custom canvas tutorial

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Today’s Gifts for Guys guest, Lara from less cake {more frosting}, is someone I loved instantly. Like, the very first time I went to her blog. 


I mean, we do have shared passions for Diet Coke and frosting (I could eat frosting by the spoonful, straight from the jar, and she could too… meant to be friends, right?). While we’re on the topic of Diet Coke, check out the fabulous Diet Coke Zipper Clutch she made (and her Diet Coke fridge! So jealous!). She also sews, decorates with the best of them (don’t you adore her aqua frame?), makes me want to be more organized, calls her creative endeavors “Not Crafts“, makes (and shares!) great printables, and is just generally fantastic. She is also genuine, encouraging, and hilarious, and I am thankful to call her a friend.

And she’s here today sharing a Gifts for Guys tutorial! Yay!

Hi. My name is Lara. (or I also answer to Ellie G. Which is just my initials….LG.) I blog at Less Cake {more frosting}.

Oh my gosh. I love being here! Who doesn’t audibly gasp at every, single, Kojo post? I mean seriously. And who DOESN’T struggle mightily with getting gifts for the guy in your life? My hubby isn’t really into the whole “handmade” thing. So this is a tough challenge.

Hubs is so super supportive of this blogging life. He praises my projects, and tells people that I blog. But he wants big boy toys…like a new flat screen. Boo. I can’t create that. No matter how hard I try. He also is not easily surprised. Which stinks. Last year I had to borrow a check from my brother, cash the check, pay in cash, hide the receipt….and I’m still pretty sure he detected an iPad under the tree. He’s like a metal detector. But ‘cept for gifts.

For this gift I tried to make sure it was something he’d like. And you can customize it to any guy. (any girl too….but we’re not talking about that today) You’ll need: a canvas, some paint, some iron-on photo transfer paper, and some images.

  • Start by finding out a few things that they LOVE. Music, movies, superheros….whatever. Locate some pics of those. (I scanned most of these out of books and calendars) Make sure you’re always respectful of copywrited material. These were pictures that we purchased, and will never be re-sold.
  • Take your images into some type of photo-editing program. They need to be black and white, and also it’s best to make the contrast quite high. They turn out better that way.
  • Print your images onto iron-on photo transfer paper. (make sure it’s the kind for WHITE tee-shirts and material) Follow the instructions on the paper for printing. And make sure you print in the REVERSE!

Then go ahead and paint your canvas. It usually takes a couple coats. I like to work on my images in between coats. Make sure they’re completely dry before you move on. (and yes, you may take a few moments to crush on that mustard color. It’s FAB!)

Following the instructions on your particular brand of iron-on paper, cut out your image and place it down on your dry canvas. You’ll iron on top of it. Usually at a high setting, with no steam. Also, it’s helpful to have a hard surface to iron on. I usually try to put a book up in between the stretchers and iron on that.

After it’s cooled carefully peel back the paper.

  • Some might not stick, which is okay. But make sure most is stuck.
  • I like a super worn look, so I usually take my fingernail and scrape off bits of the paper here and there.

When you’re all done, you end up with artwork that is clean, contemporary, and tailored to your guy’s best likes! What could be better?

These hang in my hubby’s office. And he says people comment on them all the time. It makes me feel good to know I gave him something I MADE that he actually loves!

Thanks again for having me for “Gifts for Guys” week. Here’s to wishing ALL of you good luck with finding gifts for the guy in your life!

Told you she’s supergreat, right? Be sure to go say hi at less cake {more frosting}!
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