Choose the Best Canvas Roll for Acrylic and Oil Painting

Choosing the best canvas roll for acrylic and oil painting can be a challenge – especially if you’re a beginner. Today, we’ll discuss some of the basics of choosing artist canvas and help you identify the right product for your next painting project.

Overview – Make a Good Choice the First Time

There are reasons why canvas is popular, and it begins with versatility. Here are other benefits of canvas:

  • People use it for different applications
  • It’s available in diverse shapes, sizes and forms including: canvas roll, canvas panels, stretched canvas and canvas pads.
  • Its texture feels good under the brush,
  • It’s durable, light and easy to transport in comparison to wood surfaces

How would you classify your painting skills? Beginner, a master of the art, or somewhere in between? Whatever your skills set in this art, there is something for you to work with, and all you have to do is identify your needs.

What Makes a Good Canvas Roll for Acrylic and Oil Painting?

The fabric, texture and priming.

Generally, canvas is made from cotton and linen; it’s also produced from hemp and jute. While cotton is inexpensive and durable, linen has superior quality and durability, but it is expensive.

The texture depends on how finely the natural fibers are woven together, which determines the kind of painting to use on the canvas. Finely woven fabric is smooth and suitable for small, detailed art, while rough texture is good for bigger paintings and vivid brushstrokes.

The weight depends on the density of the thread. It is measured in ounces per yard. If the weight is high, then so is the quality. Preferably, don’t use canvas that is lower than 8 to 10 oz.

To create a canvas support that shows the real color of the painting, use canvases primed with gesso—a combination of plaster of Paris, glue, chalk or pigment. This prevents the fabric of the canvas from absorbing the paint. Still, some canvases are unprimed, and some artists use them because they produce dull, textured color.

Art Tip: In this form of art, “support” means any surface that is used for painting or any other type of medium.

Choosing & Using the Best Canvas Roll for Acrylic and Oil Painting

Some artists buy canvas roll because they prefer to prepare their material from scratch. Even though the canvas roll is not stretched, with a few tools and practice anyone can learn how to do it. However, some artists do not stretch them; instead, they lay them on the ground and start painting. Artists buy canvas rolls to create unique shapes that are unavailable commercially, or if they are making large paintings. They are primed or unprimed by the roll or yard in different weights, textures and fibers. Since rolls are expensive, make sure you will be able to use all the material. Although linen rolls are a better choice for durability and quality, cotton duck canvas is equally suitable. It is important to ensure that the cotton duck weighs between 12 to 15 oz.

Art Tip: Cotton duck is the most inexpensive and common canvas to purchase. The term duck originates from the Dutch word doek which stands for cloth. It is available in various weights and weaves, which implies the way the fibers are tightly woven together.

A Little More About Canvas Weights…

Manufacturers also classify canvases with a numerical system that is the opposite of the weight. A number 12 canvas is lighter than a number 6, for example. Additionally, some of them coat their canvases with an extra sizing to help keep the fabrics separate when shipping. Artists wash this coating off with a damp cloth, but it is better to be cautious by applying one or two gesso coats. But cotton duck canvases may require re-stretching because in time they become loose. However, if this occurs when you are painting, spray the canvas from behind with warm water and allow it to dry.

Acrylic and Oil Painting


Acrylic Primer

Acrylic is adaptable to different forms of painting surfaces such as wood, paper and canvas. Of the three, canvas is the medium of choice for artists. Artists use acrylic primer in order to block oil paint. It is advisable to hold the canvas against the light to see if it shows through the fabric. If so, then apply another coat. The universal primer on the label is an indication that the acrylic primer is suitable for acrylic and oil paint whereas if the label indicates acrylic gesso, it means absorbing oil more than acrylic primer; however, this depends on the manufacturer.

Thin acrylic with water and use a palette knife to scrape it on the fabric. Use thin layers because thick ones are prone to crack when the canvas dries, as it shrinks.

Oil Primer

Oil primer is only good for oil paints. Even though oil paint is used on acrylic gesso primer, the acrylic paint does not permanently stick to an oil-primed canvas, and in time it will come off. Since oil primer has oil paint, you must use a sizing in the beginning as a barrier. Normally, it takes a week to cure so that the surface is well prepared for painting.

Now that you have this background, buy some artist canvas and start painting to your hearts desire!

Do you have questions about our canvas products? Contact us today.