How to Make a Reverse Canvas with Iron-On Vinyl

How to Make a Reverse Canvas with Iron-On Vinyl main article image
Posted on May 21, 2021 by Candace Sanders
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These instructions assume that you already know how to use a Cricut cutting machine (or similar) and the Cricut Design Space program.  Detailed instructions on using these are not included so you will need to refer to YouTube videos or online lessons before proceeding if you are not familiar with how to use these machines. 

Supplies needed:

  • Canvas board (10-inch by 10-inch used here)
  • X-acto knife (or box cutter)
  • Sandpaper and tack cloth (if needed)
  • Acrylic paint and brush (or stain)
  • Spray acrylic sealer (or brush-on sealer if preferred)
  • Iron-on (HTV) vinyl
  • Svg file of choice
  • Cricut machine (or any other cutting machine)
  • Green medium grip cutting mat
  • Weeding tools
  • Easy press, heat press or household iron
  • Easy press mat and hard surface
  • Heavy-duty stapler
  • Sawtooth hanger
  • Hammer

The first step in this project is to remove the canvas material from the frame.  The staples on the back of the frame can be difficult to remove so I decided to just cut the canvas as close to the staples as possible.  You can use an X-acto knife or box cutter to do this.  You should then be able to pull the rest of the canvas pieces away from the staples.  No one will see the back of the frame when it is hanging on the wall so it is okay to leave those staples in place.  Depending on the canvas you use there may be staples on the front holding the frame together.  I have noticed that most people leave those staples in place because they like the rustic look.  This frame did not have staples on the front.

If there are any gouges or holes in the wood, fill with wood putty and let dry.  Once putty is dry, sand the edges and sides and wipe with a wet cloth or tacky cloth to remove dust.  Paint the frame with acrylic paint in your choice of color or you can use a stain.  Use at least two coats of paint allowing paint to dry between coats.  If desired you can spray or brush an acrylic sealer on your frame.  Either matte or glossy will work.  It has been very windy lately in the area I live, and since I usually spray my pieces outdoors, I ended up using a brush on sealer for this frame. 

Select the design you want to use.  The file used here was purchased from Creative Fabrica and the designer is Heba Morsy.  You can search for this designer and “Sunflower svg in the world full of roses graphic” to find this particular design.

Upload your svg to design space.  Measure the inside measurement of your frame and drag the bottom right corner of your design to fit inside your frame.   You will want to leave some space around your design.  This design was uploaded in one color but it was decided to make the sunflower a different color.  To do this you will need to select your image and “ungroup.”  Then select the section that you want to make a different color, in this case yellow.  You will need to work with your particular design to select the colors you want.  I decided to keep this one fairly simple so only used two colors.  If you use many colors you may have to get into layering the different colors on your canvas.  Instructions for layering designs are not included here so you may want to refer to YouTube or other online tutorials unless you are familiar with layering HTV.

You will be using the green mat (medium grip) for your vinyl.  Go to “make it” and select the vinyl and pressure settings that work for your machine.  This was my first time cutting HTV on my new Cricut Maker so I needed to experiment to find the best settings for working with my material.  I had always used a Cricut Explore Air previously.  In this case, premium vinyl with “more” pressure worked best.  Do a test cut before cutting your final pieces and make adjustments as needed.  This will save you from wasting a lot of vinyl.  You will also need to “mirror” your image for cutting.  Iron-on vinyl is always mirrored so don’t forget to do that.  Place your vinyl with the shiny side down on the mat and press in place.  The fine point blade is used to cut vinyl.  You are ready to cut.

Load your mats and cut in the order shown.  The machine will prompt you when you need to change to another color.  Now it is time to weed your images.  You can either weed your designs while the vinyl in still on the mat or take it off the mat to weed.  I found I preferred to remove mine from the mat.  Carefully weed out all the pieces you will not be using.  I trim the extra pieces as I am weeding which I find makes the process easier for me.  You are now ready to iron your design to the canvas. 

I was able to trim my design so that I could press both halves (two colors) at the same time.  Refer to the appropriate heat guide (Cricut heat press guide was used here) to find the correct temperature setting and length of time to heat your image.  In this case the temperature that was used is 340 degrees for 30 seconds.  It also instructs you to let your image cool before peeling away the carrier sheet.

Preheat your press to the correct temperature.  Make sure you use a solid surface to press your design.  You want to protect your surface so a heat press mat was used here on a solid tabletop.  If you don’t’ have a mat you can use a towel that has been folded.  Press the canvas for 15 seconds before laying down the design.  Center your design on your canvas and press for the appropriate time using light pressure.  Flip the canvas and press for 15 seconds on the back side.  After the design has completely cooled, remove the carrier sheet.  You are now ready to attach your canvas to your frame. 

Trim your canvas to just fit the back of the frame.  I laid my frame on my canvas and traced around it with a pencil (make sure design is centered and straight).  Then I cut the canvas a little smaller than the drawn lines.  You don’t want the canvas to be visible from the front.  Using a heavy-duty stapler, staple the canvas to the back of the frame.  If your staples do not go all the way into the wood you can use a hammer to hammer them flat. Add a sawtooth hanger to the top edge of the frame and your canvas is ready to hang.


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How to Make a Reverse Canvas with Iron-On Vinyl

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