Diy: how to glue posters to canvas

Updated April 17, 2017

Posters are simply images printed on paper, designed to be hung on walls. Over the years, posters have been used for politics, for advertising and for art. The modern poster was refined in the late 1800s, after lithography was introduced to the public, but hand printed posters date even further back. In the modern era, vintage, movie and band posters have become quite popular among collectors and enthusiasts. Pasting a poster to canvas makes it more artful and more decorative, although there is still some debate over whether it devalues the value of collector posters.

Fill a spray bottle with warm water. Spray a layer of warm water on the back of the mounted canvas. Allow the mounted canvas to dry. The warm water will tighten the canvas as it dries. You can purchase mounted canvases at most craft stores. Choose a mounted canvas as close as possible to the size of the poster you wish to mount.

Prime your canvas by applying two coats of canvas primer to the surface of the canvas, allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. Allow the second coat to dry thoroughly before proceeding. If your mounted canvas is already primed, you can skip this step.

Paint the sides of the mounted canvas. Choose a colour that complements the colours of the poster you intend to mount. Apply two coats of paint to the edges of the mounted canvas, allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. Allow your paint to dry before proceeding.

Lay the poster you wish to mount face down on a flat surface, such as a table. Place the mounted canvas over the poster, centring it over the area of the poster you wish to display.

Use the pencil to trace the outline of the mounted canvas.

Use the scissors to cut along the traced lines. The closer the mounted canvas is in size to the poster you wish to mount, the less you will need to cut away. Set the trimmed poster aside for the time being.

Mix one part white glue, or PVA craft glue, with one part water. Mix well.

Place the mounted canvas on a flat surface with the canvas surface facing up.

Use the paintbrush to coat the surface of the canvas with the glue and water mixture. Apply an even coat. Cover every bit of exposed canvas.

Soak the poster in water for exactly 10 seconds, in order to soften it. More than 10 seconds will result in the paper becoming fragile or even falling apart.

Lay the soaked poster over the glue-covered surface of the mounted canvas. Center the poster so that the edges of the poster align with the edges of the mounted canvas. The poster's image should be facing outward with the blank side, or back, of the poster resting against the glue-coated surface of the canvas.

Use your hands to adjust the poster so that there are no obvious ridges or bubbles. Be careful when adjusting your poster, as the dampened paper will tear easily.

Roll a paint roller over the surface of your poster to conform the dampened paper to the texture of the canvas, seal the paper to the glue and remove any remaining bubbles. Paint rollers can be purchased at a local hardware store. The thicker the paint roller tube, the more it will help your poster to conform to the ridges of the mounted canvas.

Allow the paper, glue and canvas to dry overnight.

Use a paintbrush or spray bottle to coat the surface of the poster and the sides of the canvas with a thin layer of PVA gel medium. PVA gel mediums are available in gloss finish or matt, and can be purchased at a local craft store. Gloss PVA gel will leave a glossy shine, while the matt variety will seal your poster without the glossy shine, lending to a more natural finish. Cover the entire surface of the poster, as well as the sides of the mounted canvas. Apply two coats, allowing the first to dry before applying the second.

Allow the poster-covered canvas to dry overnight after the second coat, and then frame or hang your canvas poster art as desired.


PVA gel mediums work best for finishing, but clear acrylic finish will work in a pinch. Use acid-free canvas to prolong the life of your canvas-mounted poster.


Use paint, glue and finishes only in well-ventilated areas. The fumes can cause headaches, dizziness and other side effects. Use caution when cutting the poster. Mishandling of scissors can cause injury, and a poster cut poorly cannot be repaired.

Things You'll Need

  • Stretched and mounted canvas
  • Canvas primer
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Poster
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • PVA glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • PVA gel medium
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About the Author

Cristel Wood is a writer specializing in food, photography, gardening and video games. She holds an Associate of Arts from South Puget Sound Community College and has worked for her local Parks & Recreation department, Mt. Baker ski area, Vista Village Retirement Community and has taught ESL in Peru.