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Artists Canvas Buying Guide

Whether you’re a first-time painter or a seasoned artist, shopping for canvas can be quite confusing. Canvas  is one of the most popular painting surfaces, so it comes as no surprise that there are more options and varieties out there than most of us can wrap our heads around.

Canvas Options

We’ll start by defining some of the common terms used to describe canvas:

  • Canvas : A strong, tightly woven fabric. Canvas was originally made of hemp , but today it is most commonly made of cotton  or linen .
  • Stretched Canvas : This means the fabric has already been stretched around a frame or panel. Most people are looking for stretched canvas, which is ready to paint.
  • Unstretched Canvas : Experienced artists may want unstretched canvas, which they can cut and measure to their own specific needs, and then fasten to a frame themselves.
  • Primed Canvas : If you buy stretched canvas, it is probably already primed - this means it is ready to paint on. There are two kinds of primed canvas:
  • Unprimed Canvas : For the more experienced artists, this can be primed for any medium at home.
  • Duck Canvas : This is the most popular type of canvas, which is made of cotton. It is less expensive than linen or blends, but it is less durable.
  • Blended Canvas : Made of a blend between cotton and linen. This is more durable than cotton and less durable than pure linen, and the cost is between the two.
  • Linen Canvas : As the name suggests, this canvas is made of linen fabric. Linen is often preferred among professional artists because it has a longer lifespan and a better texture.

Tips for Painters

New painters and amateurs will almost always choose to buy a pre-stretched, primed canvas . This makes things very simple. You just buy the canvas, unwrap the plastic, and immediately you are ready to paint. There is no construction, no stretching, no priming, and best of all -- no waiting. There is also no technical know-how required. Just know that when buying pre-primed canvas, you will want it to be either primed for acrylics  or oil paints .

Intermediate painters who already have some basic experience and know their way around the canvas shop may also choose to get a stretched canvas. However, they will often choose a canvas that has not been primed yet.

Professionals and serious enthusiasts who have very specific needs or desires will often want to create their own canvas from scratch. This gives the painter the optimum versatility for sizing and styling the canvas (especially for abstract art).  Stretcher vars ,canvas tacks .stapler guns , and canvas pliers  will be of good use to these painters.

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