How to Choose the Right Canvas for Your Painting

While there are many surfaces that artists can choose for their painting, canvas is the preferred material for most artists. This information will allow you to broaden your knowledge and buy the right canvas for your painting.

In making your decision, it’s worthwhile to consider the texture of the canvas. Canvas has different textures that have an impact on how the painting feels and the appearance of the finished product. They are:

  • no grain
  • extra-fine
  • fine
  • medium
  • rough and
  • extra rough

Some artists prefer the appearance of the texture of the weave and, therefore, they are not interested in applying numerous coats of the primer. All they want is to seal the canvas and have a white ground. This way, the texture of the canvas becomes an essential part of the painting. Other artists prefer a smoother surface to show the fine details of their work.

Still not sure of the right canvas for your painting? Let’s talk about some other factors. The other main considerations on how to choose the right canvas for your painting are weight, type of material and their unique characteristics. Let us consider some important factors that will help to make it easier to choose the right canvas for your painting.

Weight: The Right Canvas for Your Painting

Heavy canvases are the most textured.      The weight determines the tension that the fabric can withstand without tearing under the weight of the paint and primer. Heavier weight allows for more tension especially if you have a very large stretched canvas.

The weight refers to the amount of fabric in each area, and it’s determined by the width of the thread which is used in weaving it as well as the way it’s woven either tightly or loosely.

But one might ask: “How is the weight measured?” It’s measured in grams for each square meter or ounces for a yard. The fabric’s weight is heavy if the yarn is thick or woven tightly. If the weave of the fabric is open and the yarn is thinner, then the weight is lighter. The fabric that weighs less is easier to stretch

Art Tip: A rough canvas is sometimes loosely woven. This does not indicate that it’s heavy because it may be lighter in weight than a fine canvas that is woven tightly. It’s the width of the thread that determines the weight of the canvas.

Types of Canvas


Heavy Canvas

Cotton, jute twill, or cotton duck fabrics have heavy canvases. They are all coarse except cotton duck which is less coarse, and, for that reason, it’s generally considered to be of a higher grade.

Lightweight Canvas

These are unsuitable for masterpieces since they expand and contract. However, they are inexpensive and are great for those who want to practice painting.


This is the finest type of canvas. It is smooth and, in general, it does not have knots and lumps. If you do not want the texture of the canvas to be an important part of the paint, then linen is your best choice. Despite its great quality and durability, it’s not cheap.


This is a mixture of natural and synthetic fiber. It’s durable, easily available, maintains versatility in the long run, and is resistant to wear and tear after exposure to chemicals. Normally, the pre-primed, stretched canvas is made from this material.


This is a coarse, reasonably priced canvas that is uncommon. Since it requires a good amount of priming and it’s prone to deterioration, it’s suitable for beginners who wish to practice painting. As well, if the work is not meant to last for a long time, this is a great option.

How Do You Choose the Right Canvas for Your Painting?

Since painting also conveys feelings, the texture contributes to that. So, it is important to closely observe the texture that you choose.

  • Watercolors or Fine Details: If you prefer to conceal the impact of the fabric’s texture to the paint, then using watercolors will allow you to have thin layers of paint, which are smooth on the surface. Some acrylic painting has a similar effect. In this case, use linen canvas. But a cotton duck canvas of fine quality is equally effective.
  • Bold Brushwork or Strong Textures: Cotton jute twill, cotton duck, or any heavier canvas is suitable for bold brush strokes, palette-knife painting or strong textures. Although one must stretch them properly, heavier canvases are suitable for large-scale works of art. Even so, all canvases need to be stretched appropriately, as they are likely to expand or contract.

Although it’s less expensive to stretch and treat your canvas, should you decide to purchase a fabric that is already primed and stretched, ensure that it is the quality and texture that you desire for your artwork. It’s better to choose the right canvas for your painting in order to save time and effort.

Equipped with this information, you are just a click away from choosing the right canvas for your painting.

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