It doesn’t get any easier than this for creating DIY holiday decor. This wall decor is made from an inexpensive canvas I purchased on sale for $6 plus a $4 poster!
I could have mounted the poster onto a piece of foam core cut to fit, or put it on a smaller canvas and cut it down to size, but I didn’t want to do either. I liked the poster as it was so I painted the oversized canvas first with my favorite Martha Stewart Acrylic paints and then attached the poster to the canvas after distressing the edges of it.
I antiqued the edges and painted elements on the poster with glitter paint to give them a subtle glimmer when you look at it from the right location. It’s not gaudy or over the top at all though you could certainly go that direction as well.
I finished the wall art by coating the entire poster and canvas with PPA and allowed it to dry. Santa and his bag of toys are now a central focus of our holiday decor, and it helps bring out the teal element which is the accent color in our living room.
Poster on Canvas DIY Wall Art – Supplies
What You'll Need
- Canvas - same size or larger than poster (I used 22" x 28")
- Poster - good quality paper is best (I used Cavallini & Co. Santa Claus Poster though any Cavallini & Co poster will do)
- PPA Perfect Paper Adhesive - Matte
- 1" brush paintbrush
- 1-1/2 paintbrush
- fine detail paintbrush
- water misting bottle
- Acrylic Paints - Martha Stewart Pearl, Metallic, Satin, and Glitter
- Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Paint Bottle, Vintage Photo
- Martha Stewart Tintable Glaze (optional)
How to Create a Poster on Canvas DIY Wall Art – Step by Step Details
Painting the Canvas
My canvas came sized, though sizing is not required for this project. I started with Martha Stewart Acrylic Satin Paint in Sycamore Bark to cover the canvas.
I made sure to paint the sides to give it a finished look.
I kept the poster handy and referred to it for color and texture help.
To complete the canvas, I used Martha Stewart Acrylic Satin Paint in colors Pool and Sandcastle and then added Metallic Acrylic Black Nickle and Metallic Gold highlights. My goal was to have a mottled background instead of a solid color that would look like the poster’s background. Once I had my colors in place, I used a little Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Paint in Vintage Photo to make it look old and worn.
Preparing the Poster
While the canvas was drying, I prepared the Santa poster. It’s printed on heavy archival-safe paper, and it’s perfect for decoupaging. I laid it on a paper towel, and I lightly misted the entire surface of the poster with room temperature tap water to relax the paper (it was rolled for shipping).
I used another paper towel to blot up any wet spots and then resprayed just the edges to make sure they were completely saturated.
I used a few full paint bottles to weigh down the edges of the paper to help remove the curl while the paper dried in place.
I rewet the edges once again until they were completely saturated with water, but not dripping. I gave it a few minutes to work its way into the paper and then I started pulling parallel to the edge of the poster to create rough edges and allowing the white paper core to show. I continued all the way around the poster, rewetting as necessary, to create an uneven border.
I turned the poster over and lightly misted the back with water. Then I used a 1-1/2″ paintbrush to cover the back of the poster lightly with PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive) in matte finish (you can use any sheen you like).
After covering the back of the poster, I “booked” it for a few minutes like wallpaper. Booking involves folding the poster in half, being careful not to crease it so that the adhesive sides are folded onto one another. Taking this step allows the adhesive a moment to activate and to cover any areas I might have missed, or applied too much glue to, with my brush. It’s important not to crease or press down on the poster, just let it rest upon itself.
While the poster was booking, I painted a light layer of PPA directly onto the canvas where the poster would be placed.
Adhering the Poster to the Canvas
Once the booking process was complete (between 5 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the poster and the amount of glue brushed on – the goal is that it is still tacky and pulls apart easily), I unfolded the poster by letting gravity pull the two halves apart. I then grabbed the bottom half and folded the poster in the other direction so that now the glue was on the outside (again, being careful I didn’t crease it).
Folding the poster in this manner allowed me to place half of the poster onto the canvas first giving me time to shift and align it before placing the second half of the poster on the canvas.
Once I was happy with the poster’s placement on the canvas, I smoothed the first side down with my hand (I could have used a brush or dry cloth as well). Then I completed smoothing out the poster putting the second half onto the canvas. Starting at the center I smoothed it again, checking for air bubbles and smoothing them out when necessary.
Starting at the center I smoothed it again, checking for air bubbles and smoothing them out when necessary.
I used a small brush and additional glue on the poster edges where it didn’t adhere well mostly likely because when I put the glue on the canvas, I guessed at where the edges of the poster would fall. I also used a needle to poke a tiny hole in any air bubbles that got trapped that I couldn’t smooth into place.
I allowed the glue to dry overnight, but it wasn’t necessary. I could have started the embellishments within about an hour to an hour and a half after adhering the poster to the canvas.
I wanted this to be more than just a poster glued to a canvas. So instead of just painting on a topcoat of PPA, I chose to highlight some of the poster’s details by painting over the original art. By using colors in pearl, metallic, glitter, and satin, all paints similar to those the poster artist chose, the modification is subtle and creates a dimensional piece of art.
I tried to mimic the brushstrokes of the original artist. I used a light hand and thinned the paint with Martha Stewart Tintable Glaze when necessary to get a wash of color. I wiped away my painting mistakes right away with a soft cloth and repainted the area when necessary.
Not every poster lends itself to embellishment, but this one did. For the background, this Martha Stewart Turquoise Glitter Paint was perfect. It added teal glitter with a clear “paint” which allowed the original color to show through. The result was a subtle hint of glimmer without changing the poster’s vintage look.
I used Martha Stewart’s Glitter Paint in Garnet for the red in Santa’s suit and Sugar Cube for the snow and his fur. They have the same properties as the teal paint above, so they added glitter without covering the original paint.
I copied the big, thick paint strokes that were done by the original artist, but I admit it looks like I made a mess of the gold, but I assure you, that was the original artist’s design choice.
Protecting and Sealing Your Work
Once all the embellishment was dry, I added a top coat of PPA to the entire piece and allowed it to dry. One light coat is all I used for a matte finish though you can use any finish you like and additional coats as needed.
So why didn’t I just use glitter decoupage to seal the poster? Because I only wanted glitter in the highlighted areas and not over the whole piece. I love the juxtaposition between the antiqued paper and glitter that looks well-worn when covered with matte sealant.
You can use this same technique for any poster. This poster was professionally printed and didn’t suffer any running, splotching or color loss when sealed with the PPA. Home printed posters can be decoupaged but may run. Try a test sample before committing to a larger project.
What do you think of my Poster on Canvas DIY Wall Art? I had the paint and PPA, so the entire project cost me $10!