Create beautiful DIY wall art for your home with the easy reverse canvas technique!
Our laundry room renovation is in full swing, and we have been hard at work on major DIYs and smaller projects alike!
Without fail, the hardest part of any space for me tends to be wall decor. I always seem to struggle to find pieces that I really love. So more often than not, I end up creating my own!
I decided to make a set of two pieces of DIY wall art for the laundry room, and I used a couple techniques that I hadn’t used before. Spoiler alert: They worked like a charm! Yay!
If you’re looking for an easy, inexpensive way to create pretty art for your walls, the reverse canvas technique is for you! Here’s how to do it:
Using the Reverse Canvas Technique to Create Easy, Inexpensive DIY Wall Art
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
The idea for these art pieces all started with this two pack of canvases. I had picked them up at Michael’s when they were on MAJOR sale. But I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with them, so they just sat and sat and sat.
But when I needed something to fill the walls in the laundry room, I realized that these two beauties would be the perfect size. They also gave me the opportunity to try the reverse canvas technique that I’ve been wanting to use for a while now.
Step 1- Gather all supplies.
Here are the items I used to make my reverse canvas:
- Canvas (I used two to create a matching set.)
- Craft knife
- Stain of choice (I used Minwax Dark Walnut.)
- Staple gun with staples (A hot glue gun and/or flat head thumb tacks could also work.)
- Saw tooth picture hangers or Command Strips
To create the design on my canvas, I also used these supplies:
- Cricut Explore Air 2
- Cutting mat
- Heat transfer vinyl (I used black.)
- Cricut Easy Press
- Easy Press mat
- Tape measure
What is the reverse canvas technique?
Did you know that underneath the white canvas wrap, there is a pretty little frame holding it up?!
Obviously I knew that there was some type of wood under there, but until a few months ago, I didn’t know that it was pretty enough that it could be used as a wall frame!
All I had to do was separate the canvas from the frame. Then I could put the canvas part behind the frame (rather than on top of it) and hang it on the wall. Hence– “reverse canvas”!
Step 2- Remove canvas from its frame.
To remove the canvas from its wooden frame, I grabbed my craft knife.
I then used the knife to slice around the edges of the canvas…
…so that the front piece came free.
This left some scrap pieces that were still stapled to the back of the wooden frame. I simply pulled off the scrap pieces and threw them away. Some people like to remove the staples from the back of the frame, but they’re going to stay hidden back there, so I just left them in!
Step 3- Trim down the canvas to size.
Next, I needed to cut around the edges of my canvas so that it wouldn’t stick out from behind the frame. I could see the indentations were from being wrapped around the wood, so I cut along those lines as my guide.
I was left with a rectangular piece of canvas that would fit perfectly behind the frame that I had just revealed.
And speaking of the frame… it looks like this! Who knew something so cute was hiding behind all of that white canvas?!
Step 4- Stain the frame(s).
The frame could certainly be used as-is, but I decided to stain mine first. I used Minwax Dark Walnut stain, which I happened to have on hand already!
I simply used a rag to wipe the stain onto the frame, making sure to apply it evenly so that I didn’t have spots that were darker than others. When staining, I only did one coat to get my desired shade, but feel free to do multiple coats if you are going for a darker look.
Once my stain was applied, I then let my frame dry overnight, just to be sure it wouldn’t bleed onto my canvas at all.
Step 5- Attach the canvas to the back of the frame.
Well, kind of. 😉
This is where I had a decision to make. I could put my design on my canvas and then attach it to the frame. Or I could attach the canvas to the frame and then add my design. There are pros and cons to both options.
If I added my design to the canvas before attaching it to the frame, I didn’t have to worry about the frame hindering my workspace at all. But that would also make it harder to get the spacing of my design exactly right.
If I attached the canvas to the frame first, I could be more precise with my spacing. But then I would have to worry about the frame getting in the way as I tried to add my design.
Either way could work well, depending on your plans for your canvas design.
Since I knew that I was going to have a good amount of buffer space between the edge of my design and the edge of the frame, I opted to attach the canvas to the frame first. This allowed me to get the spacing exactly right.
To attach the canvas to the frame, I pulled the canvas taut and used a staple gun to adhere it.
When I was stapling, I started with the four corners, being sure to pull the canvas really tight across the frame. After the corners were attached, I went back and added more staples along the sides to make sure everything was completely secure.
Creating the Design for Your DIY Wall Art with a Cricut Machine and Heat Transfer Vinyl
There are a bunch of different ways to create your design for your canvas. I decided to use my Cricut Explore Air 2 to cut a design out of heat transfer vinyl that I could then iron on to my canvas.
Step 1- Design your elements.
I designed my pieces in the Cricut Design Space software. If you are a Cricut user, you can find my design here.
Step 2- Mirror your design and cut.
Once I created my design, it was time to cut! Since I used the iron-on material for my design (aka heat transfer vinyl or HTV), I made sure to select the “Mirror” option when I was preparing to cut.
Using the “Mirror” option causes the Cricut machine to cut the design backwards so that when you flip it over to place it on the canvas, it will read correctly.
…and then used the double arrow button to load the mat into the machine, with the knob set to “Iron-On.”
The machine cut the vinyl, and I unloaded the mat when it was finished.
Step 3- Weed the design.
From there, I was ready to “weed,” my creation, which just means peeling away any heat transfer vinyl that is not part of my design.
Once my designs were weeded, this is what I was left with:
Step 4- Iron the design onto the canvas.
Then it was time to iron on my design. I placed my Easy Press Mat underneath my canvas to protect the floor.
I moved my Cricut Easy Press over my canvas surface for a few seconds to preheat it.
(If you’re not familiar with the Easy Press, it is similar to an iron, but WAY better. I used to dread iron-on projects when I was trying to do them with my regular iron. But the Easy Press makes iron-on projects so quick and simple, and now I do them all the time!)
After I had preheated my surface, I placed my design on the canvas, measuring around the edges to make sure it was centered exactly where I wanted it.
I then held my Easy Press on each section of my design for 30 seconds, using the timer feature on the press to count it out for me. Just to be sure that my design had adhered, I went back and did an additional 15 seconds of press time on each part of the design.
Once I was finished pressing, I was able to peel off the plastic sheeting…
…and my design was adhered to my canvas! It was so easy! This is definitely my new favorite way to make canvas art.
I repeated the iron-on process to add the “squiggles,” and my design was complete!
Step 5- Hang your reverse canvas DIY wall art and enjoy!
And with that, my reverse canvas DIY wall art was complete! For these photos, I cheated and hung them up in my bedroom since our laundry room is still under construction. But I can’t wait until it’s time to hang them in their rightful place in the laundry room!
If you’re thinking of creating your own reverse canvas masterpiece, be sure to pin the photo below so you can find this post later!
For some other ways to create DIY art, don’t miss these posts:
Thank you so much for following along! Have a wonderful day!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.