quick guide to canvas

What is Canvas?

Canvas is fabric woven from natural or synthetic fibers. Linen and cotton are the most common materials for canvas, but technically any type of fiber can be used to create canvas. Canvas is typically stretched on a wooden frame called a stretcher and the surface of the fabric may be primed with gesso before paint is applied. Canvases became popular in 16th and 17th century Europe and slowly replaced wooden paneling as a preferred method for creating paintings. Much like choosing suitable paints, finding the proper type of canvas for your project is important!

Canvas cloth can be purchased in rolls and stretched to custom specifications, or it can be bought pre-stretched on frames of varying sizes. Most pre-stretched canvases are already primed with gesso and ready to be painted. Gesso is made with gypsum, chalk and binder. The purpose of gesso is to fill the tiny holes in the weave of the canvas and create a smooth, even surface for applying paint.

Which Canvas Should I Use?

Before selecting a canvas, you should think about what your intentions are in your painting. Pricier canvases tend to last longer because the fabric is typically higher quality and more tightly wove...

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