Santa Canvas

Santa Canvas

I like to make many of my holiday decorations by using different items from various sources.  Today I’m going to show you how I made my Santa Clause Canvas.  I got this idea from the YouTuber May May Made It Crafts She is a very inspiring artist.

Supplies Needed

  • What you will need is an 8” x 10” light weight cotton duck canvas.  I got mine from Michaels in a pack of “Artist’s Loft” 10+2 Super Value Canvas Pack on sale.  Mine is archival, acid free, and was titanium acrylic gesso primed. 
  • You will also need a background designer paper.  I used a sheet from my commercial use digital 8.5” x 11” collection “Vintage Script” in my etsy store   
  • I had the sheet printed out on a laser printer at Staples, since my printer at home is inkjet.  I prefer to use laser jet instead of inkjet printing on mixed media projects like these to avoid ink bleeding when wet substances like modpodge glue or gesso is added.
  • In addition to your canvas and background paper you will need a big paint brush and smaller ones (I used a 3” one made by plaid and the smaller brushes came in a kit by Daler Rowney, “Artist Choice  Value Set”)
  • white gesso
  • modpodge glue
  • a napkin with your preferred holiday image
  • some stencils
  • modeling paste or thick paint
  • spatula or flat knife (be careful not to cut yourself)
  • extra decorative elements.

The Process

Step1. I first began by adding a thick coat of modpodge all over the front of the canvas, spreading it evenly using the brush.  I then added the background paper by centering it and smoothing it down across the canvas. 

I added a little more glue to the center and spread it out over top the image, making sure that there were no air pockets between it and the canvas. 

adding thin layer of gesso

While the canvas was still wet, I tore away the excess edges, giving the paper a distressed look.   I allowed the canvas to dry overnight.  You don’t have to wait that long.  You could dry it using an embossing tool.

Step2. Once the canvas was dry, I added a thin layer of gesso across the face of it, using vertical paint strokes.  I added more paint to the center where the napkin image would get placed.

3-ply napkin with Santa image.

Step3. After the gesso completely dried, I got my 3-ply napkin out.  I removed the first two solid napkins that were attached to the one with the image.  I then tore out the image from that napkin.

Two solid napkins removed from 3-ply unit

I added some modpodge to the face of the canvas, in the same manner as the technique used in step 1.  Next, I added the Santa Claus image by placing it in the center of the canvas.  Starting in the center of the image, I gently pressed it into the canvas, using outward strokes of the brush until it was completely adhered.  I let the image dry overnight.

adding image to canvas using brush
added Distress Oxide ink to canvas

Step4. I took out my Tim Holtz distress oxide ink “Vintage Photo” and lightly distressed the canvas to give it an aged look. 

Adding gold Faber_Castell Texture Luxe using Anna Griffin stencil

Next, I got out my “Anna Griffin 8” x 8” Pochoir Botanical Damask Stencil” and “Faber-Castell Texture Luxe-Gold” to give the canvas more dimension. I also added in some “Faber Castell Asphalt Texture” paste mixed with gesso. 

Faber Caste Texture Luxe Gold

I used the stencil in opposite corners of the canvas by adding a thin layer of gold texture over top of it. 

gesso and asphalt texture mixture added to canvas corners

Then I took the asphalt and gesso mixtures and added it to the adjacent corners.  I let them dry overnight.  Once again, you do not have to wait that long.  Drying it with an embossing tool will work just fine. 

Step 5

I then took some white paint and gesso and used a small brush (Brush #10 of Daler Rowney Flat) to highlight the stenciled and asphalt textures.  I dipped my paint brush into water first and then mixed it with the paint on the canvas over top the textures to dilute the paint.  I then took a dry rag and dabbed over some of the gold texture so it could bleed through the white gesso. 

Next, I used some green and red acrylic paint (Americana Black Green, Apple Barrel English Ivy green, and Apple Berry Spiced Berry) to accent the shadows on Santa clause’s image.  I used the green on the grass and blended some of the left-over white paint at the bottom to soften the color. I did this using brush “number 1 round” with circular motion.  I added in thin streaks of grass using brush number 0/3 liner”.

Lastly, I took “brush number 1 round” and dipped it into some water and diluted gesso and plucked paint across the canvas to give it the look of snow.

The project is complete.  You can garnish it with extra elements at this point.  I simply took some Diamond Stickles by Ranger and added it on Santa’s coat.

finished canvas

I hope this process was helpful.  Have a great day!

Creating a Distressed, Framed Style

Styles are great and convenient assets used to reproduce a particular look on various elements. Today I am going to demonstrate how I created a simple distressed, overlay style in Adobe Photoshop. I’m using a Windows PC. The software version I’m using is Photoshop CC 2019.

With a document open and a layer selected go to your menu bar and click “Layer”>”Layer Style”>”Bevel and Emboss”.

The layer style dialogue box will open. There you will input the dimensions as follow:

To the left of the Layer Style dialogue box check the box beside “Bevel & Emboss”. Over to the right under “Structure” choose “Outer Bevel” in the Style drop down list. For Technique choose “Smooth” in that drop down list. Leave the “Depth” at 100% with the “Direction” circle highlighted “down”. Make the size 6px, and Soften 5px. These measurements can be made by either manually typing in the number into the box or by clicking and dragging the handle across to the correct position.

Under “Shading” make sure that the Angle is set to 120 degrees, the “Use Global Light” box is left unchecked, and that the “Altitude” is 30 degrees. Beside “Highlight Mode” choose “overlay” in the drop down list. Set the opacity to 40%. For Shadow Mode choose “Linear Burn” in the drop down list with an opacity set to 65%.

Add dimensions into Layer Style Dialogue Box

Next , to the left of the Layer Style Dialogue box check the box beside “Contour” and double click “Contour” to choose the correct elements. Under “Elements”, to the right of “Contour” click on the arrow and Choose the “Linear” option in the drop down list. Make sure that the box beside Anti-Aliased is left unchecked and that the range is set to 100%.

Then check the box beside “Inner Shadow”. Double Click “Inner Shadow” to view the elements within that asset. Under “Structure” Make the Blend Mode” set to “Linear burn” in the drop down list, with an Opacity set to 10%. Make sure that the Angle is set to 90 degrees and the box beside the “Use Global Light” is left unchecked. Set the Distance to Zero pixels (0px) and the choke is Zero Percent 90%). Make the size 18px. These adjustments can be made by either manually typing the number into the boxes or by clicking and dragging the handles across to the suited amount.

For the Quality, leave the Contour set at “Linear” which was already selected earlier. Make sure that the Noise is set to zero percent (0%).

Next check the box beside “Inner Glow” to the left of the Layer Style dialogue box; Then double click “Inner Glow”. Under “Structure” Make sure that the Blend Mode is set to “linear Burn” in the drop down list with an Opacity set to 35% and Noise set to 15%.

Make sure that the circle beside the “Color Picker” box is highlighted then click the box. This open up the Color Picker (Inner Glow Color) dialogue box. Choose a medium to light color brown. I used #947754. You can drag the circle in the color picker box to the shade of your liking or manually type in the digits in the # box.

Once the color has been chosen, choose the transparency you like. I used the “Foreground to Transparent” gradient selection. You can acquire this option by clicking on the dropdown arrow beside the gradient box and choose from the list.

Under “Elements” set the “Technique” to softer, and make sure that the circle beside “Edge” is highlighted for the Source. Set the Choke to zero percent (0%) and the size to 84px.

Under Quality, make sure the contour is still set to Linear with the box beside “Anti-Aliased” left unchecked. Set the Range to 50% and and the Jitter to zero percent (0%).

You are now ready to save and name your style. To the right of the Layer Style dialogue box, click “New Style…”. The New Style box opens. You can give it a name. I named mine “Frame Shadow Overlay”. Then Click “Okay”. Your Style is now ready.

You should be able to find it at the very bottom of the Styles Window. Typically, the very last style you add will show at the very end of the list of styles.

This style can provide numerous looks for the enthused digital crafter.

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