I’ve been helping one of my daughter’s friends make some items for her wedding lately. She was struggling to figure out a cost-effective way to make a Welcome to our Wedding sign. We liked the idea of a plain black canvas with white letters. The main criteria – durable, crisp lines, quick and easy. We thought through a few ideas/techniques.
First, we considered just putting vinyl alone on the canvas. But there’s a chance it wouldn’t stick well enough, depending on the vinyl and the surface of the canvas. We certainly don’t want it starting to peel off during the wedding, particularly since it will need to be transported to the venue. We just didn’t want to take the chance.
Next, we thought about using vinyl as a paint stencil. But I find that even after trying a TON of different methods, I don’t get the letter edges as crisp as I’d like. I always seem to have paint creeping under the edge of the vinyl. Then I end up touching things up with a tiny brush. We don’t have time for that!
So I kept thinking and found a GREAT solution that’s a bit of “out of the box” thinking – Heat Transfer Vinyl. Canvas is a fabric, so HTV sticks well. It’s quick and the lines are obviously very crisp. This is what we went with and ended up with an amazing wedding sign!
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Tips and ideas for using HTV on Canvas
The canvas can be any size that works for you. Ours is 24″ x 36″. I have a heat press, so wanted the canvas to be large enough that the frame around the outer edge would fit over the bottom platen of the heat press. The canvas could then sit flat and the press close nice and tight. Since it’s large, the frame has a wooden piece across the middle of the canvas on the back. I had my handy hubby remove that while we added the HTV. He then reattached it with a staple gun.
Using an iron
If you don’t have a heat press, a home iron will work fine. You can find info on using HTV with a home iron in this post. You just need to make sure you can get good pressure. For that, the canvas needs to have a good solid surface under it. You can stack up some pieces of tile. Or, depending on the construction of your canvas, you may be able to remove it temporarily from the frame.
Fabric works too
Another option is to use fabric, like burlap or muslin. Apply the HTV, then stretch it over a foam core board or canvas and attach it on the back side. You can put a layer of batting in between if you like.
Add a frame
A frame without glass adds a nice touch. Check your local thrift store for pretty frames. Look at the shape, not the color. A layer of spray paint does wonders. Here’s a blank canvas in a pretty frame to give you an idea of what I mean.
Getting the parts lined up is the trickiest part. I like to use a quilter’s square up ruler and the Tee Square It. We started by making sure the ampersand was centered on the canvas, then worked outward from there.
If your HTV carrier isn’t sticking well to the canvas, try some High Temperature Tape to hold your design in place as you press. There’s nothing worse than getting everything aligned well and then having the pieces shift as you move it to your pressing area. You can see it on my canvas in the photos above.
Here’s our finished wedding sign:
She’s going to display it on an easel with some flowers at the top. It definitely meets all our criteria!
In case you’re on the fence about purchasing a heat press, this might just help you decide. I can assure you that if you get one, you’ll find MANY ways to use it for all kinds of projects.
(In case you’re wondering, the fonts I used are Freebooter Script and Edmundsbury Serif).