Canvas Quilt Art Tutorial

This is a quick, cheap and easy project with huge eye-candy payoff. This project is highly customizable - use whatever fabric you have or are coveting and any size canvas. This would make an amazing piece on a larger scale or done in a grouping of three or five. I plan on making another one for my son's room with a larger canvas and this urban landscape fabric.

What you'll need:
Store bought canvas {the one I used is 8x10}
Large-scale printed quilting or home dec weight fabric*
Staple gun and staples
Cotton or polyester batting*
Backing fabric {I used a large scrap}*
Coordinating thread {I used a variegated bright Gutterman}
Sewing machine

*to determine fabric requirements, take the canvas size and add 8" to each number. For example, an 8x10 canvas will require about a 16x18 piece of fabric.

Let's get started!

I used batting scraps and fused them together with Heat Press. Awesome stuff and easy to use. If you don't have this, it's totally okay to butt your batting pieces up against each other and zig-zag them together.

Make a quilt sandwich by laying your fabric face down, laying down the batting and then topping it off with your backing piece. No one will see the backing, so use whatever you have on hand for this.

Use safety pins or a large basting stitch to hold the sandwich {sammich} together. You don't need a lot of them - I think I used 7 or 8.

I used a Gutterman verigated thread. For this project, use a thread color that contrasts a little or is the darkest color in the fabric. The idea is for the quilting to stand out a bit but not overpower.

Start with needle down and start sewing, pivoting the fabric as needed to navigate around curves or corners. {Needle down, presser foot up, turn sammich, presser foot down} I used my regular foot for this, but you can use a walking foot or a free-motion quilting foot if you want. Start in the middle of your fabric and just start working your way out, following the outlines of your shapes. I did mine a little messy and amoeba-like to kind of go along with the abstract vibe of the fabric.

This fabric kind of allowed me to do some figure-8 kind of wandering. I literally just followed the outline of the circles.

Mmmm. Yum.

This is the back - you can see where I went over some of my lines a few times. It creates depth to have heavy quilting, so really - there's no wrong way to do this. Do as much or as little quilting as you want.

Trim sammich to about 2"all around your canvas.

Starting on one of the long sides, fold the raw edge under about 1/2".....

.....and pull taught over the edge of the frame.

Staple in place. Turn piece to the other long side....

...and do the same. Simple upholstery techniques at play here.

Then do the same with the short edges.

Work your way around the canvas, alternating opposite sides, until you reach the corners. Leave at least 1" of space in the corners for tucking.

Remove a little bit of the corner to reduce bulk. {This cut piece was about 1 1/2" square.}

Pull the de-bulked sammich corner to the middle of the canvas corner and hold.....

.....while you pull the top flap over it, making sure to keep the edges folded under. Hold in place......

...while you pull the other flap over.

Staple all layers in place. Repeat with other corners.

This is the back - it ain't pretty, but it works.

Et voila! Tres chic, non?

Some other fabric suggestions:

For halloween...
Alexander Henry "Ghastlies"
This would be awesome quilted in shimmery black thread!
{I'm slightly obsessed with this fabric right now.}

Michael Miller "Forest Life"
So cute for a baby room with a silvery gray or pearl color thread. I would do a little echo quilting on this.

Michael Miller "Frieda Frill"
You could do a pop of color with this using red, eggplant or citron colored thread. You could even use some embroidery floss to hand quilt or embellish this!

For xmas! How stinkin' cute!
Michael Miller "Yule Trees"


  1. Very cool! Thanks for the tutorial and nice nails!!

  2. Andie that's so cool! The quilting really adds a lot, instead of just stretching fabric over the canvas. And I want some ghastlies too :)

  3. ooh, that ghastlies fabric is new! I made a table runner for a friend last year with that line. Loved it!

  4. Beautiful! What a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing.

  5. We should be friends! I love quilting anything and making it into artwork. Quilting really is that--art! And ps, I am in love with Ghastlies fabric. I have two of the collection just dying to become Halloween decor. Love, love, love it!

  6. This is hilarous! I used that exact same fabric and attached it to a very similar frame (from Ikea) but instead of quilting, I embroidered beads to the flowers. It now hangs in my office. Great minds think alike!!

  7. What fabric did you use? Love it!!!!

  8. I would love love to know where you bought the fabric that you used to cover the canvas!

  9. Holley - I bought this Alexander Henry Fabric at a local quilt shop last year.


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