Turning Instagram into Insta…art

(That one got away from me)

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I made a fun little gift for my friend Rebecca, and here it is:

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Rebecca posts a lot of (read: not enough) wonderful photos of her beautiful little angel on Instagram, so I snagged one (actually, from Facebook) and printed it out to turn into canvas art. It’s super easy!

What you’ll need:
A square canvas (I used 8×8″, gallery wrapped)
Mod Podge (I used the gloss finish variety)
Foam brush
Some acrylic paint for the edges
Your favorite square photo

A note on printing your photo: I use plain ol’ printer paper. Using a photo printer is optional. My home printer claims to be a photo printer, and I’ve done a few of these using photos printed from it and they look great. This particular photo was not printed on a photo printer, and it still looked great.

Trim your photo down to size. I used an 8×8″ gallery wrapped canvas, so I printed the photo as an 8×8 and trimmed the edges.  In the past, I have left a little bit of overhang thinking it would be easier to position and whatnot. Nope, that doesn’t work – the edges don’t wrap all that well and you end up with unwanted texture when you paint the sides of the canvas.

Apply a base coat of Mod Podge to the canvas. This will help the photo adhere more smoothly. In fact, I had to redo my first attempt because I forgot to do this step and ended up with a very wrinkly baby face. You can actually still see bits of the paper stuck to the canvas in the photo below.

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Very carefully position the photo on the canvas. If you have a bone folder, you can use that to smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles. You could use your hands too, but I find the bone folder a little nicer to use when my hands are sticky from Podge.

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Apply thin layers of Mod Podge to the print. I start with a horizontal application. Then I run my foam brush vertically, only adding more Mod Podge if really needed. And then I do another pass horizontally. This is important, because while your brush strokes won’t necessarily show up when dry, it does create texture.

You’ll probably want to do a couple of coats of Podge, depending on which finish of Mod Podge you’re using. I used the gloss finish in this project, so I only did two coats. I’ve done three or four coats on previous projects because I used a matte finish, which goes on more thinly. Regardless of how many coats you apply, let it dry between each coat. Also, don’t fret too much about minor wrinkles and bubbles as it’s drying. They will almost always flatten out. And if they don’t, well, you can scrape the paper off the canvas and try again.

Once it’s dry, it’s time to paint the edges of the canvas. Absolutely do this, it makes a big difference in the finished product. It looks less like a photo glued to a canvas and more like ART! You can keep it simple and just use black acrylic paint. Or, if you fancy yourself an artist and perhaps keep a few tubes of paint on hand, try mixing colors to get a close match to a specific color in the photo. I like to keep my edges dark, but not necessarily black, so I try to match the darkest color I can find in the photo. In this case, it’s sort of a deep pinkish brown from the shadows, so that’s what I mixed up.  A flat edge brush is going to be your best option here so you can have finer control around the edges of the photo.

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(Yikes, my craft table is a mess!)

Once everything is dry, pick a spot on the wall to hang your new masterpiece! Here’s a grouping of photos I took in Iowa a couple of summers ago:

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You could certainly use smaller or larger prints, or even make a collage of multiple prints, using a variety of canvas sizes. So many possibilities!