DIY Instagram Photo Collage Canvas

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That, right there, is a canvas photo collage of four of my favorite Instagram photos taken on our very recent trip to St. Marten to celebrate our 5th anniversary and “babymoon” (yup, that’s me 26 weeks pregnant!) It’s also nothing short of a holiday miracle. Maybe I’m exaggerating. But considering we took this vacation less than two weeks ago and I have memory cards full of photos from vacations over the past two years still hanging out untouched… I’d say it’s quite the accomplishment.

So what made me do it? The fact that my hubs and I said “no Hanukkah gifts” and he proceeded to get me pajamas and then ask for three nights in a row where his gift was. (Ok, maybe I asked for pajamas – but only because I’ve stolen half of his clothes as I’ve gotten bigger and bigger and I figured he might want some back.) And because it’s impossible to shop for a man who needs nothing.

You should know that making something other than food has been way out of my comfort zone for years, even though I lived for arts & crafts as a kid (and subsequently as a teen and then a sorority girl.) In other words: If I can do this, so can you. To help you out, I documented the steps of my Instagram project in a series of Instagram pictures. Clever, huh? In case you weren’t following me yesterday, I’ve got the full story here.

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I got the idea from Tarah at Smells Like Home, and followed her lead to Pinterest and then other various blogs to figure out what I was supposed to do. After tinkering around between my phone and computer a bit, I managed to print my four pictures in 4″ square size on photo paper (if I had thought about this ahead of time, I would have easily ordered prints from Printsagram – thank you Tarah!) Then I went and grabbed the following supplies:

  • 8″ square canvas
  • acrylic black paint
  • mod podge
  • foam brushes
  • spray-on acrylic sealer

As soon as I was back home, I painted my canvas black – all the way around the sides as well as across the front.

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While waiting for it to dry, I trimmed my photos. If you’re going to print your own pictures like I did, it’s a good idea to have a paper cutter as well. You can buy a small scrap-booking one pretty inexpensively.

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Next, time for the podge. Yesterday, I was a mod podge newbie; now I’m on my way to pro. (Meaning, it’s that easy. In case you’re scared, like I was.) Paint on a thin, even layer…

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… then stick your photos where you want them. And walk away to let it dry, because you’ll probably be freaking out that it’s not going to dry clear and you’ve just ruined the whole thing (you haven’t.)

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Even though I saw the first layer of mod podge ultimately turn clear, I still had anxiety over the subsequent layers (two or three of them) I used to seal the photos on top of the canvas. No worries, it all worked out in the end.

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Lastly, once it was all clear, I gave it a spritz of clear acryclic sealer. Out in the garage, so I didn’t have to inhale the stuff. Probably better that way, right?

I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the end result. But even more so the smile on my husband’s face when he unwrapped his homemade Hanukkah gift :)

I already a few ideas for which photos I’d like to use next!

What are your favorite homemade gifts to give?

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12 Responses to “DIY Instagram Photo Collage Canvas”

  1. 1

    janet @ the taste space — December 15, 2012 @ 7:05 am Reply

    Cute idea, Cara! I went DIY with bath bomb cupcakes this year but I also plan to whip together some spice blends for some of my favourite recipes.. dukkah and dal bhat blend, for sure. :)

  2. 2

    Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living — December 15, 2012 @ 7:23 am Reply

    How crafty! Love it. Definitely a great homemade gift =).

  3. 3

    tj — December 15, 2012 @ 9:16 am Reply

    This was a great gift idea! :) You look great! I love the beach belly pic! I’m 14 weeks and we have a trip planned to Kauai in Feb. but I’m not too sure I’ll be up for bathing suit pictures! lol :)

  4. 4

    Heather — December 15, 2012 @ 9:57 am Reply

    What a great idea Cara! I love tropical trips. J and My man and I are going to Cuba for christmas. Love your baby belly!

  5. 5

    Kate — December 16, 2012 @ 12:33 am Reply

    One of my friend’s just did this with her son’s one year pictures. Just something to keep in mind for the future!

  6. 6

    Maggie — December 16, 2012 @ 2:06 pm Reply

    I love this idea Cara! It would be great to make them for and with my kiddos! They’d love it. You look so good with that baby belly. xo

  7. 7

    Alisa — December 17, 2012 @ 10:36 am Reply

    So creative Cara! Since I’m not very crafty I typically give the gift of home-baked goodies. So neat that you made this!

  8. 8

    fattyfile — December 19, 2012 @ 1:33 pm Reply

    cute! and you look fantastic!
    my husband and I went to St. Martin on honeymoon (stayed on the French side) and we can’t wait to go back one day.

  9. 9

    Carol — December 23, 2012 @ 8:08 am Reply

    So creative and you are the cutest pregnant gal ever!

  10. 10

    Hannah — December 31, 2012 @ 1:05 pm Reply

    Awesome! I’m always looking for new things to do with my photos, since it seems a shame to let them all just collect dust on a hard drive in the closet. This is such a brilliant idea, I can’t stand to pass it by. On the craft project list it goes! :)

  11. 11

    Holly — January 10, 2013 @ 9:53 am Reply

    I LOVE this! I like the ways you used the black paint for the border, looks cool! Thanks for sharing, Holly

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