How To Make Canvas Prints (How Canvas Prints Are Made)

Posted on 15 February 2019

how canvas prints are made


Canvas prints are a wonderful way to display photos from a family vacation, a graduation or a wedding! No matter the content of your photos, canvas prints are a uniquely modern invention and art form The modern technology of refined digital printing combined with premium canvas fabric stretched over a wooden frame makes for flawless prints you will absolutely love. When photo prints are applied to canvas using an inkjet printer, the end result is a work of art you can enjoy from the comfort of your couch. To learn more about canvas prints and our process here at Canvas Vows, browse our complete canvas prints guide.

In this Complete Canvas Prints Guide, you will discover:

  • What is a canvas print?
  • What is a canvas made of?
  • Canvas prints vs framed prints
  • Printing on paper vs printing on canvas
  • What is the difference between acrylic and canvas prints
  • Types of canvas prints
  • What size canvas prints should I get?
  • How to clean canvas prints
  • Where to buy canvas prints
  • How to create your own canvas prints

What is a canvas print?

custom soundwave art

Not to be confused with a canvas painting, canvas prints are a successful combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology. A canvas print is an image printed from an inkjet printer onto canvas. Once printed, the canvas is then stretched onto a wooden frame. (Read our how-to guide: How To Stretch A Canvas Print). While some people use framed borders, frameless borders are more common option, which are made with a gallery-wrapping technique. In this process, the canvas is stretched around the stretcher bars and secured to the frame. **Curious what giclee canvas prints are? Check out our Giclee Canvas Print Guide.

What is the difference between acrylic and canvas prints?

Mounted Print a mounted print is a paper print attached to a backing board. This type of print helps to preserve the photo and prepare it for framing or hanging on a wall.

Acrylic Print an acrylic print is an image printed on photographic paper, which is then placed between sheets of acrylic (referred to as plexiglass).

Canvas Print (explained above). Canvas prints evoke an artistic feel because they are similar in appearance to oil or acrylic canvas paintings.

What is canvas made of?

what is canvas made of

Canvas is a strong and durable fabric that used to be made with hemp. Today, canvas is more commonly made with cotton, linen, polyester or a blend. Most of the canvas prints that you buy for your home are made of a blend of cotton and polyester. Color tends to soak into cotton fibers, while it usually remains on the surface of synthetic polyester strands. When it comes to canvas prints, the main difference in these two fabrics then is the exactness of the color: polyester prints are more vivid while cotton prints last longer.

So, which is better? Well, it depends what you are looking for: if higher quality canvas prints are a greater concern, go with cotton canvas prints. On the other hand, if money or vibrancy of colors are concerns, go with polyester!

But, what do we use?

Canvas print fabric Here at Canvas Vows, we use “3455 Canvas,” which has a satin finish, is bright white in appearance (before the application of inks), is water-resistant, and is composed of a 35% cotton 65% polyester blend. This cotton-polyester blend gives it a uniform, low-glare finish, making it ideal for photographic and art prints, indoor or outdoor signage, backdrops and murals. No lamination is required, it can be stretched without cracking, and it is compatible with EcoSol, high-grade solvent, UV, and latex inks.

HP Printer with HP Latex Ink We use HP Latex Ink and HP Printers here at Canvas Vows. The water-based HP Latex Inks creates high image quality and consistency on a substrate range. HP certified latex is higher quality and higher durability than varnish printing, and are designed with HP Printers in mind to produce consistent results. In addition to delivering outstanding image quality, consistency, and durability, water-based HP Latex Inks are designed with the environment in mind: HP Latex are healthier than solvents, in that they are nickel-free, no special ventilation is required, they have been certified for low chemical emissions, and they have a reduced environmental impact.

Stretcher bars & wooden frame Here at Canvas Vows, we use stretcher bars for our canvas prints: stretcher bars have become increasingly popular in conjunction with inkjet printed canvas prints. A stretcher bar is simply a wooden framework, which describes the way the corners are constructed: though it can be constructed in a variety of ways, the corners generally interlock and fit together like puzzle pieces.

stretcher bars

Canvas prints vs Framed prints

In modern home decor, it is common to mix up framed prints and canvas prints. When you use these two kinds of art together, you can create a truly unique home decor style that speaks to the distinctive features of your personality and style. For instance, the frame and its color or style of framed prints can tie the entire color palette of the room together. With a simple black border frame, the focus remains on the internal photo or piece of artwork. With a stylized frame, the character of the photo is brought out more. In this way, framed prints can alter and affect the overall mood or tone of the room. To maintain room cohesion, it is important to keep in mind the style and color of frame for your framed prints.

On the other hand, canvas prints are more versatile when decorating a room. With a canvas print, the emphasis is on the image printed onto the canvas, rather than on the border or frame at all (unless you want to mix and match the look of framed prints with canvas prints by framing a canvas print). You can add canvas prints to your walls with much less thought than a framed print since the frameless edges adapt to any style. The vibrant pops of color provided by the canvas print style draws the eye and creates focal points to liven up the room. For more information on how to hang your canvas print in your home, read our guide: How to Hang A Canvas Print.


Canvas Prints Framed Prints
1. Image printed is permanent.

2. Canvas is lightweight.

3. Photos do not have a glare or reflection.

4. Prints come in glossy or matte finish.

5. Canvas provides a different texture that adds more color depth.

1. Have the option to swap out many photos in a frame.

2. Frames can complement room decor.

3. Photos can have a glare or reflection.

4. Larger photos are heavy and difficult to transport.

5. The bigger the image, the more expensive the frame.


canvas prints vs framed prints

Printing Methods: Printing on paper vs Printing on canvas


Printing on Paper Printing on Canvas
Advantages 1. The smooth surface of printing paper allows for sharper details, which is important when producing smaller prints. 1. Printing on canvas is the preferred medium for artwork since we are conditioned to seeing art on canvas and it creates a “painted” effect.

2. Contemporary gallery-wrapped edges of canvas prints enhance many home decor styles.

3. For large prints, canvas is the more affordable option.

4. Canvas outlasts paper because of its durable plain weaving.

Disadvantages 1. Paper prints can have a glare or reflection caused by sunlight.

2. Paper lacks the texture found in canvas, so they are not ideal when reproducing artwork.

3. Framing a paper print can be costly when seeking out large print sizes.

1. The texture of canvas is ideal for art, but might detract from photos. (Careful photo selection is important for canvas photo prints. Use a feature that alerts you to poor photo quality)

2. Canvas prints are permanent, unlike photo prints that you can swap out of a frame.


(Check out our Guide to Different Types of Printing Methods for more information!)

Types of canvas prints

types of canvas prints

There are two main types of canvas prints: personalized canvas prints and canvas prints using stock images. These two categories can be further subdivided in various ways. To learn more about types of canvas prints, read our Complete Guide to Types of Canvas Prints.

Personalized or custom canvas prints

These are prints that are made from your own personal photo collection. We offer a number of customization and personalization options, including (but definitely not limited to) personalized photos combined with various word art designs, customized song lyrics, customized sheet music, last name signs, custom star maps and love quotes.

Stock images

Typically, these are pre-made prints of stock photographs. These canvas prints are typically not altered in any way and are printed exactly the way it appears online.

What size canvas prints should I get?

what size canvas print should i get

Here, you see eleven popular canvas sizes for a home decor project. Whether you’re seeking the right frame for a canvas print or photo print, trying to design a feature wall composed of canvas prints (read our guide on How to Design a Gallery Wall!), or just picking a canvas size for your next DIY canvas creation, the size of your canvas print can make or break your next project. Just depending on what you’re looking for, there is a lot to consider when it comes to canvas print sizes. Buying a canvas print that is too large or too small can ruin the balance of your room or your next designing project. Before you start shopping for canvas prints, take some time to determine the size of canvas print would be best for the space you plan to display it. For more information on canvas print sizing options or to understand how to create a custom canvas for any home decor craft project, read our full-length guide: Canvas Sizing Guide.

How to clean canvas prints

how to clean canvas printsTo ensure a long life for your canvas print, there are a few guidelines and precautions to follow:

  • Keep your canvas prints away from direct sunlight
  • Keep away from humidity & moisture
  • Don’t forget to dust them occasionally with soft dusting techniques
  • Stay away from harsh chemicals
  • Place them upright
  • Don’t place anything on top of them

For a more detailed understanding, check out our Complete Guide: How To Clean A Canvas Print.

Where to buy canvas prints

Where you buy your canvas prints can directly link to how long you will be able to enjoy your canvas prints. Depending on quality of materials, printing techniques, and even shipping methods of the company, the life of your canvas can vary greatly. If you’re not sure where to buy your canvas prints and would like to know more, or are wondering why canvas prints can be expensive, read our guide, Where to Buy Wall Art Online, for more information.


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