Storytelling With Photos-on-Canvas


Storytelling with photographs is really fun.

Something as simple as eating fresh peas from the garden can become a delightful, preserved memory. This is Afton and she loves peas.

Of the several photos I took at the time of the “pea snack” I chose three which looked sequential. The first is an examination of the “un-zipped” pea pod . . . the second shows the tongue in the corner of her mouth in anticipation of eating the peas and third is the reward.

These canvases are 6×6. I printed photos as 8×10 “shrink to fit” on glossy photo paper and cropped each photo to a 6×6 square.  It was in making these photo-canvases for my daughter that I finally identified my favorite products and processes for putting photos on canvas in a way that really worked for me.

I like a tattered, weathered, crackled, vintage look.



For this project I used primarily Tim Holtz craft products.



This is what I did:


  • Painted the sides of the canvas with Distress Crackle Paint. ( The brush is in the lid)
  • I first used Tattered Rose and when it dried I lightly distressed the sides with the same product in the shade of Antique Linen.
  • I let the paint dry and then covered the front of the canvas with Antique Matte Mod Podge. ( the color is cream instead of white)
  • I also covered the back of the photo with the same and pressed the photo onto the canvas.
  • I put a kitchen towel over the photo and carefully applied pressure with my hand. ( peek to make sure that you don’t slide the photo around )
  • After the photo was fixed to the canvas I let it dry for a few minutes and then applied a coat of the Antique Matte Mod Podge to the front of the photo and the sides of the canvas.
  • Once the Mod Podge had dried clear, I held a Distress Ink Pad in my hand which was darker than the other paints and distressed the sides, edges and corners of the canvas and photo. Just about any color will do.
  • Finally the best part. When everything was DRY . . . I applied a coating of Distress Crackle Paint called “clear rock candy” to the edges and corners of each canvas. I also put some lightly over the photo.


 It was exactly what I wanted. I have struggled with crackle paints on other projects

and so my hopes were not high.

 But this time . . . . YES !



(I used small bowls to hold the canvas up while I painted it.)



By the way, I took the photos with my telephoto lens so that I was able to get more candid expressions than I would have if she had known I was watching her so closely. I had several expressions to choose from.  These are some expressions I didn’t use:




After all was said and done . . .

I stamped a little saying on the inside of the canvas and called it a day.


“Beauty in distress is often the most affecting beauty.”

– Edmund Burke-












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