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What is the Best Canvas for Acrylic Painting?

stretched canvasesPart of the process of successfully creating an acrylic painting is choosing the right type of canvas. Canvas is a generic term used for any fabric that is used as a support for painting. There are different types of fabrics, hence, different types of canvas on the market.

Here are some of the most widely used canvases for acrylic painting:

  • Jute Canvas …is the cheapest low-grade canvas on the market. However, it tends to weaken with age and has a very coarse weave and pronounced texture. It is popular with beginning level students who are just starting to experiment with acrylics.
  • Cotton Duck Canvas …is inexpensive and popular. It is readily available in almost any art supply store in a wide range of weaves and weights. To create a smoother surface, apply gesso or primer on this canvas before painting.
  • Linen Canvas …is superior to cotton canvas. It consists of fine threads of tightly woven flax fiber. Linen canvas resists expansion and is very durable. Like cotton canvas, it is available in a wide range of weights and weaves. However, linen canvas is a bit more expensive than cotton canvas.
  • Synthetic Canvas …is a recent, happy invention. Created with tightly woven polyester fiber, it retains the look and feel of natural canvas but is more lightweight, resists warping, mold and bacteria, and stretches nicely. It is cheaper than linen and cotton canvas. As a newcomer though, its long-term durability is unknown.

Here’s a quick, helpful video that gives a brief overview of canvas board and canvas stretched over a frame.

There are a number of manufacturers of premium quality canvas all over the world. Some of the most renowned brands are:

· Blick

· Fredrix

· Mont Marte

These canvases might be available in your local art supply store. However, another — and probably cheaper — option is to look for canvas sales online. Of course, the price of canvas depends on the brand, quality of material and size.

For example, at (at the time of this writing) Premier Heavyweight Cotton Canvas (11″ × 14″) costs $38.33; Studio Gallery Cotton Canvas (11″ × 14″) costs $11.85 and Premier Gallery Cotton Canvas (11″ × 14″) costs $13.47.

You will definitely find some good deals on canvas for acrylic painting if you search for them online and do some price comparisons.

Finally, here’s another helpful video. In this one, Thomas Baker examines two types of canvas we have just discussed, cotton and linen, and the pros and cons of each. It’s an informative and entertaining overview, but please be aware that his warning about using acrylic based gesso primer on canvases intended for oil paint is irrelevant if you’re planning to paint with acrylics (which is what this blog is all about).


written by How to Paint With Acrylics staff

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All photos, images and text are copyright protected and not to be used without permission.

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