Cut it out!! ……canvas tutorial

I love a wall I can read! Take your favorite quotes and put them up on the walls with this easy, inexpensive idea! 

 Supplies: Canvas (found mine at Hobby Lobby in a 2 pack for $7.99)
contact paper
spray paint
staple gun
printer and exacto knife
or a cricut machine

Step 1: Cover your canvas in the fabric you selected and secure it with a staple gun on the backside of the wood frame.

Step 2: Using contact paper cut out the letters of your saying on a circut machine. If you don’t have a circut machine, you can simply print off your saying in whatever font and size desired. Then place your contact over the top and of the paper, trace and cut out with an exacto knife. 

Position the letters on the canvas. When you have them where you’d like them to be, peel off the paper backing and stick the letters to the fabric. 

Step 3: When all the letters have been placed, spray a thick layer of spray paint over the entire canvas. Let dry. If needed, apply another coat. 

Step 4: When it is dry, peel the letters off. The color and pattern of the fabric underneath the paint will POP through creating a GREAT contrast!
Hang it on your wall and enjoy! 

another design option: 
Instead of covering the canvas with fabric, just place your letters onto the canvas, spray and peel. The black and white combination is always a classic. 

**edited to add: I get several emails asking about how to get the letters to stick better and prevent the paint from bleeding underneath. Unfortunately I don’t think there is a magic trick here but here are some suggestions. 
1) hold your paint can further away from the letters. this means more coats of paint but possibly less bleeding underneath. 
2) Some of my paint did bleed a bit but I had better success when the canvas was “treated” and not a brand new “slick” canvas. The one I covered with fabric I had the best success with. The contact paper “grabbed” onto the fabric better.
3) Here’s a gal that tried my tutorial and had GREAT success! notice they type of canvas or artwork she started with too! I hope this tips help!

I will be linking up HERE

today’s post sponsored by 



  1. Very cool! I love the fabric lettering- so cute and so easy!

  2. Love it! What a great idea!

  3. love it. i have a canvas waiting for a project like this. thanks for sharing!

  4. Megan, that “Love is Spoken Here” canvas needs to be in my family room!! I’m so makin’ this {and featuring it, too!}.

  5. Love this idea! Great job!

  6. Another great use for my underused Cricut!

  7. Love this idea. The fabric adds another texture and fun colors than just a plain canvas.

  8. I really like the way this turned out.Especially the black on the brightly colored fabric!
    I will definately try this.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. What a great idea! Thanks!

  10. I absolutely LOVE the idea of painting stencils over the fabric and then removing them so show the underneath. This open up so many more possibilities in decorating! You my friend are a genius!!

  11. What a great idea, I’ve never thought of doing the reverse like this!

  12. Awesome idea! I need to spraypaint some porch cushions, I might try adding a letter or number. Thanks for the tutorial.


  13. You always have the best ideas – I love coming here πŸ™‚ I’m thinking I need to get out of the dark ages and finally get a cricut!

  14. I love how you added the fabric. I have played around with contact paper letters and painting around them on canvas, but the fabric really makes it pop. Found you via Tip Junkie

  15. Oh my goodness! I love this! I really want to try it!

  16. I love this idea! The print you chose is adorable too! And the saying =) A+

  17. You raised the bar! That is amazing!

  18. I LOVE this idea. I really want to try it, I just wish I had a cricut machine. How expensive are they??

  19. awwww now look at that..good job!i just found your blog and love your ideas!So fun!

  20. Thanks for sharing your project at Anything Related! ~Bridgette

  21. Wow! That looks so great! I am totally trying this project next! Love the fabric you used and the quote!! What Cricut cartridges did you use? I think Storybook, and what else? Just Awesome! Thanks for sharing the directions with us!

  22. I have a Slice personal cutter. You could do the same with that. When you said spray paint over the fabric, I almost freaked! Then, I saw the finished product which was adorable. Can’t wait to make some of these for my studio!

  23. What a cute idea and very clever as well!

  24. Very Cool!!

    New follower from Welcome Wednesday.
    Come see me at

  25. That is SO PRECIOUS!!! I LOVE IT!

  26. Fun idea and I love the fabric! Thanks for the details, I’ll be linking.

  27. Love it!

  28. Coming to you from Take It From Me blog Hop. If you want another blog hop, I would love it if you would visit mine:

    My blog hop with be up every wednesday! Thanks!

  29. What a fun project. Love it. πŸ™‚

  30. Well this is absolutely ADORABLE!!
    I know I will be crafting this weekend!!

    Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  31. What a great idea! I am felling a project coming on! Thanks so much for linking up to Be Inspired today!


  32. This is such a clever idea, kind of like a backwards take on vinyl:)
    Love the fabric too!!
    Visiting from

  33. Great idea and beautiful!

  34. So LOVELY and simple
    which is ALWAYS the best!


  35. Really pretty! I love the reverse type on back because it pops so well! Also, thanks for adding an alternative to cricut. Some of us are still dying to get one!

  36. this is great! thanks for sharing!

  37. ooooo, I LOVE those canvases! Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing!

  38. This is so smart and different. Nice job. Thank you for linking!

  39. I love the fabric you’ve chosen ! Great design. Would like to try something like this …

    I’m following you from welcome wed. (it’s abit late..)
    Please kindly follow me back at
    Thank you!

    Fashion & decor designer

  40. Very Very Very Cool. I will be using this technique!!!

  41. Very cute idea, but what I really want to know is if you made those pants you are wearing in your blog header and how did you make them. They are so cute.

  42. anonymous – I did make the pants in the header but that’s not me wearing them πŸ˜‰

    you can snatch up the pattern booklet or Epattern booklet from my shop and create some yourself! πŸ™‚

  43. Hi Ms. Apple! I found your site off of Today’s Creative Blog! I love your craft! You are so talented! I just signed up to be your newest follower! Woo hoo! I hope you stop by my new blog. I just started it 2 months ago and would love new friends! Please come see me at

  44. Did u mean “Cricut”? Super fun tutorial, I found you via Cathe Holden’s blog….Just something I made.
    thanks so much! πŸ™‚

  45. ok, now that is a great project!! love.
    Thanks so much for linking up to “AP Tuesdays” @ New Nostalgia! Hope to see you again next Tuesday!

  46. love it! great Christmas gift idea.

  47. What a cool project! You’re right, the contrast is very eye-popping.

  48. I just LOVE this idea! too crafty! Great job

  49. LOVE this…I will be sharing this tutorial on my facebook page to spread the word!

  50. thank you for posting this! this gives me lots of ideas to run with…

  51. Fantastic idea – thanks for the tutorial!

  52. This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing the tutorial….I think I might be able to do this. πŸ™‚

  53. I love this, so easy! (Found you through Pinterest.)

  54. Love it! What a brilliant idea!


  56. LOVE!!

  57. Is there a trick to peeling off the letters without messing up the paint? Very pretty!

  58. I just wanted to let you know I included this in my 2011 Ultimate DIY Gift Guide (101 tutorials/recipes)! πŸ™‚

  59. Tried this today and my contact paper letters curled up when they were wet with paint. Is there a certain kind of contact paper that you recommend? Or some suggestions you could give you help with this?


    • The clear is usually pretty thin, if you can find a thicker feeling paper it should work better. Also, try running your hairdryer over the letters on it’s hottest setting and then firmly pressing the letters into the fabric. Several thin coats of the spray paint should work better!

    • I so wish I would have read this comment and reply before I started! I did the exact same thing with clear contact paper, because that is what I had onhand. I will try again with a more sturdy paper

  60. I love this idea, Megan! Thanks for sharing.

  61. This is the cutest thing! I would love to have something like this in my dorm room!

  62. Very cool idea, but when i tried it, it didn’t come out so good. I’m going to give it another try in hopes of it turning out as awesome as yours!

  63. Alyson – I had the same problem last night when I tried this project. It was totally ruined because the paint ran under the curled letters before it dried!

    Any suggestions on how to avoid this problem would be great!

  64. Woot! I found you! I seen this idea on Pinterest and forgot to link in my post…off to link and share..

    Thank you….It rocks!

  65. I tried this and my spray paint went through my letters, what did I do wrong? This was my first time to use the cricut machine but the paper didn’t seem very sticky so I wonder if that’s why. Is there a certain type of contact paper to get??? Thank you!!!

  66. hi ladies! There really isn’t any magic trick πŸ™

    I’d love to answer you personally but your email addresses were not linked with your blogger ID. I hope you see my response.

    THe best thing to do is lighter coats of spray paint – meaning further away from your letters – which means more coats. Also if you canvas is treated or has something on it the letters seems to stick better like on the one I covered with canvas.

    here’s a gal who tried the tutorial and posted her results too!

  67. Thank you so much for adding a link to me……very kind!

    I’m getting lots of traffic…..I thought it was just from your comment but now I see the link in your post

    Thank you again:-)

  68. Just love.

  69. I use the Contact paper resist process on tshirts that I then spray a bleach solution on… The way I get a better bond to the fabric is to run a hot hairdryer over the letters a little and make sure to rub them firmly against the fabric. And the object is to get a thin, even coat over the stencils, and repeat as necessary!
    Thanks for the brilliant idea! It’s catching on like wildfire on Pintrest!

  70. The best way I know of to get a better stick on the letters is to run your hairdryer on it’s hottest setting over the letters and press them very firmly against the fabric. Then use a thin, even coat of the spray paint. Let it dry and do another thin, even coat till you get the desired effect.
    I use a similar process with bleach and Contact paper stencils on t-shirts.

  71. YOU are some kind of genius!! My daughter and I made one yesterday afternoon to showcase a quote by the woman who founded the college she works at. We let it dry overnight (because it was late when we finally finished) and peeled the letters off this morning before work. OMG! It came out beautiful! I want to make more!! I see so many possibilities. She took it to work and I can’t wait to hear what her co-workers thought. Thanks so much. ~karen

  72. I didn’t read all of the comments, but one of the tricks I learned about masking (the act of preventing an area from receiving paint or dye) in art college is that, if you use an adhesive, like tape or contact paper, coat it with a clear matte paint and let it dry thoroughness before applying your other paint. This will allow for crisper edges.

  73. I just used your method for a wood sign and linked my bloggers to you πŸ™‚ Check it out!!

  74. Quick question…I have attempted to make this twice now. Both times I sprayed the canvas twice and the fabric could still be seen through the paint. Also both times my contact paper curled up and some of the paint got under the letters. Any suggestions?

  75. I don’t have any type of cutting machine..could I just use store bought letter stickers?

  76. I don’t have any type of cutting machine…could I use store bought (letter) stickers instead of using the contact paper?

  77. I think some of the other comment-ers have tried using letters. I would think if they were sticker types you’d have to be careful with them adhering too much…..

  78. The way to prevent your paint from bleeding is to spray a clear coat on the entire fabric or canvas. When dry apply the letters, and spray the whole piece with another clear coat. After that coat dries, spray with you with the overlay color, and voila, the letters will come up without having bled. This works for stripped walls as well.

  79. How do you prevent the spray paint from leaking through the stickers? I did this project and was very saddened when I peeled off the letters and found that problem…

  80. I’d love to do this on a t-shirt. I would like to make a political tee with my favorite presidential candidate for Nov. 2012. Could this be done?

  81. Awesome job! I used to cut out decals with exacto knives all the time – and sold them on ebay even. Just have some patience πŸ™‚

  82. Awesome job! You just need a little bit of patience when trimming the vinyl decals with an exacto – I used to do it all the time, and even sold some on ebay back in the day πŸ™‚ Gotta love creativity when paired with a little bit of patience

  83. Could you do the same thing using scrapbook paper and modpodge (as opposed to fabric and a staple gun)? And I wonder if stickers would work the same as contact paper… Just trying to make it as easy as possible for someone who doesn’t craft a whole lot!

  84. What kind of Cricut do you have and what would any Cricut work for this? I HAVE To do this but know I’ll only use it for lettering!!

  85. Maybe I used the wrong sticker letters, but when I tried this the letters did NOT come off easily. Messed up the paint :(. They ripped, and stuck to the surface underneath πŸ™

  86. Loooll amazing great work thanks.

  87. Maybe a thin coat of something like matte clear polyurethane evenly applied over the whole surface first before using the light coats of paint would work to seal the letters?

  88. Can you please tell me what font you used? I do not have a cricut but love the font that you used! Thanks.

  89. I didnt read all the comments to c if someone has already said this but i know how to stop the paint from bleeding. Once the letters r in place then spray over them them with a clear spray. If it bleeds it will b clear and will seal those spots that didnt stick enough. Once its dry go ahead and put your finished color over it all and once youve removed the letters it should look clean. Its worked great for me in the past. Hope this helps.

  90. Has anyone tried doing this with a picture as well? Thinking of making a wedding gift with the picture of the couple and a monogram of their initials, wedding date, etc.?

  91. Our letters are sticking down fine and we’ll use a hair dryer to loosen the adhesive before removing it but our problem is the spray paint is NOT covering the fabric well at all. Disappointed πŸ™

  92. Where did you find those amazing sticker letters? The only ones at hobby lobby were too small??

  93. Do you think the same idea could apply with a mirror instead of canvas and fabric? That way the letters would reflect?? Really wanna try this.

  94. What kind of paint do you use on the glass though? When I tried just regular acrylic paint it didn’t cover it completely so I tried to do a second coat which caused the first coat to peel off and the whole thing was ruined.

  95. This worked PERFECTLY for me: After using stickers for the words I painted over EVERYTHING with modge podge. It sealed the edges around the letters and not a drop of paint bled underneath. Because of this step the paint didn’t have to soak in to the fabric to saturate with color and I was able to do less paint and fewer coats, which is great because I was using WHITE paint and a dark fabric. I used an xacto knife to pull up one edge of the letters and pulled from there.

  96. Kerrie Tarkinton says

    Hi Everyone! I came across this on Pinterest & decided to try it for my 15th wedding anniversary. I don’t have a Cricut or a super steady hand to cut letters out of contact paper…sigh. Turns out good vinyl letter stickers are super expensive…if you want to use a lot of words & dates, which I did. So, I took the cheapo route & made it work. I bought paper letters from Michaels Craft Store 50% off coupon in different fonts & sprayed a coat of matte clear coat on the bare fabric like other commenters suggested, let it dry & started sticking. The stickers were not sticking, so this was not going to work. I bought a can of Locktite re-positionable spray glue, sprayed the back of the sticker (time consuming, but totally worth it) & tried it on a sample, it worked perfectly! I used standard black spray paint, it took several coats before I was happy, let it dry for an hour & slowly revealed the 1st letter, it was perfect, they were all perfect! I used blue tape around the outside of the canvas so you can see the fabric pattern & colors from all side…bellissimo! I wish I had a way to post a photo to show you or a cool blog to link you too πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the fun idea!!

  97. Charline Yawn says

    Hi. Thank you for sharing.

    In response to, “How to get the letters to stick better and prevent the paint from bleeding underneath.”

    The SOLUTION that worked for me. A glue runner. Any brand will do.

    So many of my projects require glue and no time to dry. I’ve tried many, but The E-Z Runner Grand, offers 150 feet for only $19.99 + S&H. A bit steep, for the one time user, but I’m almost positive that you will fall for this product with the first use. It is excellent.

    For the project tutorial above, simply add the glue to the edges of each letter,or whatever works for you. Press lightly starting with the left top edge of each letter. As you press to attach be sure to smooth out when positioning to seal for painting. Let them sit for a few (2) mins and continue with project tutorial instructions.

    *NOTE: The majority of these products contain a BLUE glue. Be sure when purchasing to LOOK CLOSELY and choose one with a CLEAR glue. The blue will most certainly leave remnants behind when lifting letters.

    I’ve included a link to my specific glue runner and my over all Tape and Runners Search for your convenience. Hope this helpful and enjoy.

    THE E-Z Runner Grand Link
    The E-Z Runner Grand! You can use this Run adhesive in curved shapes, geometric shapes, and every other shape you desire for even the most irregular objects. Use in scrapbooks paper crafts in general, photographs, and more!


    I apologize for the length of my reply. To Meg of Brassy Apple, who took the time to create and post a detailed tutorial. In return, I want to be sure that anyone using my suggestion get the best results.

  98. what stickers did you use? today my friend and I tried a canvas art project. The letters clearly weren’t the right kind as all the spray paint bled through. I’m guessing we need a high quality sticker?
    also any other tips to a very novice and unexperienced crafter πŸ™‚

    • Brassyapple says

      I used contact paper that I cut with a cutting machine… they definately worked better on the fabric than the plain canvas. The plain canvas bled a bit. I would say prep the surface first with paint (even white) and see if that helps. Also keeping your spray paint pointed down and not from all angles to keep it from going under the stickers or letters. Mine wasn’t perfect either! πŸ™‚

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