If you've ever wanted to make a BIG piece of art and checked out the prices of canvases, I feel your pain! Sometimes I don't know what the heck I am doing and then to spend $40-100 on a stretched canvas just so I can mess it up… no no no no no, I just can't do it!

There's really no reason to spend alot on an “experiment” piece – I have found the secret to how to get large canvases on a budget!


 Cruise that clearance aisle to find damaged or ugly Large canvases for CHEAP! I found these 24″ x 24″ canvases at Hobby Lobby for $3.50 each!!!

Hobby Lobby always has canvases on clearance. And I have found some gems at Michaels, Joann Stores, and even Target! The best is when they have some mark on them and they get marked down. Who cares if you're gonna gesso over it anyways?

Here are some tips for taking a clearance canvas and making it oh so wonderful:

  • Check for good bones– I like gallery stretched canvases so I look for ones that are stretched all the way around.
  • Make sure it's smooth – check to make sure the graphics aren't plastic or vinyl, there are no hard things on it obscuring it. Sometimes they glue wood or things to the canvas as decoration – the canvas can tear if you try to rip that stuff off.
  • No gloss – make sure it doesn't have a super glossy top coat. It just makes it harder to gesso.

Here's a canvas makeover I did a few years ago:

Upcycled Dress Form Canvas by Jennifer Priest for Tombow USA - FINAL Upcycled Dress Form Canvas by Jennifer Priest for Tombow USA - detail2 Upcycled Dress Form Canvas by Jennifer Priest for Tombow USA - detail1 Upcycled Dress Form Canvas by Jennifer Priest for Tombow USA

I didn't gesso this one but it would have been a good idea! It started out as a pink canvas with a dress on it. Looks totally different now, right?

Don't run anyone over on your way to Hobby Lobby, now- And don't forget to grab a tub of gesso, too!!



Author: Jennifer Priest

It started with jewelry, beading, sewing, home decor, painting, basket weaving, pottery, and cross-stitch. Marry that to an entrepreneurial spirit & at 9 years old a girl is selling her wares at craft fairs as far as her parents and grandparents would drive her. These days, Jennifer enjoys crafts of all genres from sewing to scrapbooking to jewelry with a little dabbling in the mixed media world. Her style is approachable and she wants everyone who sees her work to feel that they too can embrace creativity and make their home and life beautiful.

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