canvas sizing

How to Order a Wrapped Canvas

If you're friends with me on Facebook, then you probably saw my post last week where I asked my friends to help narrow down some of my favorite photos so I could get some new canvases printed. I'm a big believer in getting the photos you love PRINTED since it's so easy to crowd your computer with digital pictures and then be completely overwhelmed when you decide one day to get something printed. We recently had anniversary photos taken by Stephanie Dennehy Photography and they deserve a place on the wall :) After much Facebook debate, I finally had my images chosen and my sizes selected. If you're investing the money into a canvas, I highly recommend measuring it out on your wall beforehand to make sure it's the perfect size. Usually when I see other people ordering canvases they look small and lost on their walls, so I'd literally tape it out with painters tape to make sure it's going to fill the space and look GOOD. I know canvases are pricey, so if you're looking to save money, you can do what I did when we first moved into our house and just buy one or two statement pieces and fill the rest of the wall space with smaller framed photos, other artwork you have... I went so DIY that those blocks of framed colored patterns you see? Yeah, those were cloth napkins in the clearance section of Michael's. I think it was $3 for the entire set of napkins. Talk about cheap! ;)

how to order a wrapped canvas

For my new pieces, I decided I wanted to get one 20x30in canvas with a 16x20 for each side.  Those are the same dimensions I used for the canvases above the fireplace and I felt like they were just right in size. And I like that they both have the same vertical height of 20 inches.

Any canvas company you order from will have a section of their site with sizing templates. So that's the next step. I downloaded the 20x30 and 16x20 templates and put the photos I wanted into the template to see how it would look.


Since I use Photoshop I can place my image on the template and make it slightly transparent so I can see the template behind it, but that's not necessary. If you don't have Photoshop, you can still get a good idea just seeing how much of the image will be cut off on the sides.

how to order a wrapped canvasThe dark edges show you where the canvas is going to wrap around on the sides. That means you won't be able to see that part of the image from the front, just on the sides. You see that black bar at the bottom? After I stretched the image a bit, I realized I couldn't stretch it all the way to the bottom without cutting our feet/knees off. So I needed to expand the image. This is the part where you need Photoshop or some sort of photo editing program. Honestly, I think I could do the following in Paint! So don't be scared.

2014-07-27_0006I used the selection tool to select as much grass at the bottom of the photo as possible. Then I hit "copy."

2014-07-27_0007I pasted that piece of the image right below. Now if you printed it just like this, it would probably look perfectly fine. Not many people are going to be bending over and checking out the bottom wrapped inch of your canvas, but there's an easy way to make it look even more natural.

2014-07-27_0008With JUST the new piece selected, flip the image vertically (or horizontally if you're doing the left or right edge) to create a mirrored effect.  That way you're getting a more natural reflection instead of a repeated section. Again, most people won't notice if it's not a really prominent edge, but it doesn't hurt to go the extra mile if you can! (If you're in Paint, drag the copied section into a new Paint canvas and flip it that way before copying and pasting it back to the original image.)


If that's all very overwhelming, then just make sure you order a canvas where the subject (or people!) is far from the edges of the photo. Then you won't have to worry if the canvas cuts it off a little bit. Trust me, I've ordered canvases willy nilly before and been disappointed when they arrived and I'd cut something off.

Here's an example of an easy photo:

2014-07-27_0002There's plenty of space on all sides of this to make a great canvas without worry that our heads might get cut off. There's actually so much space, and this photo is such high quality, that I decided to crop it and get a VERTICAL canvas instead to fit the layout I had in my head.



Now this photo, which I love... is kind of a canvas nightmare. Erik and I are extremely close to the edges of the image, but that's part of what makes the picture so adorable! It seems extra close and intimate.

Here's what I wound up with:

2014-07-28_0004The bottom I didn't worry about because it's fine if we lose an inch of my leg in this situation. The top, I used the same copy, paste, mirror technique I used in the first canvas. On the left side I also used the mirror technique, but it was STILL not enough to reach the edge of the canvas, so I had to stretch the mirrored piece a little unnaturally wide, but it worked out okay since it's just a blurred out background that nobody will be looking at too hard anyway.

Now the right side. Lordy. If you look at the original image, it was cropped at both of our arms, so there are little pieces of our arms that aren't in the image at all. Now I know that a great Photoshopping wizard could just smooth out our arms so that it looked like they were completely there. I don't know how to do that or feel like learning, so I just made sure that the canvas begins to wrap RIGHT at the edge where our arms are. I filled in the rest of the space very slowly and carefully with the clone tool, cloning the patches of grass and the tree from the other side of the image. This would be much more difficult if everything in this image were in focus, but since Stephanie kept only Erik and me in focus, it was easier to recreate a blurred out background when I needed to extend the image. It was a little tricky, and it's hard to get it perfect, especially right along the sides of our bodies, but I think when it's printed it will be subtle and overall look cohesive with the rest of the image.

So the final grouping of canvases SHOULD look like this when it's all up on my wall and pretty :)


I'll post a photo of the final product when my babies arrive in the mail... don't let me forget ;)

It's not too difficult to DIY your canvas prep, but when in doubt, and especially for an image like the last one, I'd consult the photographer who took the photos for you. Part of the reason you pay them so much for a canvas is to ensure they will be sized and extended properly to showcase the image in the best way possible.

Do you have your own canvas ordering tips? A favorite company? Leave a comment to let us know!