My apartment is so male right now lol

  • I did this and after it was all dry it has a purplish white glow to it, is there something I can do to make it more clear and glossy?

  • Love it and tried it today! So how do you keep the black ink from running together and making the white spaces gray?

  • Does the picture need to be printed on photo paper? Sorry didn’t understand when you said laser copy. I just love the idea!

  • Does the photo need to be printed on photo paper? Sorry I didn’t understand when you said laser copy.

  • Does the print have to be printed on photo paper OR reg printer paper? I love love love the idea!
    Also, will Mod Podge work for the gel medium on gesso board?

  • Does this transfer also work with colored pictures? And can you transfer it onto scrapbook paper? Thank you for the greeat idea!

  • Is a laser copy the same as a photo print that you would order from walgreens or is it a special kind of printing. Can I use a developed photo that I have, like just a regular photograph?

  • I just did. It work not perfect but your are right u can’t rUb to hard. Next one will be better. Thanks for sharing this technique

  • I love this idea. I have a question though… would modge podge work just as well, or do you recommend using the gel medium?

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  • Hi

    I just want to find out do you have to print the image on photo paper or should it be normal paper?

  • Thank you so much for the tutorial. I have gone a bit crazy and made up about 6 canvases so far, the problem that I’m having is once the picture dries there is a white film over the top of the image, I wipe it down but it comes back when it’s dry. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong!!

  • Not surprisingly, I immediately went to Amazon to purchase the gel and find that they offer more than one version. Can you tell me exactly which one you used? I can’t wait to try this.

    Thanks, Debra

  • The picture looks really great! I have a question, does the picture have to be printed on a laser printer? And, what is the printing media, transfer paper or photo paper?” or something else? Thanks!

  • I tried this and had a terrible time getting all of the paper off, and also with smearing. Any advice?

  • Hi Elsie,

    Did you use photo paper for this transfer? I wasn’t sure what you meant by a lazer copy?


  • Awesome idea. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Can’t wait to try it out and make amazing gifts and especially some for myself. Thankyou

  • This is a good tips, instead of buying your own canvass, you can make your own which is more cheaper.

  • I am having trouble finding Liquidex. Can anyone tell me where I can buy it or another brand (other than online)? Thanks!


  • Did you ever get to a point where it was just shiny material and stopped being able to rub anymore off? I think I hit a plateau and can’t take off anymore layers :/ did this happen with anyone else?

  • Do use an actual photo or a printer ink copy? You mentined a laser copy, that’s why I ask. I am excited to try this.

  • I have a question… I went to Target and had 2 8x10s printed and went through step one and this morning when I went to remove the paper, the whole image ended up coming off. I do not understand!! AH! Help please

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  • Kind of a stupid question…. do you use a normal photo? or do you need a special print? im confused by the laser copy and photocopy wording and not quite sure. Really want to do this anyone able to help?

  • Does it matter what finish the photos are (matte, gloss, etc) i tried to use this technique to transfer a photo onto wood and didn’t have good luck. maybe canvas would be easier? i just don’t want to spend the money on canvas and have it not work out! thanks

  • Hello, I love this and am going to do it…wondering tho…do you use pictures that are printed on photo paper? or regular computer paper?? wondering because of the ‘rub’ off step…not sure if premium photo paper will rub off??


  • I trying this out! What type of paper should the original photo be on? I was going to use regular glossy photo paper but it looks like in your tutotial photo’s to be a thinner paper.

  • Need some help! My image transferred beautifully but when it dried it looks covered in fog. I spray it down with water again and it looks great again until it dries. I checked my steps over and over again and to my knowledge followed your directions. What am I missing?
    Thank You

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  • This may be a silly question…but where do you get the laser jet copy from??

  • i love doing this! i incorporate a lot of photos in my mixed media paintings. i’ve never tried just doing a photo by itself. must try!

  • Hi guys, great blog, I use a version of this chemical called dylon image maker(its for making t-shirts) you can paint/draw etc underneath..I’m sure you could try this with your stuff too.. a close up of where i used a black and white photocopy and the colour was from paint beneath..hope this helps you expand your experimentation..tip: can be lovely to reproduce “tinted” photogrpah effect on old black and white photos

  • i tried this, my photo didn’t work… where can i print photos to help me do this project?

  • I absolutely love this project! I was too excited about getting it started, that I didn’t pay attention to what TYPE of liquitex to buy. It turns out that the ‘glazing medium’ works really well too! Thanks for such a wonderful idea!

  • this is amazing…. but I have a question… you say to use a laser print… I only have a ink jet…. where can I get a laser print??


  • Help! What is the difference between the lasar photo and regular photo? Is this just a poster print? I would like to try this but just need to know what kind of photo because my printer cant do anything this large.

  • stumbled upon this and just wanted to say thank you so much for the inspiration! I transferred print outs of photos I took of my kids’ preschool and kindergarten art projects. Super cool to turn them into ‘high’ art with a personal touch. I did color, and I can’t believe my kids’ crayon and marker drawings now look like beautiful, bright museum paintings!

  • You can also use wintergreen oil to transfer images. It works extremely well, but smells very strong.

  • What kind of paper do you use photo, regular copy paper???????

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  • I can’t wait to try this but I was wondering what a laser copy picture is and where you get your canvas?

  • Where did you get your canvas and laser photo? I really want to try this.. It’s super cute!

  • love this idea! question – when you say Laser Copy of the photo, do you just mean a picture that’s printed from a laser printer? (sorry, i just want to make sure I have the right material so I don’t screw it up!)

  • This might sound like a stupid question but I’m new to the DIY world 🙂 did you just print your photo on a laser printer or take it somewhere to be printed?

  • This is awesome totally wanna try!!!
    But what kind of photo do you use? Is it just a regular picture or a printed one off the computer to paper?

  • I just tried it but I’m having trouble getting all the paper off. It makes a very hazy image. Any suggestions?

  • Absolutely love this! have just finished it my first try and apart from a few holes it’s turned out great 🙂

  • Did this project last night. Tips and lessons learned.
    1. Don’t forget your image is reversed LOL. I put a very nice saying on one of my photos to realize this morning that it is all backwards. Whoops… I’ll paint over.
    2. I used one of those orange nail emery blocks from the pedicure shop to gently remove the paper. I’m not very patient and needed a tool. It worked great to gently take off the paper.
    3. When I got all the paper off I took the canvas to the sink and ran it under gentle stream of cold water and got the last of the paper off and got it nice and clean for gel top coat.

    Thanks for the wonderful project!

  • Elsie, could you please tell me which gel medium you used exactly? i live in a country where we don’t really have access to these things, so i’ll definitely have to order it from amazon, but the list you linked is endless, and i guess they all serve different purposes.

  • This is such a cool idea!!!
    But I was wondering if you used like an actual picture from like walmart or costco or if you printed it onto paper from your own computer?

  • Love the idea! Question though…did you laser print the pictures on printer paper or photo paper.

  • Is there a special type of paper that the image should be on? For example, photo paper, regular paper or a special transfer paper?

  • I stumbled into this and was SO excited to see this! I have been looking for methods to do canvas prints of some of my digitized artwork and was hoping to donit at home rather have a printing company do it. You have just become my homecraft hero. 🙂

  • I have a photo copier but it’s not a laser photo copier. Does that make a difference? My husband said he thought the ink would run. Do you know if it has to be laser or can it be ink jet?

  • I’d love to try this! Just one question: when I print my photo on the laser printer, I’m assuming I use regular paper as opposed to photo paper… right?

  • This is really difficult and time consuming. Here’s a video on it and she even shows you the possible “oops” issues that you may encounter.

  • I made one for my boyfriend for valentine’s day and he loved it. Thanks so much for the inexpensive and heartfelt idea 🙂

  • just wondering if this was a pic you photocopied onto regular paper using a photocopier? could the image be transferred to canvas if it was a regular color photo on picture paper? thanks (;

  • I am sooo excited I came across this post! What a wonderful blog! I wonder, when you say you used a laser copy, does this mean a photo you photocopied onto paper? or an actual picture on picture paper? I suppose maybe you cannot transfer an image off of photo paper?? hhmmmm….thank you for any help ((:

  • try printing picture on tissue paper as well. Tape to card stock and run it through your printer. Apply picture onto canvas. I’ve made tons! Love it!

  • I’ve tried this method on wood… I couldn’t make all of the paper come off. I want to do this on canvas, but am afraid of the same result. Any suggestions?

  • hello this is a wounderful idea i know this is a few months old but can you use mod podge? i have mode podge gloss and was wondering if it will work the same way thanks for the tips

  • Would this still work if I had a canvas that was already painted and I painted it over with white paint?

  • Would this still work if I had a canvas that was already painted and I painted it over with white paint?

  • This seems really neat!
    I have a canvas but it has already been painted on. Will this still work if I just paint over my canvas with white paint then try it?

  • I have a canvas but it has already been painted on. Would it work if I painted it over white and then tried the photo process?

  • What do you mean by laser copy? A picture printed at home on photo paper? Love this! Can’t wait to try!

  • Hi, I agree with you. Really this blog is very informative.

    Pictures on canvas

  • I tried it and it didn’t work. I printed my picture at Wallgreens, is it not suppose to be on photo paper?

  • I tried it and it didn’t work 🙁 I printed my photo at wallgreens? Do i just print on a regular piece of paper or photo paper?

  • Ok 3 canvas peices later and mine still isn’t coming out right! The first 2 was cuz I had no patience to wait I was too excited lol…thought for sure the 3rd would come out…
    the 3rd one the coloring was perfect but some how like one whole face came off the image when I rubbed…what am I doing wrong!? Please help…and email me because I have no idea how to check back here lol

  • Probably a stupid question but do you use a regular photograph or a laser ink-jet type photo you print on printer paper?

  • Just wondering what you mean exactly when you say “Lazer copy”? Do you put it on photo paper and will just an ink jet home printer at home work?!

  • Can you do this with an actual photo on photo paper or does it have to be like a picture you print off on regular computer paper?

  • Thanks, Elsie! I loved this as soon as I saw it and then finally got around to making it for a Pinterest Challenge this week. 🙂 Thanks for the great tutorial and idea. I’m excited to make more for some gifts.

  • I did this last night with color! Works beautifully! Thank you for the information!!!!!

  • This looks relatively easy and so cute! Have you happened to try to overlay two pictures? i.e., a picture to put into the background, and then subjects? I assume it would be possible to lay the gel down, and your background picture, and such. And then instead of doing the gel to seal it, it’s a gel to put the second picture over…?

  • Does it matter what kind of photo paper is used? because i am trying it right now (step #5, where you wet the surface and rub the paper off) and it isn’t coming off! blurgh!

  • Question: what will happen if I print the pic on an inkjet printer and not laser copy?

    I only have inkjet printers, as do my friends.


  • Will it work with photos printed Forman inkjet printer? Is it just printed on regular printer paper? Thanks! This is gorgeous!


    HER “SPECIAL” DAY IS JUNE 23RD, 2012!!!


  • This works great with colored pictures. The only bad thing is the few imperfections are quite noticeable but are small. Just be gentle when rubbing and very generous with the water. Love

  • I love this awesome idea!! I need to have the picture enlarged first to desired size? I am sure thats a yes..but I still have to make sure.

  • what type of paper are you using for the print that is transferred? is it on photo paper, or on some other paper, like standard copy paper?

  • So I tried this and It dosent work for me, I would really really like to do this so can you help me understand what I am doing wrong?

  • I am confuse what you mean by lazer copy. Can you explain this to me? Thank you. I love this project!

  • I don’t know what I’m doing wrong…. mine keep turning out bad. What kind of paper are you using? I’m getting a bunch of wrinkles in them as well as the detail not being very great. Please tell me what I’m doing wrong. there was ONE that turned out wonderfully. But, it’s so hit and miss. I try doing this with wood, but the faces blend into the wood. ugh, this is so frustrating me so badly

  • Hi, this is great – thanks for the idea! I’m curious, will this also work on other surfaces, such as paper materials, or does it only work on canvas and fabric?) Thanks in advance for your help!

  • how do i get a laser copy of a photo? and is stretch canvas something i could find a walmart?

  • Great idea thanks for sharing!i love crafts and i’m always looking for new ways of being creative…you have inspired me!:)

  • many kinds of gel medium. Gloss, acriylic not sure what to order? thanks Jan

  • Hey there. i cant wait to try this. just one question. I live in New Zealand and cant come accross any gell. where would you recommend i look for it? and if it is a different name, then how would i explain it?! thanks so much! 🙂

  • I only have an Inkjet printer?? Where can I have photos printed with a laser printer?

  • do you know if it works with normal print (deskjet/inktjet)??

    xx from holland 🙂

  • can just print the pic in reverse from the puter. just do mirror image ….. used to do this with fabric transfers….

  • I am planning on trying this and I was wondering if Mod Podge will work for the transfering of the photo?

  • How do you get a laser print? Can you do that anywhere?
    Thanks nichole

  • I absolutely loved this idea and couldn’t wait to try it out… but I’m not sure where I went wrong because it didn’t turn out the way yours did. Can you specify what type of paper your photo was printed on and exactly what kind of gel medium you used? I was a bit overwhelmed by the options when looking at my local craft store.

    Thank you!!

  • Just thanks…Right now is what I need, nice things made by someone like you ;). It’s being a hard time and your blog make it easier.

    xoxo from Madrid(Spain)

  • This is so great! I tried this project this past weekend and when I applied the last top coat of gel medium it stayed a hazy white. Is this normal and will take a while to go away or did i do something wrong? It has been sitting for 24 hours and still has that white haze on it. I used the brand you recommended. I would love some insight on this please. Thanks.

  • I’ve been looking for an idea like this-I love canvas photos. But does it work with an inkjet printer or only a laser printer?

  • Wow I love this so much! Do you think doing this on a larger canvas with multiple pictures would work?


  • Lovely! One question! Could you use Modge Podge as the gel medium for this, or no?

  • Ive been wanting to try this! Thanks for the instuctions! and also Love you Name!! My baby Girl is named after my mother who is also Elsie!!You never hear the name too much!

  • I tried this and am having a problem with it- I have sprayed and rubbed the paper off my canvas at least 5 times, and every time it dries, you can see all the paper left on it, so the whole photo is extremely faded. Is there a fix for this?

  • Maybe a total blonde question, should the photo be on the transfer paper or just a photocopy?

    Thanks for the great tip!

  • This is wonderful. I think a series of these would be perfect for my wedding- a lovely alternative to the cliche slideshow. Thank you 🙂

  • What is the picture you used printed on? a professional print or just on normal paper that I would print on my home laser printer?

  • I am absolutely going to try this for my office, I love the look. Plus, I have the perfect photos in mind. I’ll let you know how they turn out!

  • I tried this but the pic isn’t quite working… did yo use matte or glossy? does it matter

  • Having trouble getting all the paper off and getting a clear image. Any suggestion whatI may be doing wrong.

  • hi there elsie! wondering if inkjet printed copies would be alright to use instead of a laser copy. thanks in advance!

  • Does it work with an ink jet copy?
    I love the project but don’t have a laser copier so I would be a laser copy at a copy store?

    Love the project! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Actually I guess I want t clarify – a laser print on photo paper or regular paper?

  • I dont understand what
    kind of gel? where do you get it? I want to try this!

  • I was wondering what kind of paper you need to print the photo on? Regular paper or actual picture paper??

  • Something I descovered… if you print onto a transparency sheet, you can get a great transfer without having to peel all the paper off! you can still make it have a distressed look by not pressing it down into the gel medium evenly, I actually wanted a pretty clean transfer so I used a brayer to smooth out and remove any bubbles.

  • I used to do that all the time back in college! I think I’ll start doing it again! REally loved it at the time! 🙂

  • I tried this but didn’t work. Do I use regular paper or photo paper???? I used photo n it wasn’t getting wet n when it did it was peeling off the pic??? Help????
    Please let me know.

  • what kind of paper is this picture printed on…plain cardstock? glossy cardstock? regular paper? etc…

  • This is great! What photo paper works best? Is this purely for regular paper?

  • When you print the photo does it matter what kind of paper you laser copy it on? Is regular paper ok or does it have to be photo paper?

  • Can I ask a dumb question?? How did you format your photo to be 8 x 10. I am having a heck of a time doing that!
    Lovely idea and tutorial 🙂

  • I have been wanting to put my photos of the California sunset on canvas forever. Thank you so much.

  • just tried with a color copy, turned out just as cool as the b&w. very cool and easy ! Thanks for sharing!

  • Can you tell me if Mod Podge is the same thing as the Liquitex? I have some of that on hand and would like to try it.

  • I want to try this project but I can’t find gel medium in the craft store or hardware (I live in the Philippines). Is there an alternative? Or is it called by another name?

  • Wow, this is fantastic. I’ll be going straight to Michaels after work!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  • I just did this on weekend and I couldn’t believe it worked! Was so so happy. Thank you for this creative idea. x

  • Its gorgeous! Seeing endless ideas with this! I am wondering though how you can get a laser copied image? Thanks for your help

  • So I tried this and I can’t get the last layer of the picture to come off…any suggestions?

  • So I tried this but I can’t get the last layer of the picture to come off…any suggestions?

  • When you say laser print do you just mean a black and white copier? Do yo use regular paper to print the picture on?


  • Love the pillow video.
    So cute and easy tho I might just have to watch the video again to be sure. lol
    Think I’ll make these pillows for my 2 granddaughters who both have birthdays soon. They’re getting harder to buy for, way out of our budgets, so I try to make them things.

  • Hey just wondering- is this copied on photo paper or just plain white paper? For the picture- before you put it on canvas !

  • This may be a stupid question, but if I’m going to try this, I want to be sure I’m using the correct materials – when you say laser copy of the photo, do you just mean an 8X10 photo or what do you mean by laser copy?

  • I just found this post- this is so neat! Definitely doing….how/where do you get a laser copy of a photo?


  • What kind of paper is used? I am just becoming crafty and not quite sure what should be used as it wasn’t listed in what we’d need.

  • Does the photo have to be a laser print, or can it be from a desk jet printer?

  • You are incredibly talented. Wow. Thank you so very much for sharing your talents 😀

  • This looks awesome… when you say a laser copy of the photo what do you mean exactly. Just because right now I basically get all my images printed at walgreens or something.

  • would you be able to use prints from an inkjet printer? whats the difference betwwen laser and injet(or walmart prints)

  • For the photo do you have it printed on regular photo paper or plain white paper

  • i m lost at what kind of paper to print pic on ..are u using printable fabric or photo paper

  • You really can’t do this with a colored photo for all who asked above. The tri color process used in printers and most copiers will leave you with only the top layer of color once you’ve peeled the paper off. I tried it yesterday without thinking about it. If you print your image at home especially, make sure your printer is set to black ink only. I will be posting the results of the one I redid later this week if anyone wants to see the results. – Leah

  • I took a friend’s engagement photo and made one as part of their wedding gift. It is beautiful. I struggled with the pace…I got the paper TOO wet to start with and then the ink came up, but when I went MUCH slower…the effect was rustic rather than blotchy. It took me a couple hours to remove the paper completely. Do you have a recommendation for making that step less time-consuming? I was probably doing something wrong.

  • I combined this with your Lyric Wall Art idea! This blog has been such an inspiration to me. Thank you 🙂

  • do you just use a regular photo that you print like at wal greens from your camera

  • Does it have to be a laser print? Does Staples or Walmart use laser printers for their pictures?

  • This is very adorable..I attempted it without any luck:( is there a certain type of paper you print the photo onto? I used my color injet printer on photo paper…It dryed overnight and when I peeled it off, nothing stuck to the canvas:( Any extra tips would be greatly apperciated!!!

  • I love this idea!!! I know what I’m going to give my sister as a wedding present…

  • Awesome idea! Just one question…does it matter what kind of paper I use? Like can it just be regular printer paper or does it need to be photo paper?

  • Just to confirm, this has to be from a laser printer and not a ink jet? Thanks and your site is awesome

  • What kind of paper was the photo printed on? I printed my B&W on regular copy paper – in retrospect, I should have selected “grayscale” when printing because even thought it was black and white the image has tones of red and green.

    The paper seemed to come off correctly but because of the odd color distortion I was wondering if maybe I had done something else wrong.

  • I just tried this project & had a big fail, the entire image just peeled off – does it matter what type of paper the laser image is printed on? I used photo paper, and the image was in color. The canvas was also laminated to a board – is this my problem? Any tips would be super appreciated as I’m living overseas in Kenya & don’t have access to any craft stores.

  • Okay, so I’ve tried this twice now and it came out bad both times. The first time it was like I was looking at the photo through a cloud, so I figured I didn’t take enough of the paper off. So the second time, I rubbed more and too much came off. But it doesn’t even look crisp in the parts where it didn’t come off. So I came back and read the instructions. I see you say it needs to be a laser copy. I think my in-laws have an ink jet. Do you think that could be the difference? Thanks! Can’t wait to make one the comes out right!

  • I love this idea, where did you get a lazor print. I have called around town and no one uses lazor printers. Thanks for the great ideas! Can’t wait to try this!

  • I just tried doing this. It was printed onto a normal piece of paper, and it was looking good, but after it dried, it looked foggy. Like there was still paper on it. However, if I try to rub more, it just takes off the picture. Did it still look foggy even though a little visible when you were done? I don’t know if I go ahead and put on the coat of gel medium if it’ll show up after that and not be foggy anymore.

  • What is a laser print and what kind of paper did you print onto?? I want to do this so bad.. Thank you

  • Good evening Elsie,

    I discovered your blog two days ago and now i’m mad about it…
    to read it often will make me improve my english, i’m french and i don’t have often the opportunity to speak or write english.
    I’m very keen on sewing, cooking and i found a lot of good ideas there yet


  • I just finished my second attempt. The first didn’t turn out so well so I thought I’d share what I found. 1. Regular white paper from a laser printer. 2. When you spray it with water, give the first intial spray a good coat and let it soak in. 3. Rub the remaining paper off with your middle or ring finger (you don’t use as much pressure). 4. I also dipped my finger in water when it was getting dry and there wasn’t much paper remaining. Hope these things help! It works great, going to try it on wood next :).

  • I can’t wait to try this! My daughter is getting married in June and I would like to take a few of their pictures and fix them for her!

  • Can you use a picture on regular computer paper or does it need to be printed off on photo paper?

  • I tried to do this and my photo didn’t come off like you explained. A laser copy is printed from your computer or a professional lab? Also, when you lay down your copy you put the photo down on the Liquidex, right? Do you put more liquidex over the back of the photo?

  • I went to try this, but I think I ran into a few bumps. Is your laser image printed on paper or regular photo paper from the store? I had issues rubbing off the paper and was not sure what you suggested.

  • Love this! So, by laser print…you mean a photographic print from your laser printer on regular thin paper, or an actual photographic print on photo paper? Help!!:)/Johanna

  • Thank you for great idea. making this for Valentines day:)

  • Beautiful! Perfect picture, well done, great result, cool page!
    Greetings Viola

  • what type of paper did you print the photo on? and can you just print it at home on your printer, or do you have to take it to a copy store?

  • This really is a cool idea. Just wondering, can you use any picture? Like a regular photo? Thanks!

  • Sorry to sound ignorant, but what do you mean by laser copy of the image? Do you take the original photo somewhere that has a laser copier?

  • It’s really super cute!! Just a question: can you explain what exactly is gel medium, please? Is it kind of glue? I dont know if we have it in italy, maybe we do, but i dont know… Thank you soooo much, and wish you a great 2012! I hope to start the new year making this fantastic canvas portrait!!
    hugs&kisses from rome, italy

  • cool idea! i will definitely try this! is the gel medium you used the same as a transfer medium?

  • This will sound silly for all you creative people, but for this newby, can someone please explain what you mean by (laser copy)?

  • I discovered this post via pinterest a few days ago and decided to try it. My canvas is drying now, so we’ll how it turns out….thanks for sharing!

  • This is wonderful! I have one small question though! Does mode podge work for this? Also, Can i transfer images from regular printer paper to the canvas? Thank you so much! This stuff is beautiful!

  • Where did you get a laser print? Is this something I can just get done at any photo kiosk?

  • Hello! I love your creations and I would love to do this. I am from Mexico and here do not sell “Gel Liquidex” could be replaced by other glue? Answer me please my question, I really love to do this painting ♥

  • Hi Just found you today though the article in Create for Less. And have spent the last hour going through the site, love it, love it!! I have attempted something similar to this, but want to ask, what type of paper are you using? Is it matted or glossy photo paper?

  • this is the best! question though: when you say Laser Copy of the photo what does that mean? Do I have to make a copy on a laser printer? If so does the type of paper I use matter?

  • Looks great!
    Did anyone already try if it also works with ink-jet prints and a water-based medium?
    i don’t have a laserprinter..?


  • I followed your tutorial and gave this to my parents as a christmas present:

    It’s a photograph of them in Sweden

    I love to get inspired by you!

  • Quick question. Did you use photo paper? I’m assuming you did but I guess I was just a little unclear on that part

  • If you don’t want the picture to be reversed, just print the laser copy in reverse. Select T-Shirt Transfer or some other reversed print option in your printer settings, or if you have a photoshop like application just flip or mirror the image so that it’s reversed on your screen and print.

    BUT – WHAT IS THIS GEL you speak of? If I go into a hobby store and say I want medium gel are they going to look at me crazy?


    Here’s a link to some cheap canvas! I’ve done this project also, and you can put a final coat of Mod Podge on top to get the desired finish (glossy, matte, etc…).

    Awesome share!

  • Its amazing! But I must say I’m trying it right now and the rubbing it off stage is harder than I thought. Any tips?

  • I did a search on Liquidex – what is the difference between this and Mod Podge? Could you use that instead? Love this Idea – Gonna give it a try!

  • I love this idea, but I have a question! I drew a picture for my boyfriend and I was thinking about transferring the drawing (Which is just a piece of computer paper drawn with a pencil and colored with color pencils) Would this transfer well since it’s not inked?

    Thank you!

  • I was wondering, as a European reader, would PVA glue be the same as the gel medium you suggested?

  • guess i’m not that persnickety since EVERYONE asked the same question, ha! we just happen to have both a color and b&w laser printer where i work so yay me! i’m going to get cracking.

  • I tried this, and I couldn’t get it to work. can you be more specific on what kind of paper/printer to use? I tried it with photo paper and printer paper and neither worked.

  • definitely doing this one, so excited. do contrasty images work best? and is it photo paper? i’m kind of persnickety, must know all details ^_^ these shall be x-masy presents!

  • I tried this and couldn’t get it to work for some reason 🙁 I followed the directions and can’t figure out where I went wrong? Now I just have pictures glued backwards to a canvas.

  • How did you make it so the print didn’t come off? I tried it and some of my print came off, also does it looker nicer when it dries?

  • the photo’s, are they paper? or that glossy photo paper stuff, want to make this for my sister, i love it 😀 x

  • extremely difficult and a waste of time..

    ruined and just ended up modpodging the picture on the block of wood. easy as that.

  • Is this printed on just regular computer paper?? I tried a version of this where you printed it onto tissue paper and mod podge it on the canvas, but the tissue is so delicate I had a lot of wrinkles and a few smudges.

  • So cute!!! I am going to try this! Thanks for sharing:) You are always such an inspiration:)

  • I tried this and the contrast in the image is gone… the black is very gray. The image looked nice when wet but not when it is dry. Elsie’s example image has a lot of contrast in it.

    Does applying the gel medium on top darken the black in the image?


  • So I know this is probably a stupid question, but what is a laser copy? And what kind of paper do you use? I am making some of these for Christams gifts!

  • Do you use like regular computer paper… I just did it and realized i used photo paper… don’t think thats gonna work! DANGIT.

  • What kind of paper did you use?! I have a laser printer, but should I print on regular paper or photo paper?!

  • Just put two pictures on canvas for my mom and boyfriend’s mom! I’ll let you know how it went!

  • Is there a particular type of photo paper to use? Love the idea but when I tried it the paper wouldn’t stay saturated enough to peel it away.

  • this is amazing and i’d love to try it! is there an alternative to the glue you use? i’m from the uk and shipping for the glue alone to here is around £10!
    thanks x

  • hey i did this and after it dried it had a foggy sheen over the photo that i could not get to go away. Did you run into this problem and do you have suggestions?

  • Really want to try this.. Will it work with printed photos from Walgreens, Target etc.? Or will the chemical process not work with it? Thanks!

  • When you say laser copy of the image, do you mean just a copy on regular paper with a laser printer or on photo paper?

  • I am going now to purchase the supplies… I can’t wait to try it…Thank you so much…Your photo is beautiful…

  • Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for sharing such easy to understand directions. 🙂

  • Does the picture need to be printed on computer paper or can you use an actual picture?

  • Elsie, I am so excited to try this!! These will make excellent gifts for my daughters’ best friends and the grandparents. You are an amazing, creative talent. Thank you for sharing!

  • So is it printed on photo paper still? It has to laser not one that I order off shutterfly or anything?? I want to try but the photo ihave is one I ordered off shutterfly and afraid of eating a piece of canvas.

  • I just finished making my own… It turned out absolutely awesome! Tearing all the paper off was super tough – I’m not positive I got it all off though 😉 Haha. Thanks so much for the instructions!!!

  • Awesome idea! What are the chances of me failing at this? Haha I would love to do this as a gift for my parents but I’m worried I’ll spend the money and completely screw it up.

  • So the image you use is not a printed photo, but instead a photo copy of a photo made on a laser printer/copier?

  • Thanks for the adorable idea!

    Because I couldn’t find the Liquitex product, I used this one: . The rest I did exactly the same, but when I had to rub the paper off, I either pushed too hard, so I accidentally took off the trasnfer in some spots, or I pushed too gentle, so that very thin layers of paper remained on the canvas, making the transfer completely visible when wet, but extremly blurry, almost imposible to distinguish the image, as soon as it dried out.

    When I wet it again, the image was again very clear and visible, so I tried to rub off the extra layers of paper on some spots, but as I insisted, the transfer started comming off again.

    What do you think was the problem? Help? 🙂
    Thanks in advance!

  • LOVE this!!

    Quick question… Does it have to be on a canvas? Can it be on foam board or card borad? Any other surfaces?

  • I did this! Thanks for posting. It was fun and I did it with my students. I used Matter paper — can you also use GLOSSY? Also we came to the conclusion that if you use a thicker coat of gel medium it comes of easier the next day. It is time consuming and messy – but very cool and vintage looking!

    Thanks for the post.

  • This idea is really cool..I just tried it though & for some reason there is a tint of green. Did this happen to you?

  • I have a question – when you say ‘laser copy’, are you referring to a computer-printed image?