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How to Make a Reverse Canvas: Easy & Inexpensive Framed Art!

Learn how to make a reverse canvas sign with this simple tutorial! This fun method is a great way to easily create inexpensive framed art in no time.

Just deconstruct a basic wrapped canvas and reuse its own frame. So easy!

Make a Reverse Canvas.


How to Make a Reverse Canvas: Easy & Inexpensive Framed Art!

I first saw this method for making signs a few months ago via tutorials from Weekend Craft and A Girl and A Glue Gun. After seeing them, I definitely had a “Now why didn’t I think of that before??” moment.

Seriously. This method is SO straight-forward, painfully, obviously GENIUS that I can’t believe it’s just now a thing.

This is a game changer for all of us who love making our own DIY signs.



So, What is a Reverse Canvas?

When making a reverse canvas, you’re turning a basic wrapped canvas that you can find on the cheap at any craft store into a framed canvas sign or art piece.

Instead of having the canvas wrap around the front of the frame, you’re moving it to the back and showcasing the frame too rather than having it hidden behind the canvas.

You’re reversing the placement of the canvas. Get it??

All you have to do is:

  1. Remove the canvas from the frame
  2. Paint/stain the frame
  3. Add design element(s) to the canvas
  4. Reattach the canvas to the back of the frame



Reverse Canvas Supplies

Here are the supplies used to make a reverse canvas:


Step 1: Remove the Canvas from the Frame

The first step in this process is removing the wrapped canvas from its frame.

Just place the wrapped canvas on a table facedown, then grab a utility knife or X-Acto knife and start slicing through the canvas along the OUTSIDE of the staples.

Make a Reverse Canvas.


Here’s what you’ll end up with: the canvas sheet and the bare frame.

The remaining strips of canvas that are still stapled to the back of the frame can easily be pulled out and discarded, but don’t worry about removing the staples.

Since you’ll be reattaching the canvas in a bit, they’ll end up being covered.

Also, at this point, you can trim the canvas to size if you’d like, or do it later once you’re ready to reattach it.

I did this part later after applying my design so I was certain my design would be centered.

Reverse canvas with canvas removed from frame.


Step 2: Prep the Frame

Now you can move on to the frame. I had NO idea such a cute little thing was hiding in plain sight all this time!

The wood is bare, so you can stain it or paint it any color under the sun.

FYI: Since these canvases are inexpensive and their frames are hidden, the wood is not exactly…shall we say…top quality.

However, it’s still good enough to make a fun little project. Don’t worry if you need to do a little sanding first to smooth everything out.

Make a Reverse Canvas by painting or staining the frame.


Step 3: Apply Design Element(s) to Canvas

While the canvas is off of the frame, you can go ahead and apply your design element(s). Or this step can also be done AFTER your canvas has been reattached…whatever you prefer.

For this particular project, I applied a heat transfer vinyl (HTV) decal, so I wanted to add it to the canvas before reattaching it to the frame.

That way I had free range of movement for my iron without the frame getting in the way. (If you’d like to see how to use HTV, check out one of these tutorials!)

***NOTE: Make sure you size your design so it fits INSIDE the frame. My wrapped canvas started as a 9×12, but the dimensions for inside the frame are 7×10.

Make a Reverse Canvas using a heat transfer vinyl decal.


Here’s how my components looked at this point:

How to Make a Reverse Canvas.


Step 4: Reattach the Canvas to the Frame

Once the frame is dry, you can reattach the canvas to the back.

I first centered my design in the middle, then used some thumb tacks to temporarily hold it in place.

I also trimmed off the edges of the canvas so nothing would be visible outside of the frame (and as you can see, I struggle with cutting a straight line).

Back of a Reverse Canvas.


As soon as my hot glue gun was warmed up, I permanently attached the canvas along all four edges and removed the thumb tacks. A staple gun would work fine too.

Depending on your project, you might be finished now! Hooray!

I, however, had one more step to do.

Attaching the back to a Reverse Canvas.


Here’s how it looks: not too pretty, but hey, that’s why it’s the back!

If you’re feeling extra frisky or giving your creation away as a gift (or selling it), you could always cover the entire backside with a piece of felt or fabric. That way, both sides of the sign are equally presentable.

Since this sign is going to have a home on a shelf in my craft room, I left this as is. No shame in my game!

How to Make a Reverse Canvas.


Optional Step 5: Apply Additional Design Elements if Needed

With this particular flower truck sign, I had some 3D paper flowers to apply.

Therefore, this step needed to be done AFTER the canvas was reattached to the frame so the flowers wouldn’t get crushed. I also added a small pink vinyl decal too.

Depending on your project, you may or may not need to add any additional elements here (or maybe even your only design component) and can of course skip this part if needed.

And with this step now completed…we’re finished! Woot Woot!

Making a Reverse Canvas.


The Finished Reverse Canvas Sign!

Here’s how my first reverse canvas sign turned out! Super cute, no??

This flower truck beauty is just the brightest, most cheerful sign and it looks absolutely adorable in my craft room.

If you’d like to see the full tutorial with all the juicy details on this Spring flower truck sign, check this out!

I had SO much fun with this project and I can’t believe how easy this whole reverse canvas method is. Much easier than any wood sign I’ve made.

I’ll definitely be making a bunch more of these in the future!

Glittery Flower Truck Reverse Canvas Sign.

Glittery Flower Truck Reverse Canvas Sign.


Quite the transformation, huh?

How to Make a Reverse Canvas.


More Reverse Canvas Sign Fun!

Don’t miss these other reverse canvas sign ideas!

Yield: One reverse canvas sign

How to Make a Reverse Canvas

How to Make a Reverse Canvas: Easy & Inexpensive Framed Art! | Where The Smiles Have Been #reversecanvas #canvas #sign #framedart #DIY #howto

Learn how to make a reverse canvas sign in no time! It's a great way to create inexpensive framed art. Just deconstruct a basic wrapped canvas and reuse its own frame. So easy!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $10



  1. Using a utility or X-Acto knife, remove the wrapped canvas from the back of the frame.
  2. Prep the frame with sandpaper (if necessary) and paint or stain. Let dry.
  3. Apply the design elements to the canvas sheet.
  4. Trim the canvas sheet and reattach it to the back of the frame using either a hot glue gun or staple gun.
  5. Optional step: Attach any additional design elements.


  • Make sure you size your design so it fits INSIDE the frame.
  • You can also apply a sheet of felt to the back to give it a clean, finished look.

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Thanks so much for stopping by!

Where The Smiles Have Been | Crafts. DIY. Home. Mom Life.


Thursday 26th of October 2023

Absolutely brilliant!! If only I would have known about this 6 months ago!! But that's OK! Now I know!! Thank you so much!!


Tuesday 15th of August 2023

Your a legend. Thanks. I have some fun to get to. Cheers


Friday 14th of July 2023

Wow I Love this very much. Thank you for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday 6th of February 2023

I love this idea & thanks so much for sharing… I cannot wait to try this. Who would if thought to reverse the canvas


Monday 6th of February 2023

Yay, Debbie! I'm so happy you've found this helpful! Happy crafting!! :)


Friday 11th of March 2022

I LOVE this idea! I bought some canvases from the Dollar Tree and have had a blank with what to do with them. Thanks to you, now I know. I am not sure if it will have the same beautiful design as the back part of your canvas but I shall soon find out. Thank you and keep up the beautiful work.


Friday 18th of March 2022

Awww, Susan, thank you so much for such a sweet comment! I'm so happy to hear you found all of this info helpful! Have fun creating! :)

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