Make Your Own Canvas Print for Less than $4 and Less than 30 Minutes!

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All of the inspiration from this post comes from Trendy Thrifting. She did a fantastic post about her DIY canvas. This is just an alternative method borne of her method. There are tons of methods for a DIY canvas print that you can find on Pinterest.

This is what I used for my canvas print size of 18″x24″.

What I Used:
Loctite Spray Adhesive ($4.38 at Lowes). Trendy Thrifting says this is THE adhesive to use as other adhesives may dissolve your foam. For that reason, I went straight for it. This can will cover a LOT of canvases, and I was very liberal with application. You can NOT find this at most local craft stores. They kinda scratched their head and looked at me when I looked. As far as I can tell, you can find this at home improvement stores such as Menards, Lowes, or The Home Depot. It was located near the paint section. There are multiple times of this adhesive; I purchased the General Performance bottle.

20″x30″ White Foam Board ($1.73 from a craft store). Partnered with a 40% off coupon that Jo-Ann’s, Hobby Lobby, and Michaels almost always have available (try the RetailMeNot smartphone app to easily access the coupons).

18″x24″ Staples Engineering Canvas Print ($1.99 at Staples). You can order this in-store with help of an associate, or if you’d rather get it all done at home, you can order it on their online platform. You can choose to pick it up in-store or have it delivered to your home. In-store pick-up is free, so I’d recommend that. Unless you want to pay a rush fee, it seems like they will take at least 24 hours to make your print. Mine was done 5 hours earlier than expected (they e-mailed me!), so I went in and picked it up early too. Engineering prints were NOT designed for photos, so there will be warnings about how your photo wasn’t designed for it, but it still usually prints just fine.

Items You Already Own (Free!). Depending on what you’re doing with it, I also found it helpful to have Scotch tape (any tape type would work), an Xacto knife, scissors, and a ruler handy.

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Things about Engineering Prints You Should Know:

  • Standard (and cheap) engineering prints only print in black and white. You do not need to make your photo black and white. Their system will do it on its own.
  • Your photo will not be crisp and very high-quality. It will look good, but it isn’t going to be as crisp as an actual photo print would be. Remember, these are printing on printers that weren’t designed for serious photo quality.
  • They may look like canvas, but engineering prints are honestly just really-light paper. For that reason, as soon as you get it home, get it unrolled and flattened to avoid the paper fighting with you later when you start your DIY canvas. This also means you need to be careful with your paper as you can easily crease it or tear it.
  • If possible, try to view your photo in black and white before submitting for an engineering print. You want to make sure that you enjoy the appearance of the black and white version.
  • Choose a photo with a higher resolution. The higher, the better. Printing off Facebook or off a cell phone picture is going to make the photo look even lower quality. Shoot for at least 2000×2000 pixels for the smallest size engineering print (18″x24″). You can always choose lower-quality ones, but be prepared for your engineering print to match that quality. (To be fair, though, $1.99 is not a high price to pay to experiment and find out if you can tolerate the quality. Some of my favorite photos were taken on my lower-quality cell phone.)
  • I’ve heard that some Staples may refuse to print photos as an engineering print. If you think about it, this makes sense. They can offer these prints so cheap because these prints are designed to only use a slight bit of black ink when printing enlarged floor plans and design plans. Printing a photo uses WAY more ink. If this is the case, please respect your Staples’ stance and order elsewhere. However, if it seems that the employee is just trying to tell you that it may turn out a bit pixelated, say that you’d like it printed anyway. This is the difference between the employee trying to help you get high-quality prints or them telling you that their policy doesn’t allow printing photos on engineering prints. If they won’t print it, I’d recommend Photojojo who will print and ship you the largest size that Staples offers for $25. You can also try other office supply stores such as Office Max.

Alternatively, you could order a 24″x36″ print and use the same foam board size, and make sure that the edge of your photo doesn’t have anything important on it. That way, you can just do a “large wrap” around the sides to utilize the entire white foam board and, honestly, make this entire process easier. You’ll be skipping every step about trimming the foam board which makes this way easier.

You can do this DIY canvas in a larger size. Staples prints Engineering prints in 18″x24″, 24″x36″, and 36″x48″. Most craft stores sell foam board in 20″x30″ and 32″x40″. To go with the largest size available at Staples, I recommend checking out Trendy Thrifting‘s original post as she uses home foam insulation from a home improvement store instead of craft foam board (but I think it ends up costing a bit more that way as you can’t use a coupon from most home improvement stores).

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How To Make (Takes 30 minutes at most)

  1. Get all of your supplies. Depending on if you need to trim your foam, you’ll have more or less supplies.
  2. If possible, have straightened your engineering print before-hand. Staples will roll them up and rubber band them after printing them. I left mine out flat overnight underneath my foam board with a couple medium-weight objects on it. In the morning, the engineering print wasn’t trying to “roll up” anymore. It stayed flat which made everything so much easier.
  3. Decide how large you’d like your DIY canvas to be. I used the size of my engineering print and kinda eye-balled it. If you want to be professional, you should get out a ruler and measure out the size of your engineering print. Remember that you need some excess “edge” of the engineering print to wrap around your canvas, so if you have a 18″x24″ print, you may want to trim your foam board to 17″x23″.
  4. Use the Xacto knife to gently trace a line where you’ll be cutting the foam board. You can press hard, and it will actually cut it, but I find it easier and more accurate to press lightly, fold on the crease, then lightly cut the other side as well. Then the piece just comes off really easily.
  5. Decide on placement of your engineering print. You’ll want the print face-up with the foam board underneath it. Check the edges. You’ll need to be able to “wrap” the print around the sides to tape on the back, so ensure that you have enough print left on the edges. If not, retrim the board.
  6. Lift up the bottom part of your print and use your spray adhesive liberally. Ensure the print is where you want it, and gently press down. The adhesive doesn’t “adhere” right away, so you have some wiggle room to lift up and reapply if it turns out it’s slightly crooked. No matter how much of the ‘adhesive” I sprayed it one spot (I even had a tiny puddle in one area), it didn’t seem to wrinkle or soften the paper, so you can apply pretty liberally. Smooth from the inner area towards the outer edges to ensure the print is smooth.
  7. Lift up the upper half of your print and repeat the process.
  8. Finalize that you like where everything is, and let it dry for a bit. I let mine dry for an hour, but I doubt it needed it.
  9. Flip the DIY canvas print face-down, and fold in the edges. Go one side at a time. Make sure you have a nice, smooth crease at the edge of your canvas, and pull it slightly taut. Tape down one spot at a time until you’ve finished an entire edge. Pretend you’re wrapping a holiday gift, and that’s about the type of folding you’ll be doing. I preferred the tape as I find the adhesive to be a bit unwieldy in small areas, but you could use the adhesive if you have a lot of excess print that needs to be folded. I only had an inch at best.
  10. That’s it! Now you put it on the wall!

Simple Endtable Makeover with Chalk Paint

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I spend too much time on Pinterest. How do we know? Well, I found awesome examples of people using chalk paint to repaint their furniture. Up until now, I had planned on selling current furniture and purchasing furniture in the colors I want, but now chalk paint had opened up a brand new door for customizing my home!

After moving, we had a set of end tables that were destined for the garbage. I wish I could say I bought these looking this horrible, but nope – they just ended up looking that bad after the move. Guess we weren’t too careful with them as we weren’t planning on keeping them.

After cleaning this guy up, he became my first victim to try out my Annie Sloan Chalk paint. I gotta admit; I’m a little impressed by the paint. It doesn’t take much to cover areas, it goes on pretty nicely, and it isn’t hard to fuss with. The white is just the plain Pure White while the pink is a hand-mixed mixture between Pure White and Emperor’s Silk until I thought it was the right texture.

The stencil on the base was my first attempt at stenciling. I think it turned out surprisingly well!

Now the pair will be sitting next to the bed on both sides (after they finish curing!) I’m pretty excited to open up new projects with my chalk paint to get my home looking exactly how I want it.

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Reusing Your Starbucks Cup as a Flower Vase

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To be honest, I didn’t think a photo of my flowers in a Starbucks cup would end up so wildly popular, but after the photo exploded on Instagram, I thought I’d share my awesome little idea with you guys as well!

My local Starbucks sell these little plastic cups for 99 cents designed for hot coffee. I think they actually take 10 cents off your every purchase of hot coffee if you bring in this reusable cup to put it in, too. I honestly just loved the cup, and when I saw it on sale at my Target Starbucks, I couldn’t resist buying it. For the last year, though, I’ve done nothing with it since I really dislike hot coffee. (Iced FTW!)

When downsizing last week, I decided I either had to do something with it or donate or get rid of it somehow. I had some flowers leftover from my modern square bird wreath project, so I put the fake flowers into the cup and threw it into the bathroom cabinet. To ensure it stays weighted down and doesn’t wobble (these cups are light and your flowers are top-heavy!), you could put any type of weight it in. I didn’t have any items, so I filled up a Ziploc baggie with water, sealed it tightly, then stuck it in the bottom as a temporary solution. It actually looks pretty lovely on the cabinet, if I do say so myself!

If you ACTUALLY wanted to put real flowers in your “vase” instead of fake ones, make sure to get one of these reusable plastic cups instead of using the cardboard cups that come with your actual drinks. I imagine the cardboard from a real cup wasn’t rated to hold liquid for days at a time, but a plastic cup should have no issue with that.

I’m glad the cup finally has a home. If you used a used Starbucks cup that you got a drink in or something, you could make this a super-cheap project. For me, though, it was literally free since all the items were laying around. Even if I had purchased them, it cost $4 between the cup and the flowers. Cheap, fun decor!

Pinteresting: Trying Out DIY Watercolor Mugs

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I’m in the market for a set of all new dinnerware, and I don’t know about you, but matching dinnerware just makes me so happy. I’m kinda ready to move past the “college student” part of my life where all of my dinnerware is mixed and matched from whatever I have. I haven’t quite decided on a color scheme or general design yet, but a general search around Pinterest has led me to a lot of awesome ideas.

Today I tried out the idea of a DIY Watercolor Mug from Poppytalk. You’ll need some nail polish, a dish you potentially wouldn’t mind throwing away (I used a disposable pie tin), and a plain white mug. Surprisingly, most of the dollar stores in town did not have plain white mugs or glasses. Plain plates and bowls, yes, but not mugs. I was on a hunt, but I finally found some at Target (which were a bit more expensive than I would have liked). I recommend keep hunting until you find some. You might even find some good ones at the local thrift store!

Grabbed a couple of my favorite colors. People in the comments said that high-quality polishes work better, so I grabbed some Revlon Color Stay. OPI and Nicole were recommended brands for doing this project.

Pie tin was about the right size. I think I’ll end up doing it with a single color next time – and swirling around the colors longer so there is more variation between the shades.

I did one color first, let it dry entirely, then dumped the water and did the other color. Turns out that the two colors actually ended up blending together to make a third color. It wasn’t intentional, but I honestly do love the way it turned out, so I’m glad I did. It looks a lot more like abstract art this way.

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It has a VERY strong nail polish scent to it. It’s the middle of winter, so ventilation is a bit harder than usual since I can’t crack a door. I’d very much recommend doing this in a ventilated area. Two days later, the mug still has a scent of nail polish. I think I’ll need to cover it with some sort of coating to get rid of the nail polish scent. It’s honestly not too appetizing for drinking out of with the current scent – even though it’s adorable.

I’ll keep you updated if I try it again!