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Make Your Own HUGE Canvas-Like Portrait

Updated on November 14, 2012
This photo is 2 ft.  x 2 ft. and is mounted on heavy duty styrofoam.
This photo is 2 ft. x 2 ft. and is mounted on heavy duty styrofoam.
This is the first of 3 photos going in our long open hallway.
This is the first of 3 photos going in our long open hallway.

Supplies for this craft:

  1. Piece of styrofoam
  2. Photo printed to desired size
  3. White or black brush on paint
  4. Foam brush
  5. Painters tape
  6. Soft rags & towels
  7. Mod podge

Our home has several large walls that desperately need to be filled, but its expensive to purchase framed art or to frame your own art/photography. This project was born after combining other tips and tricks I had seen online and in magazines. Other crafts suggest using "engineer's prints" or the "cheap" prints from large office stores--but why put the money into the other materials and waste the effort to have a "cheap" quality print--that's what the whole focus is on right? I suggest that you save the money on the other supplies and actually spend a little more to get a great quality print that will be showcased in your home or office.

Step 1: Choose & Prepare Your Photo

I took this picture of our daughter using my Canon digital SLR. I opened the photo in Photoshop to make it grayscale and cropped it to 2 ft x 2 ft. You have to have a high quality image with a resolution of at least 300 DPI to make this large of a print. I saved the photo to a thumb drive and took it to Office Max. They charge $4.99 per square foot of print, so at $4.99 x 4 ft plus tax was roughly $23 for a beautiful, high quality print on glossy photo paper.

Step 2: Paint Your Board

My husband found this piece of board at Home Depot that was already 2 ft. x 2 ft. which is exactly what I wanted for my project. It is a good, firm board that won't crumble or crease easily. You can also buy a large sheet of insulation board and cut it down. I chose to paint the edges of my board white because we already had white paint on hand. **DO NOT USE SPRAY PAINT** It will melt the styrofoam, so it is critical that you brush on paint. I painted the outside edge, and then painted a small border in case any of the board showed behind my picture. Two coats of paint seemed to give the best coverage.

Step 3: Mount Your Photo

After the paint has dried, position your photo on your board. I lined up the top edge exactly how I wanted it, and then used blue painter's tape to hold that edge. Using the tape like the spine of a book, lay the photo back so you can coat the board with Mod Podge. I poured it straight on and smoothed it out with a foam brush. You might want an extra set of hands for the next part. Starting at the top where you taped your image, start to lay the photo down on the glue. Use a soft rag to smooth from side to side so you don't streak your photo. Make sure you work all of the bubbles out to the edge. After your photo is down on the board, flip it photo-side down on a soft towel and place something heavy like books on the board. Allow it to dry overnight.

Step 4: Mod Podge Your Photo

My husband really didn't want me to do this step because he loved the look of the photo as it was, but I was afraid of scratches and fingerprints on the image. I used a foam brush to very, very lightly cover the entire image in Mod Podge. Cover the image and really coat the edges & corners to ensure a good seal. The Mod Podge will dry clear. You will be able to see brush strokes, but only if you're really up on it. Allow it to dry overnight.

Step 5: Add Mounting Hardware & Hang!

I secured a piece of twine by pushing in two thumb tacks on either side of the picture. I put a piece of clear packing tape across the tail of the twine and the head of the tack to make sure it stayed in place. You could also use the saw-tooth type hangers by pushing them into the board. Just make sure you have your hardware evenly spaced. Find a good home for your project and enjoy your high quality photo at a fraction of the cost of a traditional canvas print.

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