The Low Down on A Reverse Canvas

You’ve seen them on Pinterest, the farmhouse style signs with a nice quote.  It looks like a nice wood frame, white background and typically black lettering.  Something you pay a pretty penny for in a store.  Guess what, don’t spend your hard earned money on them you can do it your self or ask a friend for help.

Disclaimer:  some links in this post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase at no additional cost to you I will receive a small referral commission.

farmhouse sign (1)

The supplies you need are:

  1.  Canvas – plain canvas from a craft store
  2.  Stain or paint
  3.  Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)
  4.  Craft cutting machine (I use a Cricut Expression Air 2)
  5.  Flat head screwdriver and pliers
  6.  Iron or heat press
  7.  Staple gun

Some other possible things may be wood glue and some kind of wire or hanging hook depending on where you will put it.

guide to reverse canvas (1)

My Vinyl Direct

The first thing you need to do is use your screwdriver and pliers and remove all of the staples on the back of the canvas so that the canvas is off of the frame.  I found it pretty easy to get screw driver in and pop everything up and then go back with pliers to remove them.

You will be surprised that underneath the canvas is actually a decent looking frame!

Both of the projects I did were large size so they had support going through the middle.  I used a saw and cut through one piece and then all support pieces easily slide out.  This is where you may need some wood glue depending on how sturdy your frame happens to be put together.  If you think the corners could use reinforcing add some glue to the back.

The next step is to stain or paint your frame.

When you design your quote or image remember that you are losing a couple of inches on the size of your canvas.  A canvas may be 24×36 but you are turning it into a framed piece so your design goes inside the frame.  Once you have the canvas taken apart measure inside the frame to get the dimensions of your work area.

Now you will cut your HTV.  If you need some help or reminders about working with HTV you can see my previous post on making shirts.

Vinyl & Blanks For Crafters

Once the HTV is cut you can lay it out on the canvas and use the frame to help center and make sure spacing and fit is exactly how you want it.  Move the frame to the side and with your iron or heat press adhere the HTV.

After your frame is dry and HTV is on the canvas you can re-assemble.  Flip it to the back and start stapling the canvas back on.  The first one I did I cut the canvas to size and then stapled it back on.  This was hard because you didn’t have a lot of leverage to pull it tight.  The second one I stapled on and then cut the excess off.  This was much easier.  Both did require more hands, probably because I didn’t start small.  I did a 24×36 and a 20×24 canvas.

If you are having problems with the canvas dipping down and keeping it tight you can add some books or something flat under it for support.

The back is not pretty but no one sees it 😉

My first project I leaned against the wall on the ledge in our 2 story foyer so I didn’t need anything for hanging purposes.  The second one I did hang.  I just slid some craft wire under a couple of staples and twisted them tight.  It was easy and I had it on hand.

I know you see the clear command hook in the picture and this is not it’s final spot.  This is hanging in the stair way going down to the basement and I don’t have good lighting for a picture.  This hanging spot was just to get a decent picture.

reverse canvas (1)

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