Will Vinyl Stick to Canvas?

If you are looking to create unique, one of a kind vinyl projects, you can try your hand in applying vinyl to plain or painted canvas. Because yes, it will stick, but there are techniques to make this project possible since by default heat transfer vinyl is the vinyl of choice for fabric and canvas. But if you don’t have heat transfer vinyl, don’t fret, you can use permanent vinyl instead. This will work well on plain and painted canvas.

How to Make Vinyl Stick to Canvas

There are a number of materials you can purchase to get vinyl decals to stick or adhere better to canvas.

Here are some examples:

  1. Spray Adhesive

For vinyl on canvas projects, applying this spray is the best method to use since it’s convenient to use and spreads evenly to the surface of the canvas and dries quickly. They come in cans similar to spray paint and sometimes are alternately called multipurpose adhesive.  


  1. Paint

Acrylic paint can also be used as an alternative for vinyl decals to stick to canvas, more so if you are creating a mixed media (paint and  vinyl) project. Simply apply your paint thinly and evenly. Allow to dry, and apply the vinyl.

If you do not have any adhesive on hand, you can also simply apply white acrylic paint onto the entire canvas, thinly and evenly. Allow to dry completely before applying vinyl.

The layer of painted canvas will act as a sticky film to help the vinyl decal stick better.

how to make vinyl stick to canvas

  1. Mod Podge or Modge Podge

Mod Podge comes in different formats depending on where it will be applied. For this project, the classic Mod Podge will suffice. Make sure to apply Mod Podge thinly and evenly throughout the canvas, and allow it to dry completely.

Mod Podge or Modge Podge
  1. Glue

If you do not have any of the abovementioned adhesive items with you, you can use any all purpose glue. Following the same procedure, apply the glue thinly and evenly throughout the entire canvas, and allow it to completely dry.

glue for vinyl


Now that you have an idea on the different types of adhesives you can use for your vinyl on canvas DIY projects, let’s proceed to creating our canvas project.


  1. Cutting Machines or Cutter Plotters

Cutting machines are programmable machines used to cut vinyl stickers with precision. Most popular of these machines are the Silhouette vinyl cutter and Cricut vinyl cutter. Both Silhouette and Cricut machines have their respective downloadable softwares (with free versions available), that allow users to create and save design images. There are many Silhouette and Cricut tutorials online to get you started.

cricut machine for vinyl cutting
cricut design space


  1. Plain Canvas  

You can purchase plain canvas from any dollar store or craft store. They come in many different sizes. You can make projects using different sizes, so best to stock up on this item if you see yourself going in the direction of creating vinyl decal  designs on canvas.


plain canvas for vinyl
  1. Adhesive vinyl

Depending on your design, you can choose from a wide array of permanent adhesive vinyl here, and be mesmerized at the number of colors, textures and designs available. 

vinyl sheets
vinyl sheets

vinyl sheets
vinyl sheets

vinyl sheets
vinyl sheets

vinyl sheets
vinyl sheets for canvas

  1. Weeding Pens

weeding pen is an essential tool for crafters and hobbyists alike. The smooth pointed tip easily removes even the smallest design details from your project, and its ergonomic shape makes it comfortable to hold for long periods of time.

The weeding pens come in different attractive colors and designs, you’ll definitely want to have all the designs to complement your crafting mood.

vinyl weeding pens
vinyl weeding pens

vinyl weeding pens
vinyl weeding pens

  1. Squeegee

Squeegees are used in applying transfer paper to vinyl and are very important in removing air bubbles in your design projects. 



A cutting mat is also a must to work on your projects.

weeding accessories


  1. Transfer Tape or Contact Paper

Transfer tape  or transfer paper is a flexible film that allows the vinyl sticker to stick to the surface more easily. The grid guide also lets you know exactly where you are placing your sticker.

transfer paper


However, many crafters also prefer to use contact paper instead of transfer tape since this type of paper is less sticky, and makes for easy peeling once applied to the canvas. A popular paper brand is contact paper.

  1. Spray adhesive

As discussed previously, there are a number of adhesives available to use. You are free to choose any for this project. However, it would also be nice to try different adhesive materials to see how they work with this project (and other projects for that matter),  moreso if you are doing this for the first time.

As a crafter, sometimes it's hit or miss in using craft materials, so best to discover what will work well for you.

spray adhesive

Getting Started

Step # 1:

Use your preferred permanent adhesive vinyl color when applying designs to your canvas.
With your preferred cutting machine, It is best to create designs with thicker elements and fonts because the thicker surface area will adhere better to the canvas.  

If you have pre-made designs, you can adjust them using software provided by the cutting machine company.

Step # 2:

Weed the design using your weeding pen and apply the vinyl design to your transfer tape or contact paper. Set aside. Collect any excess vinyl that you can still use for other projects.

Step # 3:

To ensure that the vinyl lies flat on the canvas, do this on a smooth surface and place something like a stack of printer paper, cardboard or cardstock under it.

Spray a light coat of adhesive all over the front of your canvas, enough to cover the entire canvas.

Don't use too much; just enough to make the vinyl adhere. It will feel sticky when it's wet, but it won't be sticky once it is dry.

Step # 4:

Firmly place and position the transfer tape with the vinyl design on to the canvas. If your transfer tape has a grid design, you can use this as a guide when applying your vinyl design onto the canvas.

With your squeegee, burnish the vinyl onto the canvas applying firm pressure.

Do not be afraid to use firm hard strokes since the canvas is supported by a hard and firm backing.

Step # 5:

When putting vinyl on canvas, peel the transfer tape gently, starting from the upper left corner and proceed gently in a diagonal direction so that the vinyl adheres to the canvas completely and securely.


Frequently Asked Questions

What types of permanent vinyl can I use for canvas?

You can use premium commercial grade vinyl.

The only limitation in creating wonderful designs is our imagination. There are so many adhesive vinyl colors and color combinations available to create a one of a kind customized project.

1. Opal Vinyls

These vinyls come in a variety of eye-catching and captivating colors. The chrome finish feature of this vinyl will surely make your design elements pop out. A designer’s wish is fulfilled.

2. Reflective Vinyls

Reflective vinyls come in 5 amazing shades, perfect for all occasion designs that require reflective design element functionality.

3. Shimmer Vinyls

These vinyls are made of weather-resistant vinyl and sturdy backing, the material can be easily cut and weeded without a mess.  You can apply this vinyl on canvas.

With its beautiful colors and shimmery tones, this vinyl is a cost-saving solution for your art projects.

4. Mirror Chrome Vinyls

Mirror chrome vinyls is a new type of vinyl that’s perfect for any craft project! Our Mirror Chrome Vinyl reflects light, making it stand out from other types of vinyl.

It features a soft material that will conform to all shapes, angles, and contours.

5. Satin Brush Vinyls

Satin brush vinyls shiny chrome-like finish will allow you to mimic the deep space of stars glittering in the night sky.

6. Glitter Brush Vinyls

This glitter vinyl is perfect if you love all things bright, shiny and fun! With many different glittery designs to choose from, you can make your favorite crafts stand out from the crowd.

7. Textured Metallic Vinyls

Give your art projects a touch of upscale style with our Textured Metallic Vinyl Roll. This shiny, textured vinyl has a metallic-leaf effect with a glossy finish.You can apply this vinyl on canvas.

Can I use a hair dryer to hasten the drying process of the adhesive used?

Your best bet is to have your canvas air dried, or even left overnight to completely dry before applying vinyl, better this than using a hair dryer to hasten the drying process.

Getting vinyl to stick is the main purpose in having a properly treated, dried and aired canvas.

Can I use the vinyl as a stencil material for this canvas project?

Yes, the vinyl design will act as a stencil once applied on the canvas. You can then paint over the vinyl and remove it, you can see your painted artwork on the canvas. This is how vinyl works as a stencil material.

Can I use htv and permanent vinyl at the same time for this project?

Remember, in applying htv you need a heat press. So if you want to go this route, apply the htv first then the permanent vinyl after.

If you apply permanent vinyl first and htv after, the heat press will ruin the permanent vinyl.


If you're looking for simple, unique, handmade, one of a kind, do-it-yourself projects to keep you busy and entertained, visit our blog to find wonderful craft ideas and tips to get you started on your vinyl crafting journey.

Happy crafting!

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