A fun project with colorizations

After you’ve colorized photographs, what do you do with them? Just let them sit on an external drive and collect dust? Post them on Facebook or a website for people to maybe look at? Selling prints can get tiresome, and customers will be expecting more. Aside from burlap & mason jars, canvas is popular now….but how do you transfer a digital file to canvas?

In my printing class we learned how to print on all sorts of different mediums other than paper stock. It was a great lesson, though I’m still annoyed that I never got that assignment back. That particular lesson also taught things like what gels to use for that sort of project – stuff I didn’t know existed until taking that class. Actually, the only printing you’ll have to do for this particular project is printing out the photograph – if there’s lettering in the photograph you choose, switch it so the letters read backwards. It’ll make sense later.

I’ve done this several times, a few people have the pieces; my mother requested a canvas of my Victorian Circus Performer. What you’ll need are Golden Soft Gel (matte), canvas, an artists roller (optional), and a photograph printed on an inkjet printer.


This particular one is what I use, mainly because it’s the only one I can find here in town.  Never hurts to see what others use before diving into this project.  It could be another gel works better than this.

1. After you’ve chosen the photograph, trim it to fit the canvas. I usually use 8 x 10, but I’ve used 5 x 7 too.

2. Coat the blank canvas with a thick layer of Golden Soft Gel – trust me, the thicker the better.  This is what’s going to transfer the image onto the canvas.

3. Take the photograph you trimmed and lay it image down on the coated canvas. Make sure to carefully smooth out any air bubbles with your fingers or the roller, otherwise they will affect the photograph by leaving large white spots.

4. You’ll have to wait 24 hours for the drying process. I didn’t, thinking the project would be okay and I ruined it. So patience is a good thing here.

5. You’re going to want a bowl of water for this process – Using water on either your fingertips or a clean sponge, very carefully work the paper off the canvas. This will be a time consuming task, but be gentle and as you work the image will show against the canvas.

Once the paper is completely off, set aside the canvas so it can dry, and then you’re done!  Here are a couple of my pieces, for some reason nobody want the Mary Pickford one I did.


If none of what I said made sense, go to this youtube video!  It shows what I attempted to say.  Have fun!

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