One of the most common question about vinyl I get is “how do you put Vinyl on a Canvas?” – so I thought I’d test it out and see for myself what method is really best. I did that, and I’m here to dish out all the info!
It was fun to do this as a Live Craft Club segment over on facebook – if you’re not in my Online Craft Club, you’re missing out! Ok, let’s dive into the Best Way to Put Vinyl on Canvas – here are a couple of images in case you need to pin this post for later:
If you love learning from video, you can watch me walk you through each of these tests in my Vinyl Canvas Video.
TESTING Vinyl on Canvas
I tested both Adhesive (or sticky) Vinyl and Heat Transfer (or HTV) Vinyl. I divided the canvas into 4 different sections – I painted two of the sections and left two as-is. So the tests were: Adhesive on Plain Canvas, Adhesive on Painted Canvas, HTV on Plain Canvas, HTV on Painted Canvas. This post may contain affiliate links.
First up, Adhesive Vinyl! When using Adhesive vinyl, you’ll need to use Transfer Tape to move your design from the backer paper onto your canvas – my favorite transfer tape ever is the clear gridded transfer tape.
Adhesive Vinyl on Plain Canvas
This was really hard to do! The vinyl just didn’t want to stick. As I pulled up the transfer tape, the vinyl would just come with it.
I did flip the canvas over and really press and rub from the backside of the canvas. Then I tried again. I had to hold the letters down one-by-one as I peeled the transfer tape. I made it work for those big block letters but gave up on trying the text with thin lines.
VERDICT: DO NOT DO IT THIS WAY
Adhesive Vinyl on Painted Canvas
Next up, same type of vinyl, Adhesive Vinyl, on painted canvas. I painted the canvas with just regular white craft paint, a couple of thin layers. I’ve heard mod podge will do the same thing. The idea is that it will prepare the surface of the canvas so that the vinyl will stick to it.
You guys, this was 10 TIMES BETTER than the plain canvas! I had to be slow and careful, but I was able to remove the transfer tape without too much trouble and was even able to do that with the thin font. If you have Adhesive Vinyl on hand that you’re wanting to use on a canvas, I would say go for it using this method. Painting the canvas made a big difference.
VERDICT: When using Adhesive Vinyl, painting the surface is a must! This is doable!
Heat Transfer Vinyl on Painted Canvas
I had never tried using Heat Transfer Vinyl on a Canvas before – I was missing out!! Since it transfers with heat, the vinyl can melt into the canvas and adhere better. First up though, canvases have some give to them, so you’ll need to put something under it so that you can push down in the middle of the canvas. At first I tried a tshirt as shown below, but later I tried a scrap piece of wood and that worked even better.
Yes, I used my iron. I just pressed firmly for 20-30 seconds. And then voila, the carrier sheet peeled right off, I didn’t have to be extra careful or baby it as I peeled.
This method was 100 TIMES BETTER than the first thing I tried – SO MUCH BETTER! Using Heat Transfer Vinyl will now be my go-to method in putting vinyl on a canvas.
I then wondered if having the canvas painted would make a difference and if HTV would be able to stick to a painted surface, so I tested that. The results were the same as the non-painted surface, paint didn’t make a difference either way.
VERDICT: winner! This was hands-down the best method – using Heat Transfer Vinyl is the best way.
Have you put vinyl on a canvas before?? Which method did you try?
If you love canvas projects, you might like my Create Canvas: