The Love Sign

Every holiday or gift giving time, I try so hard to think of something to get my husband. He is so simple in what he wants or needs, but it seems as every time I get him something pricey or “exciting” he never really ends up using it. I have bought him ipods, coin miscroscopes, DVD players, and on and on. He is grateful and appreciative of course, but they never really get much use. The things he seems to use or like the best are the more sentimental things I make him, like the Photobooks of each year. I make him a photobook every Christmas with pictures of the past year. He loves those and shows them to everyone.

I have to admit, he is much more romantic than I am. I like practical things like vaccuum cleaners or maybe a new pair of boots, but I don’t get too gushy over sentimental items. I cherish them, but I can’t really use them. Does that make sense?

So, this year, I tried something different for Valentine’s Day. I had seen a few different ideas on how to transfer photos or photo copies to canvases. I really liked the way they looked and how personal and easy it was to customize. I decided to do a very simple Love sign that had all of our special dates on it from our relationship: the day we met, our first date, the day he proposed, and of course our wedding date.

I created the sign in Photoshop and then I had it printed at a local print store on regular paper in color. There are 2 important things that have to be done in order to make this work. You have to flip the image vertically in your photo program before printing it, therefore, it won’t turn out on the canvas backwards. And you have to have it printed on a laser printer. So here is my image before I flipped it:

I had a few copies made just in case something went wrong. Next, I bought a canvas board to put the image on. You also need gel medium, but I have that from painting. I use the Liquitex Brand Gloss Gel Medium. You can buy it at any craft store.

The next step is to prepare the canvas board. You need to apply a thick coating of the gel medium onto the canvas board. I used quite a bit just to make sure it stuck. Then, place the image ink side down on the canvas. You need to use a credit card, back of a spoon, or the body of a round paint brush to smooth out the image on the the canvas. Make sure every piece of the paper is firmly pressed down and that there are no bubbles.

Then, you let it dry over night. Next, you will need a spray bottle. You soak the top of the canvas with water and let it set for a minute. This is the tricky part. You don’t want to rub too hard with your finger and tear the image, buy you must rub vigourously to get the top portion of the paper off to reveal the image underneath. It took me about 3 different soakings and rubbings to get the image to look the way I wanted it to look.

Finally, after all the rubbing is done, I applied a thick coat of the gel medium. And that was that! I really like the look of it and I think my Valentine will like it too. Shhh, don’t tell him what I got him.

You could do this with photos, signs, or anything that you want to have on a canvas that you can print on paper. It was fun and something different to do.

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