Modern Family Photo: Third Time’s a Charm

We’ve been thinking on ways to slowly replace the mass-produced art in our home with more personal items lately.  In my opinion, one of the easiest ways to do that and to bring history into a home is with family photos.

I’d been trying to decide how we could update and modernize the traditional family photo when I came across two great ideas on Pinterest.  Both were ways (I thought) that I could print a photo at home and turn it into a photo canvas using supplies I had on hand.

The first project, which I mentioned wanting to try here, involved printing a photo on tissue paper and using Mod Podge to adhere it to the canvas.

(via Sarah’s Projects

I started with an old canvas I’d doodled on and prepped it by priming over my cheesy Eiffel Tower sketch.

Start Canvas

Painting Canvas

Then, I taped a piece of white tissue paper tightly around a piece of printer paper and fed it through my printer.

Printer Paper Covering

Tissue Paper to Print

Unfortunately, our printer was a bit to enthusiastic about grabbing sheets of paper for this method.  I tried printing on this tissue paper several times in all different directions before deciding this wasn’t going to work for me.

Tissue Paper Fail

The second idea I found was to print the photo on regular printer paper and use acetone to transfer it onto the canvas.

(via Muse of the Morning

I selected this engagement photo for our canvas art because it’s a bit more interesting than just two people smiling at the camera.  I was breaking the rules a little bit by using nail polish remover instead of straight acetone (though acetone was the number one ingredient in my remover) and by opting to transfer the photo to canvas rather than paper, but I thought it just might work.

Acetone Photo Transfer

I followed the instructions carefully and even repeated the process several times, pressing harder each time, when the first pass with the acetone didn’t transfer the image.

Wiping with Cotton Ball

Saturated Photo

After probably three coats and a thorough soaking, the image had barely even made a mark on the canvas.

Acetone Transfer Fail

Frustrated and ready to get that photo on the wall, I decided to just print the thing on photo paper and frame it up.

Printed Photo

You’ll probably recognize that frame from this project a couple weeks ago.  One happy accident that resulted when I stuck the photo in this frame was that it we lost a lot of the upper portion of the photo.  I wasn’t sure I’d like the effect, but I think the long landscape crop works perfectly with this picture.  It brings all the focus right to that kiss!

Framed Photo

This frame has already replaced a cheapie print in our dining room, but you’ll have to wait a few more days for the zoomed-out photo of this wall.  More updates will be happening in this room soon!

Framed Photo on Wall

In other news, I’m still looking for a way to create photo canvases at home without ruining my printer. 🙂 Anybody have successes with either of the methods I tried above? Do you have any photo canvas tricks of your own?  We’d love to hear!

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9 Responses to Modern Family Photo: Third Time’s a Charm

  1. You could try this DIY using canvas instead of a wooden backer. I think it’d work!

  2. Katie @ The Hot and Sassy housewife says:

    I have never used it but there is a mothod using citri-solve (it’s a cleaning product I think) that I have seen used on The Graphics Fairy. It seems really easy.

    This website has a tutorial :

    Of course if you transfer an Image with words make sure you use a reverse image or the writing will be backwards! Hope this helps!

    • Meredith says:

      That method sounds like it will work, Katie – thanks! Now to find a copier that will transfer images like Lyric mentions in the tutorial… 🙂

      Also, good thinking on reversing the image before printing. I wished I would have done that with our photo on Try #2. Lesson learned!

  3. I saw an idea just this morning where they fed the tissue paper through the printer but instead of having the tape on the back of the page it was on the edges where the printer would initially grab. It’s pictured on her blog, too. Maybe having the tape on the edge will prevent the printer from tearing it up?
    I saw it at:

  4. Morgan says:

    I don’t have any ideas for your problem, but can I just say how cute that picture is of you and your hubby? =) Love the shot.

  5. I agree. That’s a cute engagement pic. Sorry this project didn’t work for you. In theory it looks pretty cool. I’m going to check out some of the links your readers suggested.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I tried the tissue paper method with poor results also. Glad I’m not the only one that couldn’t do it. I was slightly frustrated.
    Then I saw this idea:
    I love the way it turned out. Good Luck!

  7. Sarahbee says:

    Did you print the photo on laser printer or copier that uses toner? It works best if the print is very very fresh. I’ve used acetone with a rag. But I have never tried transferring onto canvas, only soft japanese papers.

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