What Is Canvas Art?

What Is Canvas Art? (Meaning)

Canvas art is any type of artwork that uses canvas as one of its primary materials.

There are two types of canvas art that are trending right now, canvas prints and canvas paintings.

Canvas Prints

A canvas print, not to be confused with a canvas painting, is an image printed from a printer onto canvas.

Canvas prints look similar to oil and acrylic paintings because its surface has the same texture.

Canvas Paintings

In short, canvas paintings are the paintings you know from art galleries. They’re painted by an artist directly onto the canvas. This is usually done using either acrylic or oil paints.

What Is Canvas Art Made of?


Cotton, polyester, and linen (flax) are 3 popular fiber types used to make canvas art. But, some specialty fibers, such as hemp and jute, are also used for canvas surfaces.

I find a lot of companies are now using a poly-cotton canvas, which makes it very durable. This kind of canvas is capable of absorbing and holding onto color like a cotton canvas, but still gives the sharp and vibrant finish associated with a polyester canvas.

Stretcher Bars:

A stretcher bar is used to construct a wooden frame used by artists to mount/wrap their canvases.

Companies like iCanvas, Society6, Redbubble, and Inktutive use kiln-dried wood for their stretcher bars. Kiln-dried is a process that removes all of the moisture from the wood, preventing it from shrinking and warping.

Ink or Paint

A canvas print will have some kind of ink printed on the canvas, usually printed with an inkjet printer.

Canvas paintings will commonly have acrylic or oil paints.

Does Canvas Art Look Cheap?

Whether or not your canvas art will look cheap is all in the materials used and, of course, the skills of the artist or photographer who produced the artwork or image on the canvas.

For detailed information on this topic, make sure to read my article: Do Canvas Prints Look Cheap?

For the highest-quality, premium looking canvas paintings or canvas prints online, I usually go to Saatchi Art or Minted (you can also get custom canvas art made from a Minted artist).

If I’m looking for more inexpensive canvas art, I’ll usually browse through Etsy and Amazon and read the reviews until I find something I like with a 4 or 5-star rating.

Places like iCanvas, Society6, Redbubble, and Inktuitive are known to be high-quality producers of canvas prints that do not look cheap at all.

Is Canvas or Print Better?

Canvas prints and traditional framed art prints (ink printed on paper) both have their place and not one is better than the other.

But here’s what I think:

Canvas Prints

I really enjoy buying canvas prints when I’m buying a reproduction of handmade artwork. The texture of the canvas really does make a print of a painting look even more artistic.

Canvas prints also weigh much less than framed prints, so they’re more suitable for rooms such as nurseries and kids’ rooms.

You can also put most canvas prints in a bathroom. (For more information about this, check out my post: Are Canvas Prints Suitable for Bathrooms?

Another great thing about canvas prints is that there’s no glare/reflection bouncing off the artwork.

Framed Art Prints (Paper)

I tend to choose a framed art print when I want to buy a photograph. Art prints definitely show more detail than canvas, and you really want to see the finer details in photography.

I also tend to buy framed art prints when the artwork is in black and white, but that’s just a personal preference.

One thing to note about buy framed art prints is that there will be glare/reflections of light bouncing off the glass part of the frame.

Should I Frame My Canvas Art?

This is all a matter of personal choice. Some people opt for a frameless border while others prefer framed canvas art.

To create unframed canvas art, many use the gallery-wrapping technique. During this process, the canvas is wrapped around the stretcher bars and secured to the frame.

To create framed canvas art, many art buyers prefer floating frames.

A floating frame has its own canvas backing, to which the canvas of the artwork is mounted. This method of attaching the artwork means that the piece does not need to touch the frame itself in order to be securely fastened, creating the illusion that it is floating within the frame.

So now that you know what canvas art is, go ahead and buy art (my favorite spot for finding affordable canvas art is iCanvas), support independent artists, and HAVE FUN shopping!