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What is Canvas Printing?

By A. Rohlandt
Updated May 16, 2024
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The term canvas printing refers to the printing of an image onto canvas. Once printing is completed the canvas can be kept as a loose canvas, or it can be stretched. Canvas printing varies in price, can be done in various sizes, and is a quick and easy to way turn everyday photos or images into works of art.

To ensure durability and quality, canvas printing is usually done on artist quality canvas. The printing is done using a large format printer and computer and can be completed in a very short period of time. All that is needed to turn an image or photo into a canvas print is a copy of the photo. A number of canvas printing companies advertise online and create prints from photos e-mailed to them by their customers.

When printing has been completed, the customer will usually be given the choice of a loose canvas print or a stretched canvas print. When someone orders a loose canvas print, the canvas is rolled up and inserted into a mailing tube for shipping. A stretched canvas print looks exactly like a stretched canvas that artists paint on. The canvas is stretched over a wooden frame to achieve this look. Canvas prints that have been stretched do not need to be framed.

The costs involved with canvas printing vary, and the biggest factor seems to be the size of the print and the quality of the canvas used. Some canvas printing companies use higher quality canvas, which means that the print will last longer. Some companies also use special sealants on the prints to help protect them from water damage and from fading.

Canvas printing can be done in a variety of sizes from A4 to A0. The smaller prints are usually the most affordable, and prices increase along with the size of the print. Larger prints require not only more material, but also require sturdier framing. An A1 canvas print would require a sturdier frame than an A4 print, for example.

A variety of edging techniques are available for canvas prints as well. This is referred to as "bleed" and can leave the edges of the canvas print blank, stretch the edges, or mirror the image so that it continues around the edges once the canvas is stretched. This last technique is a good option if someone prefers to have the image continue beyond the frame, but it can only be used if the image is of high quality.

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Discussion Comments
By wavy58 — On Jun 23, 2011

For my canvas prints, I prefer giclee printing, since it leaves no visible pattern of dot screen. It also keeps all of the hues and tones of the original photo or painting.

The term ‘giclee’ means ‘to spray or squirt’ in French. A giclee printer is much bigger than a standard inkjet printer, and it can produce prints wider than a meter.

Giclee printers do not use regular printer inks. They require light-fast inks that resist fading from being out in the sun. I like this, because I have a lot of large windows in my house, and almost all of my prints are exposed to the sun at some point.

By seag47 — On Jun 23, 2011

@lighth0se33 - Yes, I have gotten several family photos printed on canvas, as well as some of my young nephew's crayon art to give him as a birthday present. I am sure that prices will vary from place to place, but I can give you the ranges that the company I used gave me.

For the standard 8x10 size often used for photos, they charge $25. For the larger 18x20 size often used by artists whose drawing pads come standard in that size, they charge $40. Another standard artist size that I know of is 24x36, and that will cost you $60. For the larger 30x36, you will pay $70, and for a 30x46, you will pay $80.

By lighth0se33 — On Jun 21, 2011

I have various works I have done in both pastel chalk and charcoal that I have scanned and saved in my computer. I would love to have them printed on canvas for an even more artsy effect. Has anyone ever gotten any canvas prints made before, and could you tell me the price range for some different sizes?

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