Custom canvas art
You know those gallery-wrapped canvas photos that are becoming so popular these days? Lots of photographers are starting to offer them, and there several places online where you can order custom wrapped canvases made with your photo. Those options can get pricey, though. What if I told you you could actually do this yourself at home, with a fool-proof cardboard system? You can, with JetMaster.
Jo and I discovered the awesome JetMaster framing system when we attended the CHA Winter 2011 show, and we’ve been in love with it ever since. Turning a photo into a wrapped canvas ready to hang is as easy as this:
- Upload your photo to the free JetMaster online print utility and customize it (video tutorial)
- Print the finished template onto the canvas that comes with the kit (video tutorial)
- Adhere the canvas to the sticky cardboard frame and fold it per the instructions (video tutorial)
To show you what I mean, here’s a piece I created with the system. In about 15 minutes, I transformed one of my favorite photos into a completely finished piece of photo art ready to hang.
The frames come in several sizes, so you have lots of options when it comes to creating your art. The kits are kind of hard to find, so start at Jetmaster’s site to find a retailer. The framing system is made up of a crazy-looking, sticky piece of cardboard with scored fold lines, a cardboard insert, and four little reinforcement stickers.
But what’s extra cool about this system, though, is that you can use it for more than just photos. Because the frame is sticky, you can put just about anything onto it, including fabric, paper, or scrapbook items. In fact, remember when I made Jo that fabric silhouette art for Mother’s Day? I finished the piece by mounting it onto a JetMaster frame. It was so easy, too.
To prep your fabric (or whatever you’re using) for mounting, just cut it to the required size for your particular frame size. Once you put the fabric on top of the cardboard, the edges should line up with the dotted-line folds on the cardboard. Test carefully to be sure it is the right size before continuing to the next step. Notice that the fabric does NOT cover the entire cardboard surface — you’ll see soon why it is important that keep part of the flaps uncovered.
When you’re satisfied with the fit, peel back the liner from the cardboard, exposing the sticky surface. Then put the fabric back on, centering it as before. The sticky surface has some give, so you can reposition if you need. Be sure your art is smooth and flat and has no wrinkles or bubbles.
Then flip it over and trim the excess fabric corners that are sticking out. You won’t need them.
From here, the magic starts to happen. With the piece still face down, grab one of the sides and fold it up, along the score lines. Let the tabs pop out as you go.
Eventually you will have created a square “tube” along that edge, and you’ll find that the part of it that’s still got the sticky side exposed is now touching the brown part of the cardboard, and holds it all magically in place. Sweet!
Continue around the other sides, folding the edges into tubes and pressing the tabs down to hold it all securely. Is it just me, or at this point does it kind of look like some sort of miniature model of a courtyard with lots of doors?
You’ve still got those corner bits hanging out, but they are easy to take care of. Gently press the sides apart, opening the gap, and use your finger to push the corner piece in. When you release pressure on the sides, it will close up and look very clean and sharp.
To keep it all secure and tight, apply one of the triangular reinforcement tabs onto each corner.
Now the piece is pretty secure, but the back looks kind of funny. Fortunately, there’s a cardboard insert included that will fix all that! Fold up the edges of the insert and press it into the back of the frame.
You’ll notice that there are still some sticky surfaces exposed on the main frame, and those are by design — they happen to hold the insert in place perfectly.
And with a few simple folds, you’re done!
The piece looks great on the wall. Nobody will ever know your art is mounted on cardboard unless they pick it up, and then they’ll be amazed at how lightweight it is. I just love the clever JetMaster framing system!