Making a Canvas More Than a Canvas

The final canvas with Maggie.
Shows the original photo of the dog, Maggie.
Capturing Maggie for a photo op wasn’t easy!

Maggie was my niece’s lovable pug.  When Shelly graduated from college, I wanted to find something that would be a personal gift, and Maggie was an ideal subject for a canvas to hang on the wall.

My sister helped me grab Maggie for a photo session.  Not so easy.  This original on the left is the best we could do, complete with the bed in the background.  Still, we did capture Maggie’s tongue hanging out — looked just like her!

Shows only Maggie's upper body and head with the background a solid gray.
Eliminating the background placed more emphasis on the face.

I don’t have a dog but a friend who does told me to focus on the face.  I cropped the photo.  I also used a few simple Photoshop Elements skills to ‘erase’ the background.  In retrospect, I think it would have worked just fine with the original.  You’ll see, the background hardly shows up

I started an 8×8 canvas with Heritage Makers, using the photo as the centerpiece.  Many of us make wonderful canvas prints for the walls and stop at this point. However, sometimes it’s fun to enhance the canvas. Here’s one example.

I wanted a more decorative look than just the face. First, I rounded the corners on the photo and added a black border.  Second, I created a circular “embellishment” for Maggie’s tag so that her name would be obvious.  Then, for fun, I added a polka-dot background.  (Now really, would we have even seen the bed in the background if I’d skipped the Photoshop Elements editing?)

Shows an edited version of Maggie's face with a rounded border and a patterned background outside the image.
Some photo-editing added a more finished look.

I was pretty pleased with the results.  Still, it didn’t seem finished.  I thought about some kind of frame so off I went to Michaels to see what I could find.

Yahoo! I found a 12×12 black shadow box and a 12×12 piece of yellow scrapbook paper.  I put in the paper and attached the canvas on top.  I decided to leave off the glass of the frame, both to eliminate the glare and to give it a more 3-dimensional effect.  It was good to wrap and go!

Shows the final framed canvas of Maggie.
Using a shadow box as the frame added depth.

Heritage Makers made it possible to modify the photo easily with an oval border and a different background. Recently I found that Heritage Makers no longer offers an 8×8 canvas print so you can’t duplicate this “as is”. Do let this start your own imagination flying for changes you might make to your standard canvas output. And there are other printing sites that offer 8×8 canvas prints, e.g. Snapfish, or you can start with a 12×12 canvas in Heritage Makers.

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