Painted Canvas: Mod Podge Photo Transfer

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Painted Canvas Tutorial

Since so many of us our facing cold and snowy weather, I thought I might share one of my favorite projects from the past that are perfect for a day at home…

Our place, as a family – is Long Beach Island in NJ.  There is just something about being there that does our souls good.  Years ago, we went to a special spot on the northern end and had some pictures taken.  Last year, we went back and I attempted to recreate some of the same photos now that the girls were older.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Painted Canvas Tutorial

   But one picture was a new shot and one that melted me.  What is about a picture of the back of my kids walking?  And then add their Dad and I am sold.

Sandy took its toll on my parent’s beach condo so we just don’t know if we will make there this year, but if not – we still have this sweet reminder.

So I decided to create a painted canvas of the image with Mod Podge Photo Transfer medium.

Step 1:

Gather your materials.  You will need Mod Podge photo transfer medium, a blank canvas, a foam brush, your picture printed out from a regular printer (on regular paper, not printer paper), regular Mod Podge in a matte finish, scissors, parchment or wax paper, a small bowl of water, a sponge, craft paint and paint brushes.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Painted Canvas Tutorial

Step 2:

Lay out a piece of parchment paper to have an easy surface to work on.  Using your foam brush, cover the picture with an even and thick coating of the photo transfer medium.  You should just be able to barely see the image through the medium.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Painted Canvas Tutorial

Step 3:

Place the image face down on the canvas and smooth out any bumps.

Now, leave it alone for a full 24 hours.  Really, no peeking or checking!

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Painted Canvas Tutorial

Step 4:

Now that you have waited 24 hours, begin removing the paper with water and a sponge.  Wet it down and just slowly begin rubbing and removing the paper.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Painted Canvas Tutorial

You will begin to see the image appearing.  Don’t be in a rush, you want to get all of the paper off.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Painted Canvas Tutorial

Step 5:

Once it is dry, using your craft paint begin layering in colors with paint to create your desired image.  I chose to fill in the sky and grasses, but left everything else as it was.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Painted Canvas Tutorial

Step 6:

Cover your canvas with a heavy coat of Mod Podge (regular) in a matte finish.  On the grass areas, I chose to go very heavy and create a textures effect.  Wait for it to dry.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Painted Canvas Tutorial

And that is it!

I chose to roughly paint the sides as well just to finish it off.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Painted Canvas Tutorial

And now we have a constant reminder on our mantel of our favorite place and of quiet times.  Just one more attempt on my part to slow things down, even just a little, and capture the moments.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Painted Canvas Tutorial

If you would like to see another project using Mod Podge Photo Transfer, you can visit here.

Creating Rustic Art with Mod Podge Photo Transfer

If you are looking for where to purchase the Mod Podge Photo Transfer, you can find it here (contains affiliate links):

Plaid Mod Podge CS12652 2-Ounce Photo Transfer Medium

Thanks so much for reading!


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72 thoughts on “Painted Canvas: Mod Podge Photo Transfer”


  1. I did not know this product existed!…This is wonderful!…and I just love the picture of your family…My favorite pic of my hubby and my granddaughter is of them walking too…I want to make a mini gallery of them walking together as she grows…Thanks for the tutorial Laura and have a great weekend!!!

  2. You could pass that off for having a professional painter do it! Oh the wonders of the craft world 🙂
    Great to correspond with you yesterday, btw – this could be the start of a beautiful relationship 😀
    Denton (Assistant #2)

  3. I just found out about this product the other day from a guy working in Hobby Lobby. Must try it out. I love how yours turned out.

  4. Long Beach Island has a special place in my heart too. My aunt and uncle live in Beach Haven West and we visited often each summer …

    Here’s hoping you’ll be able to enjoy that most beautiful spot in NJ again this summer! And I love the photo and the mod podge technique to make it look like an oil painting!

    🙂 Linda

  5. Laura,
    This is fantabulous! Is that a word…oh I don’t care, I like the way it sounds. Absolutely awesome…I guess you get the idea I really like how the photo turned out. Especially meaningful to me.

  6. Love it!

    I host a weekly link party called “Seasonal Sundays”. This week, in honor of my fourth blog-a-versary, I’m having a giveaway of a $100.00 gift certificate to HomeGoods/TJ Maxx. I’d love to have you join the fun!

    – The Tablescaper

  7. This is so amazing Laura. You really have a great imagination for doing such a great job with the canvass. I wish I had the same mind and talent. Please keep posting more.

  8. Very talented. Kudos, Laura! I just tried this but I used Mod Podge Matte. I failed to look for photo transfer, ugh. My next mistake was that I applied the mod podge directly to the canvas then laid the photo face down into the modge podge rather than applying modge podge to the photo itself. I thought I had the instructions straight in my mind. I checked your info and I discovered I had it wrong. Ugh. I hope it comes out okay. I did flip the canvas and used a piece of plastic to smooth it. The plastic was skinny enough to run underneath the wood frame. I got a 16×20 photo from Sam’s Club so it is cheap enough to replace should this mine turn out to be a disaster. Thanks for the motivation though!!!! Your photo is darling!

  9. Beautiful Laura – thanks for sharing. Just a few questions. Did you print your photo on photo paper and what tool did you use to remove any air bubbles? Thank you.

  10. Hi Laura
    I would love to do this but I am confused on Step #3 – after you paint the front of the canvas with Mod Podge what do you mean by place it face down on the canvas wouldn’t that mean you cannot see the photo?
    – I might just be reading it incorrectly.. Also – I don’t understand what you mean about removing the paper – is that the parchment paper that is on top of the photos? Great job I can’t wait to do this! Thank you!

  11. That’s a really lovely effect with the transfer – I agree. I’m going to have to try it! Thanks for the thorough tutorial 🙂 (We know it takes a lot of time to photo every step and annotate – so thanks for your effort!)

  12. I love love using Modge Podge! I do something similar with my photos onto canvas using Modge Podge and I’m always so happy with the finished product! Glad to see how well the photos come out after applying the Modge Podge. One of my fav’s!

  13. Laura! I LOVE this! I have so many great photos, but I really like to find different days to display them! This is awesome! Thank you!

    1. Would also love to know this..I think this is a very important step…as some transfer techniques do not work at all with inkjet printer and only work with laser or photocopies made with Toner ‘ink’. Looking forward to some feedback on this 🙂

  14. After 24 hrs I sprayed my photo transfer and started to rub gently with a sponge and in several places some of the photo came off??

    1. That’s happening to me as well. I keep having to trash the canvas because the photo is shedding off when I start sponging. I need to figure out how to remove only the paper.

    1. I found another site that says only use laser printer and regular paper not photo paper.. Mine was inkjet and it ripped the whole photo off.. I prefer to just mount directly to the canvas.. I could never get this process to work for me but might try one more time with the new info I found! Good luck!

  15. Great idea! My husband is from New Jersey and had a family place on Long Beach Island when he was growing up. I’ve never been there but he often talks about it. Apparently their house was near Ship Bottom (?) We now have a place on Tybee Island, Ga.

  16. My grandfather had a place at Point Pleasant Beach, NJ so that holds the special spot in my heart. But in May of 2002 my mother, brother, sister and I went to see my mother’s brother and his son and family and stayed on Long Beach Island. It was very beautiful. A few years later my sister started decorating her kitchen in light houses. I beaded a banner of a light house for her. It was supposed to have stripes, but I decided to make it the same as the light house on Long Beach Island, I knew it would be more meaningful that way.

  17. I absolutely love this photo canvas! I haven’t tried transferring photos on canvas myself yet, but with these instructions, it shouldn’t be a problem 🙂

  18. I tried this project a few times and was not very successful with the quality of the image. It’s possible that I put too much of the photo transfer on the canvas because it seemed to never end when removing the paper. Can you use an inkjet print or does it have to be from a laser printer?

  19. Can this be done with a poster printed at Walmart or any other store? I am looking to do this on a 16X20 canvas.

  20. Can I paint the canvas first and then mod podge photos onto the canvas? We’re doing a similar project for my son’s class, and once the children do their painting part of the project, I would like to mod podge pictures of their faces in between their artwork. WOuld this still work?

  21. This did not work for me. I printed the picture on regular paper from my HP Photosmart printer. When I tried to remove paper the image came off too! The black turned pink and purple. My printer has the little cartridges with the powder in it. it was a disaster

    1. I am so sorry it didn’t work out for you. I didn’t have any of the issues you refer to but you might want to reach out to the Mod Podge company to see if they can offer you any guidance.

  22. Did you use a regular print from a store? And can you? I already have an abstract painting and WAnTed to add some photos to it can this be done?

    1. The project I shared was using a print out of a picture that I took and then added paint to it. I can’t really speak to what you are asking about because it is not something I have done. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Wishing you a day filled with grace,

      1. I used regular midge podge Matt,I wanted to ask about removing the paper,I have removed the paper until it feels like it gone and the colors of the picture look good,but when I let it dry it looks like there is a haze on it until I wet it again,is this because I used the wrong product,I hate to keep rubbing on it because some of the picture is coming off around the edge.if I go ahead and coat it with the midge podge,do you think that would get rid of the haze?Thank you

  23. Hi Laura,
    Love that you shared your fun and heartwarming photo transfer project! I am trying to do a floating frame collage of my grandbabies for my daughter for Mother’s Day. I am just a bit confused with the paper to use. I have regular 20lb copy paper. What would constitute as “regular” paper?
    Thank you for your time,

  24. This photo transfer is great, only one thing to consider, that the image will be reversed when you put it on the canvas. Then when you go to paint if you are right handed your skill and control will be affected. So need to get a reverse image of what you want to work with before starting out. So you can control your paints and get the same result as the photo. You can look at the original photo as you work.

  25. I love this idea…I dont understand one part though. It says to print photo on regular paper for printer, not printer paper. I use white printer paper in my printer. LOL. So if its not my regular “printer” paper, what paper is regular? Also how many wood chuck would chuck wood? LOL!!

  26. What kind/color craft paint do you use? And what type/size paint brushes do u use? I photo transfer on wood and no paint is required for that.

    1. You’ll have to flip the image before printing. Depending on your device, there are many free photo editing apps in which this can be done.

  27. Oh my goodness!!! I love your idea. I love in Costa Rica and wanted to try this but it didn’t work with the photo paper I bought. Now, I am going to try with the regular printing paper and try it.
    Thank you for the step by step instructions. This time it might actually work for me.
    Please add me to your emailing list!!!
    Becky Gordon

  28. I have been trying to do this, but when I start sponging the paper off, my image starts shedding off as well. Is there an easier way to remove the paper without the image being destroyed in the process? Thanks for the help!

  29. Can you use Mod Podge Gloss for Step 6?? I have a large amount of it and none of the satin. Trying to double up with projects with the grandchildren over the summer. I have the Photo Transfer Mod Podge and the Gloss. Hate to have to invest in the satin if I can get by without. I already have all the other things we need for this project leftover from other projects.

  30. One question please can you tell me can I use Office Max printed matte finish to do this project? The only have to print bigger picture glossy or matte poster. Thanks. I do love your project!

  31. I don’t have much luck with this project from other tutorials. I would like to try the photo on wood. Was the wood painted first? If I used chalk paint on a piece of wood to give it color do I follow the steps as it is stated? Should I seal the color first before I place the photo on the wood? I have a wax seal medium and a poly sealer. Any help would be appreciated.