Posted on Jul 8, 2019 | 19 comments


I have been thinking about doing this project for quite a while. I have been searching, reading and watching YouTube videos on how to do it. My biggest question was, how would a professional do it? What technique do they use? What materials do they use?

I have never owned a hand-painted canvas of any kind, so it was hard for me to even imagine what a canvas backdrop would feel like.

The most useful information I found was here:


(And I would like to thank Philip Vukelich for such detailed information about his technique.)

Even though I could follow his directions 100%, I still decided to add some other things that might help a canvas backdrop have a longer life. This was one of my main concerns.

A regular canvas must be mounted on a wood frame before it’s painted on. And it will probably never get rolled afterwards, so there is less chance of the paint cracking.

So, what can I use on my huge canvas to prevent the paint from cracking with time?

I found out that some people use acrylic paint for painting fabric sofas or couches, but to make that fabric usable and naturally soft, they HAVE to use a Fabric Medium.

*** Fabric/Textile Medium is white, so it will thin your paint and will also change your color to a lighter shade ***

My canvas wasn’t primed and instead of using dilated gesso, as it was done by Mr. Vukelich, I used Mod Podge Sealer to prevent the paint from leaking through to the other side of the canvas.

Why? Well, I think gesso will give your backdrop more texture and will add more weight to your backdrop. Also, I wanted the other side of my backdrop to simply be white, so I used Mod Podge to seal the canvas.

Also, if you seal the canvas, then you will use less paint and it will be a much smoother painting process.

I couldn’t find Mod Podge Flat/Matte Finish in the large bottle, so I thought if it were gloss, it wouldn’t make any difference since I would be covering it with flat white paint anyway.

Oh, yea, the BIGGEST challenge was to stretch this huge piece of canvas and remove all wrinkles

MISTAKE #1: My canvas is heavy-duty so ironing it didn’t help. I tried to sprinkle it with water and iron it and the canvas started to shrink!!! OMG!!! I guess because it is cotton!

I remembered watching a video where a guy was using a sponge and warm water to remove the wrinkles before priming the canvas. The canvas was already mounted on a frame. So, I decided to stretch the canvas first.

I have a hardwood floor stage that is about 10 ft x 10 ft and it’s mounted on plywood because I still have carpet underneath it.

MISTAKE #2: I decided to tape the canvas to my hardwood floor. I might have chosen the wrong tape, but I was afraid to leave any glue residue on my floor. It worked just fine in the beginning but once I applied warm water on the canvas, my tape loosened up and even pins didn’t help. Double and triple tapes layers didn’t help either.

I wish I could build up a wooden frame but there were too many extra things to buy and no way to bring it home unless I rented a trailer. And I would have needed more time to build it as well.

I found my way out by nailing the canvas to the plywood base that is underneath my hardwood floor.

The canvas was a rectangular shape, so on the 2 opposite shorter sides, I used cotton fabric strips and pins to stretch the canvas.














Materials for painting:

  • Artist Canvas – #12 Unprimed Cotton Duck/Canvas Blanket (I bought 96” x 6 yards)
  • Plastic Sheeting to protect the floor
  • Mod Podge Sealer and Finish – Gloss – 1 Gallon Jug – I used about ¼ of the jug
  • 2 quarts – Valspar Signature, Latex White Paint Flat. For good even coverage*.
  • 32 oz Ceramcoat Textile Medium (also called Fabric Medium).

You will Mix 1-part Fabric Medium to 2-parts Paint

  • 1 cup of water to dilute the 2 quarts of paint
  • 1 cup of water to dilute the Mod Podge
  • Mixing Bucket**
  • Paint Roller with Pole ***

My canvas was 96” x 6 yards. I cut it in half – 2.66 yards x 3 yards/each.

*I think if you want to make you backdrop multi-color, 1 quart of base color would be enough, but I would buy 2 quarts or 1 gallon so you have extra if you need it.

**I used a glass jar to mix my paint. I wasn’t sure how much l needed, so I mixed the paint in batches as I went along using the same 2:1 ratio of Paint to Fabric Medium, plus a little bit of water).

***If you don’t want a textured background, this should be the only thing you need.


Working time: 3 Hours

Waiting Time: 4 hours

  • Lay the Plastic Sheet under the Canvas
  • Stretch and secure your Canvas
  • Use a big sponge or fabric to apply warm water to the canvas surface (as hot as your hands can take it) Let it dry for 1-1.5 hours.
  • Ensure all wrinkles are gone before applying Mod Podge Sealer.
  • Mix 1 cup water with 4 cups Mod Podge Sealer and ¼ cup Textile Medium
  • Use a Painting tray and roller to apply the Mod Podge Mixture
  • Let it dry for 40 minutes to 1 hour
  • Color Paint: I mixed 16 oz of paint + 8 oz of Textile Medium + ¼ cup water (I mixed 4 batches total)
  • After the first layer, I let it dry for about 30 min before adding additional coats.

1 Hand Painted White Canvas cost me roughly $100.00 in materials.

½ Canvas – $27.50. It was on a discount for $55 for the piece (free shipping).

2 quarts of paint – $17/each -$34 at Lowes – https://www.lowes.com/pd/Valspar-Signature-Satin-Latex-Paint-Actual-Net-Contents-31-fl-oz/999989920

32 Oz Fabric Medium  – 8 oz for $5.99/each at Hobby Lobby. So, $24 for all. It was the best price I could find) – https://www.hobbylobby.com/Wearable-Art/Paints-Dyes-Adhesives/Adhesives-Tools/Ceramcoat-Textile-Medium/p/20661

Mod Podge – I used about 4 cups – $6.25 from eBay (1 gallon for $25.49)

I had the other items already: pins, cotton fabric (old sheet), nails and hammer, vinyl brush, paint roller, painter pole, and plastic sheeting. I am sure most of the people might have those things in their household already.

More pictures are coming.

If you have any questions, please ask.






  1. 7-9-2019


  2. 7-9-2019

    Good project ! Love it!

  3. 7-9-2019

    beautiful and very creative project

  4. 7-9-2019

    Very interesting article! Thank you for sharing !

  5. 7-9-2019

    You are very welcome!

  6. 7-9-2019

    Amazing DYI article! You inspired me to paint my own backdrop for sure!

  7. 7-9-2019

    Thank you

  8. 7-9-2019

    Thank you!

  9. 7-9-2019

    You should try it. It is fun. I have another half of the canvas that I will paint soon. I just need to decide what color.

  10. 7-9-2019

    OMG! you are so creative! Thx for sharing

  11. 7-9-2019

    I like how it turned out. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  12. 7-9-2019

    Amazing work! Color is gorgeous! I made two background too)))

  13. 7-9-2019

    Love how creative you get with DIY projects!

  14. 7-9-2019

    You are very welcome!

  15. 7-9-2019

    Thank you!!!

  16. 7-9-2019

    Thank you for sharing this is awesome

  17. 7-10-2019

    Looks beautiful. Love it.

  18. 7-11-2019

    Great project! Thank you for sharing

  19. 7-23-2019

    you are welcome!

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