I like my canvases chunky, like my peanut butter. At least when it comes to medium to large(ish) scale art.
For something that’s only, say, 11 x 18″, half an inch is thick enough for me.
[More on those paintings here.]
But once you get up to 18 x 24″ or so, a nice inch-thick canvas just feels so much more proportional to me.
Mmm, chunky. But when I made that art for our nursery I realized that the thicker canvases are pricey! At a Michael’s near me…
$30? Ouch! And I wanted three for the nursery. Even if I managed to buy all three canvases with a 40% off coupon, that would still run me $54. I’m too cheap for that. Fortunately, my mom had a brilliant idea for faking it.
Check this out.
A two pack of these thinner 18 x 24″ canvases is half the price of one thicker canvas. Sure, there must differences in quality besides just the thickness. (Smoothness maybe?) But let me tell you, this amateur is perfectly happy with the quality of the cheapest canvases Michael’s carries.
In light of the two-pack discovery, Mom suggested I just sandwich a couple of the thin canvases together and cover the seam. So that’s just what I did.
And I love the results! You wouldn’t guess from the front that these aren’t the real deal.
Here’s how you can do the same thing. And/or something slightly different. You choose.
* 2 x half-inch thick canvases of matching dimensions
* Liquid nails (or your preferred adhesive)
* Flat head push pins, or a classier alternative like brass upholstery tacks
* Inch-wide ribbon such as grosgrain (I used about 3.5 yards for each 18×24″ canvas)
* [Optional] screwdriver & four 3/4″ wood screws (a drill probably would be good too)
(1) Create artwork on one canvas. Be sure to carry your color around the outside edge of your canvas. Allow artwork to fully cure.
Here’s where this tutorial becomes a choose your own adventure.
+++ For a method that preserves your second canvas for later use and includes a ribbon picture hanging loop (as shown above), move to step #2.
+++ For a method that scraps the second canvas but allows for hidden hanging hardware, skip to step #5.
(2) Lay unpainted canvas face down on your work surface (aka: floor, if you’re anything like me). Run a generous bead of liquid nails (or your preferred adhesive) all the way around the wood frame. Don’t get too close to the edge–keep about a half inch back–so you don’t end up with blobs of glue squirting through your seam.
(3) Lay painted canvas on top of the unpainted one so the wrong/back sides are touching. Make sure they are lined up as perfectly as possible. (I found some minor shape irregularities in my canvases that didn’t allow perfect alignment–again, these are the cheapies–but I don’t notice it in the final product at all.) You may need to scooch your canvas around a bit, so make sure you use an adhesive that allows for this.
Once you are satisfied with the alignment, press firmly around the whole perimeter to ensure adhesion. Obviously you want to take care not to damage your artwork.
(4) Now it’s time to hide that seam. You’re going to wrap ribbon around your canvases in this pattern:
Start by pinning end of your ribbon to the left side of the canvas, about 1/2″ down from the top corner. Place one pushpin in each canvas so you have two side-by-side. Then pull ribbon around top corner and pin in place again. So now there are a total of four tacks at the corner. Like this, except at the top (which I failed to take even a marginally decent picture of).
Continue ribbon all the way around your canvas, pinning at each corner, until you get back to the top left corner. Remove your first two pins, lay second layer of ribbon, replace pins. Now carry your ribbon across the top again and pin the end of your ribbon just below the top right corner, leaving ample slack to serve as a hanger. I just eyeballed it with the first of my canvases to find a hanger length that looked good. For your reference, that ended up being about 1 and 1/3 times the canvass width.
[Not the cutest hooks, I know, but I do love them.]
Now skip to step #10
[Disclaimer: I'm making some guesses about this method since I didn't actually do it.]
(5) Lay painted canvas face down on your work surface, taking care to protect your masterpiece. Run a bead of liquid nails (or your preferred adhesive) all the way around the wood frame. Don’t overdo it–you don’t want glue squirting through your seam.
(6) Lay the other canvas face down on top of the painted canvas (so you’ll be looking at the wood frame in the back of the canvas). Make sure your canvases are lined up as perfectly as possible and firmly press down around the whole frame. You could probably skip the glue in light of step #7, but my gut tells me it’s still a good idea.
(7) Now add a 3/4″ screw to each of the four corners, screwing through the back of the back canvas into the frame of the front canvas. If you have a drill, it wouldn’t hurt to drill pilot holes for some anti-splitting insurance. But obviously be careful not to drill all the way through your artwork.
(8) Follow step 5 above, except don’t add the extra length across the top. Also, since your ribbon won’t be supporting any weight, you could skip the pins and just glue the ribbon on for a simpler look if you prefer. Or you could go the other way with it and carry the pins all the way around for a nailhead trim look. Just sayin, you’re in charge.
(9) Add hanging hardware to wood frame of the canvas in back.
(10) You’re done! Now hang that chunky art and stand back to admire it.
Pretty simple, eh? And remember, if you used the ribbon hanger method, you’ve got another blank canvas back there so you can change things up if you get tired of your current project.
Our nursery art will be retired soon (hello, big girl room!), so I’ve got three chunky canvases to play with. Good times.
Finally, ahem, I have a confession to make. I’ve actually converted to smooth peanut butter over the past year for the sake of one child who is crazy for it. Let it never be said that this mother doesn’t sacrifice.
So, do you go for chunky art? Or peanut butter?
Linking up with Design, Dining, & Diapers ; Tatertots & Jello; Too Mych Time on My Hands; It’s Overflowing; and Home Stories A to Z.