DIY Kid’s Canvas Art for Less Than $25

JUN 21, 2016 updated Jun 2, 2021

Looking for a creative, inexpensive way to showcase your little artist’s masterpieces or planning gifts for grandparents and friends?  Try using Spoonflower’s Linen Cotton Canvas Ultra, Lightweight Cotton Twill or Recycled Canvas to make canvas wall art for less than half of what it costs elsewhere online! And if you’re looking for a fun kid’s art table like the one featured in this post, check out Step2’s art desks, which are designed and made in Streetsboro, Ohio.

Kid's canvas art on a gallery wall

PART 1: How to Upload Kid’s Artwork for a Linen Cotton Canvas Wall Art
Skip to PART 2: Wrapping your Linen Cotton Canvas Wall Art

If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly Photoshop project, then this is perfect for you! First thing to do is scan your artwork at a very high resolution (300 dpi and above) and save to your computer.

Since I want my canvas art to be a 16” x 20”, and one fat quarter of Spoonflower’s Linen Cotton Canvas Ultra is 18” x 27”, even if I allow for a typical .75” wrap allowance on all four sides, I’m in great shape.

First, I edited the image to remove the paper edges on the sides. All that takes is a quick crop.

Before:

After:

To even out the white levels, I select the drop-down menu Image > Adjustments > Levels. This opens Photoshop’s Levels dialog box and the histogram graph.  The right side of the histogram  represents the lightest pixels in the image, and we want to ensure those are clearing up the paper shadows. With my cursor on the white point slider (the text box with 194 below), I adjusted it to brighten the whites, and then I use the other two black and grey sliders to adjust the overall brightness.

Then select Image > Image Size to save this image in the final canvas size that I want. Since I’d like the art to wrap around the edge of the canvas (so you can see part of the image from the side), I want to set my shortest side size to 17.5”. If you don’t want the art to wrap, set the shortest side to 16”. A drawing on an 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper comes really close to the ratio for a 16” x 20” canvas.

Save that file as a JPG to your computer, and now you’re ready for the final step.

Open a new Photoshop file and set the custom size in inches to 27” width and 18” height, the same size as a fat quarter of Linen Cotton Canvas Ultra.

Once you have your new Photoshop canvas, click the paint bucket to fill the layer with a white background. Then go to the top menu File > Place Embedded and choose the art file JPG you just created. Click enter to place the file, and voila! Your art file is centered perfectly.

Save your file as a jpg, and you’re ready to upload to Spoonflower, making sure to select a fat quarter of Linen Cotton Canvas Ultra for the correct output size.

Now you just have to try to wait patiently until you have your order!

PART 2: Wrapping your Linen Cotton Canvas Wall Art

Joe, one of our customer service team members, is also a woodworker in his spare time. He gave us some insights on how to turn your kid’s art into a wall canvas for less than $25 using only two tools!

Supplies:

  • 1 fat quarter of Linen Cotton Canvas Ultra printed with your child’s art ($14.60 including shipping)
  • 4 wood stretcher bars, 2 at 16” and 2 at 20”. We got these lightweight bars in store where there is no minimum, but some coworkers have used these as well. (approx. $6 before tax)
  • Staple gun
  • Scissors

Step 1: No need to pre-wash the fabric for this project. Iron the linen canvas art side down so that the art does not transfer to your iron.

Step 2: Join your stretcher bars together at the corners with your hands and use some muscle to push them together. You can also use a mallet to hammer them lightly. It’s ok if there are slight gaps, the tension of the canvas will pull things together.

Step 3. Lay your fabric face down and place your stretcher rectangle on top. NOTE: the lip side of the stretcher should be facing down TOWARD the fabric. Make sure the art is centered. Fold the fabric over the shortest bars and make a small line on the fabric where the inside of the stretchers ends. Use scissors to cut the excess off so that fabric does not extend past the stretcher. (We eyeballed it.)

Step 4: Start stretching at the longest fabric point (on one of the two shortest bars). Hold the fabric taut over in the middle and put a single staple in the center, leaving enough fabric at the edge so the staple won’t rip through. Now go to the opposite side and do the same thing: pull the fabric tight with your hand and put one staple in the center. Finish this on the two longer bars with one staple in the center of each side, making sure you maintain a good stretch.

Staple one edge of fabric to the stretcher bars in the center

Step 5: Some say to do the corners next, but if you’re new, I say that doesn’t work as well because you may not allot for the proper tension. Instead, I recommend you go back to your shortest bars, and hold the fabric so it’s nice and taut and just put staples along the length of it, stopping when you’re at least an inch or two from each corner so you can still see the joint.

Staple one edge of fabric to the stretcher bars along the rest of the sides

Step 6: All that’s left is the corners. I like to fold my corners so they will be somewhat visible coming from the side, so you can see it’s a nice hand stretched canvas. Fold one side under and then pull the excess fabric across tautly. Lay the fabric flat, and staple. Repeat for all four sides.

  Folding the linen at the corner

That’s it! You can now hang your canvas on a nail or thumbtack (it’s really that lightweight), or you can add a metal hanger or hoops and wires if you’re so inclined. These make great gifts and are a fun way to decorate your little artist’s room.

Joe holding the final wrapped canvas art

Step2 Deluxe Art Master Desk with Kid's Canvas Wall Art

Total cost of project: $21. Total time for canvas wrap: 30 minutes.

In case you want more visual aid, you can also see how a canvas wrap is done with our photo-to-canvas art video tutorial. Hope you have fun decking the halls with artwork—the possibilities are endless!

Cheers,
Suz

Recommended Posts

Upholstered chair with butterflies

Upholstery 101: How to Repurpose Old Furniture

1 comments

Toddler sitting on a pink playmat in playroom

How to Make a Round Velvet Playmat

Our Top Sewing Pattern Picks for Handmade Apparel

9 comments

6 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *