Simple Thrift Store Canvas Makeover

I don't know about you, but I love visiting thrift stores to see what treasures I can find. Often what you find doesn't look like treasure, but with a little makeover magic you can have a decor piece that will be beautiful in your home.

use scrapbook paper and your Cricut Machine to makeover a canvas from a thrift store

Today I'm going to share how I took a not-too-pretty thrift store canvas and gave it a simple makeover with just a few crafting supplies. It became something that we love to have in our home. The best part is you can do this project too and it's an easy craft too!

I'm joining some of my favorite bloggers for a Thrift Store Decor Upcycle Challenge. We all created thrifty upcycle projects to give you ideas of what you can create from thrift store items. So the next time you see a canvas, picture frame, basket, or other item at the thrift store or a garage sale, you will have some ideas of what you can transform it into.

The Rules:
  • Upcycle an item(s) from a thrift store, resale store, or garage sale into a new piece of decor
  • There's no monthly theme
  • There's no budget to stick to

Meet the Hosts

Amanda | The Kolb Corner    Erlene | My Pinterventures    Kim | Made in a Day 
Dru | Polka Dot Poplars    Maureen | Red Cottage Chronicles    Pili | Sweet Things
Shirley | Intelligent Domestications    Debra | Shoppe No. 5    Marie | DIY Adulation
Chelsea | The Johnsons Plus Dog    Jes | My DIY Envy    Ann | Duct Tape and Denim
Molly | Just a Little Creativity    Ashley | 3 Little Greenwoods    Kimm | Reinvented
Kim | Farmhouse Made    Victoria | Dazzle While Frazzled    Sara | Twelve on Main
Chelc | Inside the Fox Den    Sue | A Purdy Little House    Michelle | Our Crafty Mom
Sherry | Savvy Apron    Jennifer and Vicki | 2 Bees in a Pod    Lora | Craftivity Designs
Ali | Home Crafts By Ali    Denise | My Thrifty House    Colleen | Life on Kaydeross Creek
Toni | Small Home Soul    Michelle | Michelle James Designs
Medina | Grillo Designs    Karen | Dragonfly & Lily Pads

Make sure you follow our board on Pinterest for more upcycled decor inspiration! Check out all the projects after my step-by-step tutorial!

Simple Thrift Store Canvas Makeover

I started out by saying that when you are at the thrift store you need to look for treasures. Well, sometimes that treasure is buried....under horribly bright paint. But it's still there, I promise.

upcycle decor challenge thrift store canvas

So here is the "before" picture. Bright and ugly right? It was a steal though at $0.75. Yup, seventy-five cents for a 12x12 stretched canvas! Sure, it looks tragic right now, but this is all about the makeover process! You start with a .75 canvas and end up with something you could find at a home decor store for much more.

Since some of the bright color paint carried over onto the sides of the canvas, I painted the whole thing white. I wanted a fresh look for the sides and decided to add a layer to the main base of the canvas so my paper would adhere nicely to the canvas.

Supplies To Upcycle Your Canvas

craft supplies to makeover painted canvas
This post contains affiliate links (*) to make shopping for supplies easier for you

Canvas (similar to these*)
Paint and Paintbrush (Plaid Crafts Apple Barrel White is my go to paint)
Mod Podge
Foam Brush
Scrapbook Papers (12x12 decorative and 12x12 plain)
Cutting Machine (Cricut* is my machine of choice - so many fun projects!)
Fine Tip Markers (Crayola found here* and here)
Glue Dots (dispenser* or crafting roll*)

Step-by-Step Tutorial for Canvas Makeover

mod podge crafting glue on back of decorative scrapbook paper

1. Pick out the scrapbook paper you want to use for your background pattern. I used a thicker paper that is a bit more glossy. Apply Mod Podge to the back side of your scrapbook paper, work quickly but evenly.

Cute and Stylish scrapbook paper on canvas
2. Place your scrapbook paper on your canvas. Start smoothing it from the middle and work outward. You don't want to have bubbles under your paper.

3. Design your saying. To do this, I first went into Cricut Design Space and picked fonts that I wanted to use. I knew that I wanted one plain font and one handwriting type font. You can play around with what works best for your style. Create a circle in your program sized to how big you want, then arrange the words inside. Don't have a Cricut machine? You can design your saying in Adobe Illustrator, save, print, and cut with scissors.

4. Create your saying on paper. For this part, your paper needs to be thick cardstock. Add a Cricut marker to your machine in the specified slot. In the design program, you will choose to cut the circle you designed and write the text. The Cricut markers will not fill in the letters for you, that is why you have the fine tip markers or you can use colored pencils. Using your Cricut to do this will take about 1 minute - so fast and easy!!

Color printed text saying with fine tip crayola markers

5. Use fine tip markers to color in the text of your saying. The space in the text can be quite small, so regular markers will be too thick. I used Crayola Fine Line Contemporary Colors for this project. You can use colored pencils if you don't like markers. 

easy step by step tutorial to make a pretty canvas decor

6. On the back of your cardstock with the saying, add Glue Dots around the edge of the circle and in the middle. I found the dispenser to be very easy to use for this project. Center your paper circle on the canvas.

Simple and Cute Canvas Makeover

There you go! One finished canvas decor for you - ready to display in your home or to give as a gift. Can you believe the transformation from the "before" picture? I love this piece and it's such a good reminder to focus on what is important in life.

Easy to make beautiful canvas tutorial

When my daughters saw our new piece in this display, they both loved it and asked if we could keep it up always. It made my day!

I hope that this has inspired you to make your own project after seeing how easy it was to create. Make sure to check the crafting aisle of your local thrift store for a canvas, or you can buy one at a craft store.

Simple tutorial to make a pretty canvas for your home using just a few craft supplies

And now for more thrifty goodness!

Check out what my fellow upcyclers created below!


  1. Great creative idea! We have a bulk pack of canvases so this gives me ideas outside of simply painting it. Visiting from Thrift Store Upcycle.

    1. Glad you liked it Victoria! I like trying to find new ways to use items. Bulk canvases are a good deal and there are so many fun options for decor use.

  2. This is one of my favorite sayings and your canvas sign is just lovely!

  3. This is so pretty! I can totally see something like this in my daughters room.

    1. I'm glad you like it! My daughter wants to make a few with different sayings for her room too.

  4. This turned out so great. I really need to buy a Cricut. This is a nice project and I can see why your daughters like it so much.

  5. This is so sweet and perfect colours for spring. Lovely idea. Thank you for sharing.

  6. It is really a treasure right now, and the quote is one of my favorites. Great job!

  7. 75 cents is a great find for a canvas. I thought you were going to paint something on it, but adding paper on it so much easier (my kind of craft).

  8. What a steal for $0.75! Love the makeover you gave the canvas too, and the paper you chose is so pretty!

    1. I loved the paper, and actually have had it around in my stash for about 3 years!

  9. Replies
    1. The colors were definitely influenced by my wanting spring to come faster!

  10. This came out great I haven't tried to use a marker to make the letters with a Cricut or other die cutter machine. I like that! Easier than trying to do a stencil. Thanks for the tips!

    1. I have horrible handwriting Kim, so using the marker was such an easy way to make the writing look nice. You should give it a try!

  11. I love that saying! And I love that you put craft paper over the canvas, what an easy way to get a beautiful backdrop for your graphic. Beautiful!

    1. The paper does add a nice backdrop, thank you for your comment!

  12. Love your new wall art! Thanks so much for the DIY inspiration!

    1. I'm glad you like it Ashley! Hope it gives you some good idea for a project in the future.

  13. I love using canvas and paper together. Then add in the cutting machine and you are golden. This saying is so nice! This turned out perfect.

  14. You turned a frog into a prince! I commend you for seeing past the obvious and turning this into something beautiful! It's so pretty!
    Jeannee @

    1. Thanks Jeannee! We love how it looks now.

  15. This turned out great! Thanks for sharing with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg :)

  16. What an interesting idea. I never thought of using paper on a canvas!

    1. It's fun to use items in ways people don't expect. =)

  17. The makeover turned out great! I love buying canvas at thrift stores - if you're just going to paint it anyway you might as well re-purpose them (and save a few bucks!)


Back to Top