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Silhouette Vinyl on Canvas: 6 Tips to Success!

Vinyl, Silhouette, canvas, tips, success

It's not uncommon to have to fight with vinyl to get it to stick to canvas.  For whatever reason - and I believe there are several - it's just plain tough to get vinyl to stick to stretched canvas.  The edges peel up, it's not sticky enough to release from the transfer tape, there are bubbles...oh the drama.  But...no more, my friends. Today I have six tips to help you successfully get vinyl on canvas without the headache.




I know you're going to ask - what type of canvas I'm using so let's just get that out of the way first. I bought this two back of 11x14" stretched canvases on sale at Michaels.  Nothing special..just the regular stapled-back canvases that they always sell in various sizes.


Vinyl, Silhouette, canvas, tips, success

Now let's get started on putting the vinyl onto the canvas.
 
#1 The first thing you want to do is make sure you're using the right kind of vinyl.  When working with canvas, I highly suggest using adhesive vinyl such as Oracal 651.  This vinyl is much stickier than indoor vinyl that just has more of a cling than an adhesive back.   The extra stick will obviously help it adhere to the canvas better.

#2 When it comes to cutting - try not to cut too thin - you want to make sure each piece has enough surface area to actually have a chance of sticking.  If you have fonts that need to be thickened up slightly, you can do that with an offset. Read this tutorial for detailed instructions.

After your design is cut you're going to want to weed and then put it onto transfer paper to get ready to move it.   But...before you move it to the canvas you want to prep your canvas.  There are a few steps here that will help you successfully get the vinyl to stick.

Trick #3 is to give your canvas a hard backing.  Part of the problem - perhaps the biggest when working with vinyl - is that it's not a hard surface.  The vinyl is stretched, but there's still some give making it tough to really be able to firmly press the vinyl on.  But if you flip the canvas over and put something like a stack of printer paper (I had this box of photo paper that fit perfectly in this 11x14 canvas) under the canvas to fill in the stretched area it provides a hard temporary backing.

Vinyl, Silhouette, canvas, tips, successVinyl, Silhouette, canvas, tips, success

Next, you want to spray a light coat of spray adhesive all over the front of your canvas.  The keyword here is 'light.' You don't want - or need - it super heavy just enough to help the vinyl adhere. Now you're thinking...but my canvas will be all sticky.  Yes, it will...until the spray adhesive dries.  Then it won't be sticky anymore.

Vinyl, Silhouette, canvas, tips, success, craft bond

#5 Now it's time to flip over your transfer paper to put the vinyl onto the canvas.  When you have the vinyl in position press it onto the canvas using your hand.  Then use the Silhouette scraper to really burnish the vinyl onto the canvas.  You can do this pretty hard since you have the stack of paper making the back of the canvas firm.

Vinyl, Silhouette, canvas, tips, success, burnish

If you don't have a scraper - and it's one of the tools I would definitely recommend - you can use something like a credit card although it's not quite as rigid which is what makes the scraper so nice to work with.  Concentrate on the very small areas.

Finally, after you've pressed the entire image down, start at a corner to diagonally pull off the transfer paper.  Pulling in this direction seems to help keep the vinyl from pulling up with the transfer paper.

Vinyl, Silhouette, canvas, tips, success, transfer paper

One final note, I have been asked repeatedly if it's necessary to seal over the vinyl. In my experience, I have never sealed over vinyl. Putting certain finishes and sealants over vinyl can actually damage it and cause it to crack or curl...as seen here

Vinyl, Silhouette, canvas, tips, success

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I received a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine! 
 
Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!


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20 comments

  1. Do you let the spray adhesive dry completely or leave tacky when applying the 651 vinyl?

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    Replies
    1. Hi...
      Apply the vinyl right after you spray the adhesive. I did it this morning and it worked!
      I was coming here to let it be known and saw your question.

      Delete
  2. I am working on a canvas bag project. I am having a hard time getting the vinyl to stick to the bag. I want to paint over the vinyl and use it as a stencil. Will the spray adhesive work on a canvas bag as well?

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  3. Love the file you used, but couldn't find it at the Silhouette store. :-(

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  4. Thanks for the tips. I just successfully finished my first canvas.

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  5. Not sure if you are going to end up with several of these, I'm not sure what my computer is doing. I am wondering if you have ever used HTV on canvas?

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  6. I have heard that if you use gesso on the canvas to prep it the vinyl will stick.

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  7. Will this work if you have painted your canvas?

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  8. Thanks for the tips - used them today with great success!

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  9. I was going to attempt this, but using the PVPP method with acrylic paint. Would sealing with matte mod podge be a good idea before applying the vinyl? I was going to use Oracal 631.

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  10. I was going to attempt this, but using the PVPP method with acrylic paint. Would sealing with matte mod podge be a good idea before applying the vinyl? I was going to use Oracal 631.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello, would this still work if I painted my canvas a base color?

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  12. Use HTV, sticks like a dream.

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  13. Use HTV, sticks like a dream.

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  14. I wish I would have read this before I made a huge picture for the place I work out. They had homemade acoustic panels 4 ft. square made with a beige loose canvas fabric. I probably should have tried HTV instead of Oracal 631 but getting it ironed sounds hard too. I didn't want to use the outdoor type because I didn't want the glossy finish. I couldn't find an outdoor type in matte. When I do this again, I'm trying the spray adhesive.

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  15. I just discovered this tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing. I love the anchor image. Can you tell me where you got it?

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  16. I just discovered this tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing. I love the anchor image. Can you tell me where you got it?

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  17. Is it necessary to use the transfer paper?

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  18. Is it necessary to use the transfer paper?

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  19. Do you think it will work on painted canvas? I don't a white background.

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