How to Make a Reverse Canvas with Screen Printing

Jul 14, 2019 | Cricut Projects, Project Ideas, Screen Printing, Tutorials

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How to screen print reverse canvas

I recently had some requests on Instagram for a reverse canvas tutorial.  This has been something I've wanted to try.  I’m always up for a new screen printing challenge, so I gave it a shot. Here's a look at the process:

Things I Learned:

  • Canvas doesn't take screen printing ink like cotton or other surfaces.  I had some struggles with bleeding.  I was able to get just the right amount of ink and pressure to get a good print, but it did take some trial and error.
  • I tried [amazon_textlink asin='B0007ZHH3G' text='Speedball Acrylic ink' template='ProductLink' store='pigpig0b9-20′ marketplace='US' link_id='484fc47f-c190-40d7-905e-7f17a625f491′] first but settled on [amazon_textlink asin='B001038NLY' text='Speedball Fabric Ink' template='ProductLink' store='pigpig0b9-20′ marketplace='US' link_id='4949f392-4cea-4ec7-8010-7e3242d8e2c3′] because it was a little easier to use on the canvas surface.
  • I did not heat press this even though it goes against my rule of always heat pressing Speedball Fabric Ink.  Since I'm hanging it on my wall and not washing it, I skipped this step.
  • The quality of the canvas material probably makes a difference.  I was using the cheapest canvas packs I could find at Michaels.
  • Reverse canvases are so easy to make and look so nice!  I'll definitely be making more of these in the future.
  • If I'm making just one canvas, I will most likely use HTV.  But, if you want to make multiples of the same design, screen printing is the way to go (just budget a few extra canvases to practice!)

Reverse canvas screen printing tutorial diy

Supplies I Used in this Tutorial:

  • Cricut Maker
  • Handlettered Design by LindseyAshleyMakes (visit her Etsy shop to buy her screen printed totes!)
  • 12×12 Canvas
  • Oracal 651 Vinyl
  • Transfer Tape (this stuff is the best for getting your vinyl to stick to the screen!)
  • Speedball 10×14 frame
  • Speedball Squeegee
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B001038NLY' text='Speedball Fabric Ink' template='ProductLink' store='pigpig0b9-20′ marketplace='US' link_id='4949f392-4cea-4ec7-8010-7e3242d8e2c3′]
  • Painter's Tape
  • Stain or Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B000V1QV7O' text='Exacto Knife' template='ProductLink' store='pigpig0b9-20′ marketplace='US' link_id='c32cfb3b-7ff0-4b91-aeea-d4d9f30efa8b']
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B0001MQHZ4′ text='Staple Gun' template='ProductLink' store='pigpig0b9-20′ marketplace='US' link_id='a8b408e1-f53a-41a7-af52-b00a63a7a8db']


  1. Hi! Possible ridiculous question alert! But, is the frame that you used the one that was under the canvas? And, if so, do you think there’s any benefit to just pulling out the staples to unleash the canvas vs. exacto-knife cutting it away? (My head is spinning with the possibilities!) 🙂

    • Yes, exactly… you take the frame that it comes with, stain or paint it, and put it on top of the canvas!

      I tried both. Some of the staples were hard to get out so cutting with the exacto was a little easier.

  2. I have a bunch of canvases and I have noticed. Even though they say they are primed I often do my own priming with gesso and sometimes throw a coat of basic white. Have you tried this ? I’m very new in the screen printing so I don’t know if this would even work. But I find it helpful when applying vinyl.

    • I think priming them would be a great idea! I didn’t prime mine (and also used cheap canvases), so I had some trouble with bleeding. It took me a few tries to get it just right. I think a better quality and/or primed canvas would have made it much easier the 1st time! If you try it out, I’d love for you to let me know how it goes.

  3. Can you use the acrylic ink on this instead of the fabric ink? Or is the fabric better?

    • Yes! I would try to use just one squeegee of ink. The ink bleeds easily if you coat on too much ink!


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I’m Jennifer, your go-to for all things vinyl screen printing. I offer both in-person and online classes to help you craft better quality shirts. This blog is full of screen printing inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn all about screen printing with vinyl!

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