Tutorial - 3-by-3 kiddie canvas


This nine-square picture is designed for a kid’s room and can be free-standing or hung. The squares are individual canvases padded with batting and fabric. The corner designs are appliquéd and the child's photo is inkjet-printed to a special cotton fabric. The canvases are secured together with a plastic backing and then again around the perimeter with ribbon.

Four appliqué designs need to be chosen for the corners.   There are 7 templates accompanying this tutorial: a star, heart, car, bird, flower, boat and apple.  Select from these or devise your own.  I used the first letter of the child’s name in the example above.

If you don’t want to print a picture, why not add a fifth appliqué in the centre square?

When you are making the canvas, remember to factor in some drying time.  Printed fabric often needs a number of hours – or even overnight – to dry.  Likewise you will need to allow a few hours for the craft glue to dry.

Skill level

This is a very easy project.  Your main tools are scissors, an iron and a staple gun.

If you are not confident with the embroidery component, try using a big running stitch like I have or - depending upon the design - omit the stitching all together.


·         Computer with inkjet printer

·         Iron

·         Staple gun

·         Scissors

·         Sewing needle

·         Cutting mat or similar for working on


·         Digital photograph (in my example I used very basic photo editing to cut out the little girl’s image and place her on a white background)

·         Printed appliqué designs provided with this tutorial (see below for downloadable PDF - avoid printing with scaling as this may alter the size of the pieces)
- or -
Your own designs measuring approximately 9 x 9 cm ( x ")
If you are printing a letter of the alphabet, its handy to know that there are approximately 28 points to the centimetre or 72 points to the inch.

·         9 small canvases 10 x 10 x 2.5 cm (4  x 4  x 1”)

·         A4-sized (or Letter sized) sized piece of commercial inkjet printable cotton (for example, AC Craft’s Premium or Avery’s Printable Fabric).
With some extra work you can make your own printable fabric.  To do this you treat 100% cotton with an ink fixative, dry it, iron it, de-lint it, adhere it to either freezer paper or a full page-sized label and trim it to be exactly A4 or Letter size.  Look online for full details about the process – there are a multitude of tutorials about.

·         4 pieces fusible webbing 10 x 10 cm each (for example, Vliesofix's Wonder Under or Craft Cubby's Applifix)

·         4 scraps fabric about 12 x 12 cm for appliquéing

·         9 pieces batting 10 x 10 cm (4 x 4”)

·         4 pieces fabric 23 x 23 cm (9  x 9”) suitable for the corner squares

·         4 pieces fabric 23 x 23 cm (9  x 9”) suitable for the contrast squares

·         Embroidery floss in a colour/s to complement your appliqué

·         115cm (45”) ribbon, between 1.5 and 2.5 cm (⅝ - 1”) wide

·         Thread

·         Craft glue suitable for glueing fabric, plastic and cardboard

·         30.5 x 30.5 cm (12 x 12”) piece template plastic

·         30.5 x 30.5 cm (12 x 12”) sturdy cardboard



1.       Following the manufacturer’s instructions, print your photo to the printable cloth.

Tip: Experiment on plain paper first! The main part of the picture needs to cover an area of approximately 10 x 10 cm (4 x 4”)

I centred my photo on  landscape and reduced the size considerably to make it fit. There also needs to be enough fabric on all sides to stretch over the canvas

2.      Print the appliqué patterns and trace four (or five if you are not using a photo) on to the paper side of the fusible webbing.

3.      Fuse the webbing to the fabric pieces, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Cut out each shape.

4.      Peel the backing paper from each shape.  Centre each on a square of fabric and fuse according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

5.      Centre a piece of batting at the back of each square.

Embroider through all the layers, using one or two strands of embroidery floss.

6.      Place each completed square over a canvas, right side up and check that the appliqué is correctly centred.

In my example I had to make sure the gingham was nice and square.

7.      Lie each canvas face down and secure the fabric at the back of the canvas with a staple gun.  Work from the centre out.

8.      As you work, neatly tuck in the corners, sitting the fabric as flush to the sides as possible.

9.      Secure all the folds with staples at the back of the canvas.  If there is a lot of excess fabric at the back, trim this away carefully.

10.   Cover the 5 remaining canvases (the photo and the contrast squares) in a similar manner.  To pad each square, place each one face down on a piece of batting before placing on the fabric.

11.    Lay out the nine covered canvases, organising them in the sequence you like best.

12.   Working on a board, such as a large cutting mat, flip the whole arrangement, so that the canvases are face down.  .

13.   Apply a liberal amount of craft glue to each adjoining side of each of the canvases.

14.   Push the canvases together.  Work canvas by canvas, then row by row. Push firmly to make sure all the edges meet.

15.   Place a ribbon firmly around the perimeter of the picture and stitch ends in place at the bottom of the canvas. Take care not to leave an uneven bump or over tighten the ribbon.  Secure the ribbon at each end of all four edges, using small stitches.

16.   Place template plastic over the back. Staple through the plastic into and between each canvas to secure the structure.

Glue cardboard over the top (to hide all those staples!).

17.   Allow to dry face down.  When the glue is fully dry, the picture will stand on a shelf or can be hung on a wall.




Pattern and tutorial by Liesl at Hoppo Bumpo

Blog:  http://hoppobumpo.blogspot.com

E-mail: liesl@hoppobumpo.com


Liesl Coulthard,
Aug 26, 2009, 3:26 AM
Liesl Coulthard,
Aug 26, 2009, 3:28 AM