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What You Should Know About Canvas Fabric & Duck Cloth

Canvas fabric actually is known by many different names: cotton duck, duck cloth, duck canvas, or sometimes simply duck. The phrase duck cloth comes from the Dutch word doek, which just means “linen canvas.” In fact, outside of the textile industry, cotton duck is usually just referred to as canvas fabric.

History of Canvas Fabric

Knowing that cotton duck is usually called canvas fabric is important as it points to the Latin word cannapaceus, which means “made of hemp.” Canvas fabric was made of hemp in the 13th century because it was plentiful, strong, and easily worked. Even linen was a common material to make canvas fabric from. Linen too is very strong and sturdy. It also has a brownish color. As one of the most commonly used fabrics in painting, the brownish linen soon replaced cotton.

Uses for Canvas Fabric in Painting

People were using canvas fabric to create paintings as early as 14th century. Previous to using canvas, artists used wood panels. Again, early canvas fabric was made of hemp. Artists favored linen for their art projects. Many artists today still choose to use linen canvas fabric for a more traditional work.

In the early 20th century, cotton duck came into use. Cotton duck stretches more readily, has a more uniform weave, and is much more economical. Many people choose to use acrylic paints on cotton canvas fabric because it is a much more easy medium to work with. Those using oil based paints will attracted to traditional linen canvas fabric.

Print on canvas fabric for your next project. It is the premier material of choice when creating canvas prints. An inkjet printer can easily print on cotton canvas fabric that is then wrapped around a canvas stretcher. This is a very common technique when mass producing prints for the home.

Duck Cloth Used in Sailing

Create sails from, linen, or hemp. Cotton replaced these materials during the 19th century in the United States. During the time, access to linen was not reliable. Cotton also is an indigenous plant to the United States. This meant that Americans could make cotton duck without worrying about being able to get the raw materials. Cotton was plentiful and easy to use in the Americas.

Canvas Fabric for Industrial Uses

Canvas fabric has found its use for many industrial purposes. One such purpose is as containers for storing goods. A fabric container offers flexibility for moving dry products. Waterproof your canvas for an extra level of protection. This means you can transport wet materials as well. Even the US postal service uses canvas for mail carrying or  for their large baskets.

Another industrial use of canvas fabric is in temporary shelters. At trade shows, for a temporary kiosk or hut, or even in the back yard, canvas fabric makes a great choice for building a temporary shelter. This is also why canvas fabric has been a material of choice for tents. The durable and lightweight nature of canvas makes it the perfect choice. Canvas also allows for airflow, whereas a nylon or polyester tent will not. Since canvas fabric is available in many thicknesses, it is a perfect for use in many different industries.

Advantages of Duck Cloth Fabric

There are many advantages to using cotton duck over other fabrics:

  • Smooth – Because the surface of canvas fabric is relatively smooth, it is a great fabric for both industrial and home uses. The smooth surface is the perfect medium for needle works. There are no areas to snag and blemishes to show since the fabric is so uniform. The fabric makes sewing projects look more professional.
  • WindproofCanvas provides an excellent windscreen. This is one reason for its use in industrial clothing. With only leather being more windproof, canvas as become a premier option for work wear, especially in places that will be cold and windy. The fabric’s affordability makes it popular among both crafters and manufacturers.
  • Flame Resistant – Canvas will burn, however its natural fibers are much more resistant to burning. A perfect example to demonstrate this is when camping. You start a big fire, but the embers spurt out and land on your nylon tent. This would melt a pinhole in your nylon tent. If the tent was canvas, it would not melt. The natural fibers of canvas resist burning in this way.
  • Comfortable – while canvas comes in many different grades of thickness which makes it a perfect choice for clothing. Again, canvas’s flexibility, durability, and affordability make it a great choice for work wear. While it is a stiff material, subsequent washes do help soften canvas and make it very comfortable.
  • Durable – Looking for durability? Canvas provides the optimal characteristics. Paintings that survived hundreds of years prove this. This is also shown by its use in tough industrial applications. Canvas is a material that has some stretch to it. It is not brittle and will not tear under stress. It bends and flexes to the job at hand. But don’t worry, canvas doesn’t bend out of shape!
  • Economical – While canvas fabric is a useful and durable material, those positives would be meaningless due to cost. However, canvas has found use in many industrial applications and in the home for hobbyists because it is a great product at a great price. From use in tents, to crafts, to shoes, and canoes, canvas is a material that is likely to be in use for very long time.

Canvas Etc. Offers a Variety of Duck Cloth Fabrics

Canvas Etc. offers many different types and sizes of duck cloth to meet your needs. We know that you need quality, and we know that you may need this fabric to last a lifetime. That’s why we pride ourselves on having truly superior material. Whether you’re looking for a practice material for your embroidery, or if you’re looking for material to build an outdoor tent, we are sure to have all your duck cloth needs at Canvas Etc.

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