Worth a Thousand Words

WORDS: Catherine Frederick
image: Jeromy Price

I love a vintage look, especially old photographs. Did you know you can give a current photo a vintage look and even transfer it to canvas? Here’s how.


Using a laser printer, copy your photo onto copy paper. With a paintbrush, apply a heavy coat of Liquitex® matt or gloss gel medium onto a stretched canvas (size of your choice). Press photo copy, image side down, onto canvas. Let dry overnight. Once completely dry, use spray bottle filled with water to wet top of paper. Rub surface gently with fingertips until paper starts to come off and image is revealed. Don’t rub too hard as it can remove image from canvas. Continue until all paper is removed and image is completely visible. Apply a coat of gel medium over canvas while it is still slightly damp to seal and protect image. Expect an imperfect transfer. Images which are not extremely detailed are best to work with.

TIPS: I like the contrast of black and white photos best, but color prints will work. A laser printer is the type of printer you will find at a copy shop, office, or public library. You can enlarge a standard 4X6 photo on these types of copiers and print out a black and white or color image. I recommend printing more than one, just in case. Your image will appear reversed, so if your image has words or letters, you will need to print the image backwards. If there appears to be a white film covering the image, you are not finished rubbing off the paper. Continue spraying water and rubbing paper off with fingertips.

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