I have a quick, easy and inexpensive gift idea that I want to share with you. It is a craft that I call Mini Masterpieces and the reason I call it that is because they are small, created on canvas and are little works of art.
Here’s what you need to make them:
- Canvases stretched on a frame (I used the 3 inch by 3 inch ones at Joann’s Crafts).
- Easels for the canvases (beside the canvases at Joann’s Crafts).
- Mod Podge or Acrylic Medium from a craft store. I have only used Mod Podge but I am pretty sure that the Acrylic Medium would work as well. I like that Mod Podge is easy to use and is a non-toxic glue and sealant all-in-one. Be sure to check your Sunday newspaper for Joann’s, Michael’s, or AC Moore coupons since you can usually get 40% off with a coupon. Also, the competitors I listed above take each others coupons, so be sure to clip them even if they are from a different craft store. Also, there are different types of Mod Podge but only vary slightly from one another. I used Mod Podge for paper since I used it for a previous project which needed to be archival but you can also use the regular Mod Podge.
- Small foam brushes. I use these to apply the Mod Podge to the fronts and backs of the images that I want to use for the canvases.
- Good Quality Photo Paper to print your image on. You cannot use inkjet paper because the image will bleed through. You can either print off your image on your home printer or have your image printed elsewhere.
- Polyurethane Spray (optional) in case you do not want to wait the time for the Mod Podge to cure, you can spray your canvases with Polyurethane once you complete them and it will get rid of the tackiness on the surface. If you don’t mind waiting, you can just let the canvases cure naturally and the canvases will eventually lose the tackiness.
This craft is so easy and fast to make. Seriously, it took me longer to take pictures and post them on this blog than it did to complete two of these. to Here’s the quick steps to make this project:
Above are the supplies you will need. I also included the UPC on the back of the canvas so you can see the size and manufacturer. I think any size canvas would work (or tile, see bottom of post for more about using tiles).
Here’s a close-up picture of the easels.
- First, you want to print your images that you want to use on your canvases. The great thing is that you can be as creative as you like. Add a frame, text or elements with Photoshop, the possibilities are really endless.
- Once your images have dried after printing, you will want to cut them to fit your canvases. Since my canvases were 3×3, I made my images the same same size in Photoshop (make sure to use 300 DPI) and then trimmed them with my paper-cutter. Now, you can make your images go to the end of the canvas or trim them a bit shorter. I like to trim mine a little shorter so that I can get the edge of the images glued down well with Mod Podge. Also, the canvases are not always perfectly square so you may have to eyeball your images and see if further cuts need to be made.
- The next step is adhering your image to the canvas with Mod Podge. Mod Podge is a glue and sealant all-in-one. Use your small foam brush to evenly paint the Mod Podge on the back of your image and then carefully stick your image to the canvas. you will have a few seconds to move it around if you need to, but please be quick since it dries pretty fast. Also, be sure to get the edges really well so you will have a good seal with the canvas and be careful with the front of your image, since you can sometimes pull some of the image off with the Mod Podge if it gets sticky and then you pull on the image.
- Okay, almost done, next you will want to do at least 3 layers of Mod Podge on top of your image. You will see your brush strokes once the Mod Podge dries, so I like to first paint a layer of Mod Podge on vertically, then after that dries (approx. 20 minutes) I do another layer horizontally and after that layer dries, I do one more layer vertically. That way the canvas has a linen-look once it dries completely and the brush strokes aren’t so noticeable. Don’t be alarmed if the Mod Podge looks cloudy when applying it, it will dry clear.
- Next, I painted my easels with black spray-paint, please look past the bad paint job on the easels, I was hoping to finish before the girls arrived home from school at noon and I was pretty messy about it. You could also leave your easels their natural color. Finally I sprayed the top of the canvases with Polyurethane since I needed to get these finished for a gift.
Voilà, Mini Masterpieces! These are the perfect size for a desk since they do not take up much space.
Remember when I said it took me longer to take the pictures than to complete the project? Here is a pic of the crazy way I had to set my camera up for a few of the pics I did not end up using. The tripod was beneficial so I could use a super low shutter speed to keep my ISO down since my dining room is like a dark cave.
If you would prefer to make a photo tile instead of a canvas, you can follow the exact same tutorial but just purchase plain white tiles at any Home Improvement store for less than a dollar a piece. Here is an example of a photo tile I made for a friend who also loves John Mayer. I made it into an 8×10 tile and it turned out really well.