Reverse canvases are a fun, easy way to make great framed signs for your home using your vinyl cutting machine.
One of the benefits of a reverse canvas is there’s no worrying about stenciling or painting or bleed lines. You simply use HTV (heat transfer vinyl) to create your design.
Since there are lots of different kinds of HTV, you can even use fun ones like pattern printed, glitter or holographic vinyl to create your design.
Today we are going to show you the complete process with a step-by-step reverse canvas tutorial.
This is a guest tutorial from Sarah, my sister and one of my fab brand reps, featuring one of my latest designs “Vintage Soda Fountain” SVG.
The basic idea here is that you take an artist’s canvas, remove the canvas from the frame, stain the frame, re-attach the canvas, and then apply HTV for your design.
Reverse Canvas Tutorial
A couple of notes about this project:
- Cheap canvases work great for this! No need to go fancy.
- Before you begin, flip the canvas over and measure the INSIDE of your frame and cut your HTV design according to those measurements – that will be your visible “sign” area inside the frame.
- Don’t forget to mirror your HTV!
- Sarah has a heat press but prefers to use a small craft iron for this process.
- A framed artist’s canvas
- Stain or paint for your frame (in this demo: Minwax “Jacobean”)
- Heat Transfer Vinyl (in this demo: red and black Siser Easyweed)
- A design of your choice (in this demo: my vintage “Soda Fountain” SVG file)
- An iron that will fit inside the canvas frame (in this demo: the Steamfast Mini Iron)
- Optional (but helpful) – a teflon sheet
Step 1 – Remove the Staples
Pull out the staples from the back side to separate the canvas from the frame.
If there are staples on the front of the frame, remove those as well.
I use a Flat Head screwdriver and pliers.
Step 2 – Trim Your Canvas
Trim your canvas to the size of your frame on the back. I use approximately 1/4 inch margin around the back.
So if the outside of your frame measures 8×10, your canvas would measure 7.5 x 9.5.
Set the canvas aside.
Step 3 – Stain Frame
Paint or stain your frame.
Sarah used Jacobean MinWax stain for this one. You can also paint it with any kind of paint, or wipe on paint with a wet cloth for a stained effect.
Set aside to dry for the appropriate time based on materials used.
Step 4 – Prepare Your Design
In your design software, adjust your design to fit the space you measured before you started.
Cut your HTV (and don’t forget to mirror!).
Weed it and set it aside for now.
Step 5 – Re-attach the Canvas
Once your frame is dry, you will staple the canvas to the back of the frame.
You can either use the white side or the natural side for the front, depending on what look you are going for.
Step 6 – Apply HTV
Flip your frame over and apply HTV using your iron.
Lift and press – do not move the iron like you would if you were ironing clothing. I find it does not need more than 4-5 seconds to adhere well!
Layer as needed, in this example, I first applied the black and then the red.
Don’t forget to use a teflon sheet or HTV backing to protect your first layer from the iron when you apply the second.
Step 7 – Get Ready To Be Envied
And there you have it! A super simple, quick, and GORGEOUS reverse canvas framed sign.
Be ready when people come over and see it… because you just know they are gonna be totally jealous 😎
It’s a good thing my designs all come with a commercial use license so you’ll be able to make some to sell them, too!
Did you like this guest reverse canvas tutorial from Sarah? Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or thoughts AND don’t forget to pin it for later 👇👇👇
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