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Easy Canvas Painting Frame Craft

For this fun kids craft I'm taking you with me down memory lane, back to when my now five- and six-year-old boys were wee toddlers of one and three. They loved painting canvases, so we did MANY versions of this craft. This is the version we started with: a framed photo on painted canvas.

Family photos by Orange County photographer, @MadeleineJLphotography


 For this simple craft, you need:


  1. 5x7 photograph
  2. White canvas, 8x10
  3. Paint(we STILL have and use these paints 4 years later)
  4. Paint brushes
  5. Mod Podge, Matte finish
  6. Paper plate (or egg carton or another container for holding the paints)

 And of course you need a favorite small human or two!

Either choose the paint colors yourself, or allow your child to choose from a few pre-approved (by you!) options that will go well together. In our house, this meant I hid the black and brown.

Protect your table if cleaning is not your favorite—I used a shower curtain as our craft table cover. I got it for home birth purposes for Sagan (Child #2) but he arrived three weeks early while my midwife vacationed five hours away. Hello hospital baby, and hello new craft table cover!

Set your kiddo up with their paint, paint brushes, and blank canvas.  Let them paint their little hearts out, encouraging them to cover as much white as their attention span allows. I like the foam paint brushes for little kids—one stroke covers a decent amount of canvas.

For Sagan, who was about a year and a half, I gave him one color at a time and fresh paint brushes with each color so he wouldn't mix the paint into brownish grey goop. When he bored of a color he would point imperiously and command, "This!" until I correctly chose his desired shade and set him up with it. Zoa was three, so I felt more confident providing him with multiple colors and paint brushes and letting him do his thing.

Once your child finishes painting the canvas, let it dry.

Once it dries, grab the canvas, your 5x7 photo, a paint brush, and your Mod Podge (aka fancy glue!). You can grab your kid as well and have them do this part, or you can do what I did, and omit the kid.

Using your paint brush, apply a layer of Mod Podge to the bottom of your photo and glue it to the center of the canvas. Then apply a layer of Mod Podge right over the top of the picture and the entire canvas area. It looks white when you apply over the picture and painting, but never fear, it dries clear, and it leaves a nice matte finish to your kid’s artwork.

If you want to go big, have your kid(s) paint a bigger canvas and create a collage with multiple photos, like we did here:

Family photos by Orange County photographer, @MadeleineJLphotography


Grandmas go crazy for these. This was a 16x20-inch canvas with ten 4x6 photos. Same process—paint then dry then Mod Podge then dry.

That's it! Buy plenty of canvases and repeat as many times as your child desires. Soon you'll have canvas frames for gifts for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas and beyond!

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