Reverse Canvas : Lots of value in this little piece!

Instructions Project Ideas

The reverse canvas technique is a lot of fun and so easy. It is not necessarily a perfect piece. But, if you like value (time spent to results achieved), this piece is just for you. The most common question I get is what makes it a ‘Reverse’ canvas. The reverse canvas is achieved because you rip the canvas off one side of a finished frame and staple it back on the reverse side. By doing it this way, you get a nifty frame to finish off your piece for your home décor.

Items needed:

  • Canvas
  • Measuring Tape
  • Paint / Stain
  • Cutter / Tools
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)
  • Scissors
  • Heavy Duty Staple Gun
  • Picture Hanger

Reverse canvas before completion


  1. Start with your canvas. I used a simple canvas from the hobby shop, not too big otherwise there are extra supports.
    Black canvas from hobby shop
  2. Remove the canvas from the frame. I literally pulled it off the staples. Others have spent time removing the staples. That is a very tedious process for this little piece.
    Back side of canvas showing staples
  3. Now you should have 2 pieces. The frame and the canvas. Let’s work with the frame for a second. We are going to call the back of the frame, the place that has all of these leftover staples from your canvas. The front of the frame is now a nicer rectangle. It may have staples in the corners. Do not pull those out as they are needed for support. We just work right over them all, like we will do with the staples on the back side of the frame.
    Back side of canvas with canvas removed
  4. Before going any further, measure the inside (and outside) of the frame. Write it down and set it aside.
  5. Go ahead and paint or stain the frame. Get the entire front and all of the sides. (You can do the back side too if you like.) A nice black paint covers a multitude of imperfections plus the staples somewhat blend in. Set aside to dry.
    Stain all sides of frame
  6. Pick your design and load it into your software. Use your measurements in step 4 to pick the right size that will fit in the interior dimensions of your frame.
  7. Cut your design. Remember that you are using HTV so mirror your image. Now, weed your HTV. You may have chosen a single color or multiples, does not matter.
    HTV after weeding with mirrored the image.
  8. Now, you may choose which side of the canvas to use. I prefer the one without the coating as it makes a nice natural background.
    Choose which side of canvas to use.
  9. The canvas still has the folds and creases. You can use these to center your design.
  10. Press the HTV onto the canvas. Since this is not going to be worn and washed, you can go a little lower on your temp. (Keep it above 275 though.)
    Heat press HTV on to the canvas.
  11. Take your dried frame and center the frame over your designed canvas. Secure the canvas with binder clips so that it does not shift.
    Center dried frame over the designed canvas.
  12. Turn the canvas over and staple the canvas back onto the frame. (The canvas is now on the reverse side of the frame, hence the name reverse canvas.) Gently pull on the canvas making sure that it is snug although not pulling in one direction or the other. Try not to staple over the previous staples. It is best to go on the inside of the prior staples if possible as it will create a more secure piece. (Again, not perfect but who will know!)
    Staple the canvas on the back of the frame.
  13. Finally, take your scissors or razor blade and remove the excess canvas from around the edges.
  14. Add a picture hanger to the back so it will sit nicely on a wall.
  15. Hang your canvas, admire and enjoy!

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