Comparing Paper and Canvas to Determine the Best for Giclée Art Prints

When it comes to giclée prints, there are two main types of materials that you can choose from – paper or canvas.

So, which is better?

Generally speaking, canvas wall art is typically worth more than those on paper. So, monetarily, canvas prints win most of the time.

But wait!

Both paper and canvas prints have their own unique benefits that make them ideal for different purposes. So let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both types of prints.

Benefits of Giclée Canvas Prints

Texture: Canvas prints have a more artistic look to them. The texture of the canvas adds dimension and interest to the print, which can make it more visually appealing than a paper print.

Moisture-Proof: Although not waterproof, canvas prints can typically withstand high-humidity rooms, like bathrooms and kitchens.

UV Protection: Canvas prints can also be varnished or lacquered for protection, whereas paper prints are more vulnerable to damage from UV light. However, varnishing a canvas print can change its appearance, making it look glossy and less like a painting.

Framed or Unframed: Another benefit of canvas prints is that they have a more finished look compared to paper prints. Canvas prints can be hung without a frame.

Fun: Canvas prints are more fun than art prints because they’re three-dimensional and more versatile. You can hang them on the wall, or prop them up on a shelf or mantel.

Drawbacks of Giclée Canvas Prints

Cost: One downside to canvas prints is that they can be more expensive than paper prints. Canvas prints often require more money, time, and effort to create, as the image has to be printed onto the canvas and then stretched or mounted onto a frame.

Details: Due to the nature of the canvas fabric, canvas prints can sometimes look less sharp and vivid than paper prints. Canvas prints are not recommended for images with fine details, text, or small objects.

Benefits of Giclée Paper Prints

Affordability: Since paper is less expensive than canvas, paper prints tend to be more affordable than canvas prints. Plus, paper prints can be mass-produced more easily than canvas prints, so there is less overhead cost associated with paper prints.

Availability: Additionally, paper prints are more widely available and easier to find, especially on sites like Etsy. However, canvas prints are gaining popularity so you’ll find equal amounts of canvas prints and art prints on popular sites like iCanvas, Society6, and Redbubble.

Elegant: A paper print in a frame looks refined and classy. So, if you’re looking for something that will really make a statement and bring an air of elegance to the room, framed paper prints are the way to go.

Details: Images on paper prints are sharper and clearer than on canvas prints. One reason is that the material of paper is simply smoother than canvas, so the ink has less to grab onto, resulting in a crisper print.

Drawbacks of Giclée Paper Prints

Less Durable: Paper prints can be damaged more easily than canvas prints as they’re more susceptible to damage from water and humidity if the frame isn’t moisture-proof.

Framing: A paper print won’t look as refined without a frame. Plus, you really need a frame to protect your print from dust, dirt, and other environmental damage. Thankfully you don’t have to break the bank for framing when you can buy affordable frames on Amazon.

Final Thoughts: Are Paper or Canvas Giclée Prints Better?

There are rules of thumb when trying to decide whether or not to buy a canvas print or a paper print.

When it comes to photography, especially close-ups of people or animals, canvas prints are not the best choice.

Usually, these types of photos were meant to have most of their details and some of their sharpness shared with the viewer. Due to the texture of the canvas fabric, it will usually not show the finer details and sharpness of a photograph compared to a paper print.

On the other hand, I think that an artistic photograph can look great on canvas.

For example, a canvas print of the Eiffel tower, a calming beach scene, or flowers printed on canvas can be a beautiful addition to your home or office. In these cases, some of the sharpness of the image might be lost by the texture of the canvas, but the details are not missed.

Canvas prints can also be a great choice when the printed image is of a handmade piece of art like a painting, a sketch, or a digital illustration. The canvas fabric has a texture that is similar to paintings.

So, when it comes to deciding which print is worth more, it really depends on what your personal goals are and what the subject of the image is.

But when in doubt, here’s a quick tip: framed art prints look amazing no matter the subject of the image.