Inside: how to make a mixed media canvas with found objects that create amazing texture


I thought a lot about what to give my sister for her birthday. Ironically, in the past I used to buy her gifts, never thinking of making her one myself. This year I decided to change the tradition and create her gift myself! I wanted it to be really special and beautiful so I created a collage mixed media canvas with a photo of us when we were kids. This is her favorite photo of us so I was sure she will like it.





A lot of people ask me where I get the materials to make such type of canvases and how they can get them too.

The main principle you need to know is that every object you use on this canvas should have texture. It means that flat objects are less recommended so it's best to use 3D objects that have texture, shape and height.

Here are some ideas:

  • Buttons
  • Clock parts
  • Fabric and paper flowers
  • Small toys
  • Beads
  • Keys
  • Metal objects
  • Chipboard pieces




The technique for this mixed media canvas is not new and you can find it on You Tube and other websites. I played with this technique and I wanted to share my insights and experience with it and a few new ideas as well.













The step by step video tutorial shows you how to create these colorful, shade changing, textural effects from start to finish, and also how to incorporate a photo in your creation.

Here's how:

  1. Attach a photo to the canvas.
  2. Add 3D objects around the photo covering the entire surface of the canvas.
  3. Cover the objects with gesso.
  4. Put a dry baby wipe or paper towel over the photo to protect it.
  5. Spray canvas with sprays to color the objects.
  6. Add higlights with white paint.






Making a mixed media canvas is a great opportunity to use your stash! I'm a hoarder of things, especially small objects of any kind. I have so many small embellishments, toys, metal findings, and basically a lot of junk. Don't judge but I can even find stuff when I'm walking in the street, it may be a screw or a washer. I especially love going to motor garages or industrial areas, you can find a lot of treasures there. The point is that I have so much stuff that making such a canvas is a great opportunity to use them and basically recycle or upcycle these objects.













Check out more ideas for this technique:

Tutorial to create a texture mixed media canvas

Triple frame collage


If you need more convincing to make mixed media projects check out the 7 reasons to make mixed media projects.


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Have fun creating!


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Einat Kessler


Hello crafty friends!
I'm Einat: creative professional,mixed media artist, scrapbook and paper designer, altering enthusiast and class instructor.
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The designs, pictures and instructions listed on this blog are provided here for personal use only and may not be sold, reproduced or used for commercial or submission purposes in any form without my written permission.