So how does an artist select the type of canvas he or she wants to paint on? It starts with learning about canvases and ends with a decision about what is best for each individual work.

How To Choose The Right Canvas

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How Do I Choose a Canvas for Painting?

If you have been painting very long, you have probably been to a craft or hobby store and seen an abundance of canvases that are ready for painting. These tend to be a little pricey, unless the store is running a good sale. Most stores do run sales regularly, so the trick is to find out when they have their best sales and stock up.

Use caution, though, and make sure you are getting the right kind of canvas for the type of painting you do. If you are ordering online, you can type in specific keywords to help ensure you get the right product.

For example, canvases that are meant to be used for acrylic painting are not appropriate for oil painting, and oil canvases should not be used for acrylics. They are primed differently, and if you use the wrong type of paint on them, it will likely peel off later on.


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Sometimes getting pre-stretched canvases is the easiest and most cost-effective way for a beginner to buy canvas, and sometimes you can even buy small practice canvases in bulk and save a lot of money.

If you plan to do a lot of painting and are getting serious about your work, you may want to consider stretching your own canvases. In this case, you need to know more about the differences in canvas types, supports, and how to stretch the canvas. Doing so may save you a bundle.

What Are the Different Types of Canvas for Painting?

Canvas can be divided into categories by weight and material. The weight of the canvas often correlates to the texture of the canvas, but not always. There are canvases made of natural fibers, synthetic canvases, and blends.

Heavy Canvases

The heaviest and most textured canvases are made of cotton and jute twill, flax, or cotton duck. They are heavy and coarse, but cotton duck is not as coarse and is considered to be a better grade of canvas.

Lightweight Canvases

Light, inexpensive cotton canvases are not ideal for masterpieces because they tend to expand and contract more over time, but they are good for practice paintings. Other materials for canvas are linen, cotton-rayon, and Hessian.


Linen is considered to be the finest type of canvas, and is truly a joy to work with. The texture is smooth and mostly free of knots and lumps. It is best for work where you don’t want the texture of the canvas to have much impact on the appearance of the work. It is also more expensive.

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Merari Baeza


Merari Baeza

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