“What is canvas made of?” is a commonly asked textile question. Its use has become extremely common, and it is a well-known textile within the manufacturing community. Canvas has been the textile of choice for withstanding the tests of time and climate, and it can be seen in so many everyday items. What makes it so strong? Why can it hold up over time versus so many other textiles?
So, what is canvas made of? Historically, canvas was originally made from hemp. Since the turn of the century, canvas is typically made from cotton or synthetic materials like polyester or nylon. It also can be made from linen. However, the use of linen to create canvas is less common when compared to its cotton counterpart. It is different from other heavier fabrics like denim in that it possesses a plain weave rather than a twill weave. Canvas, known for its strength and durability, is aptly named due to the construction of the textile itself.
Canvas has a dynamic range of weave styles that bind and make the textile’s properties more durable. The plain weave pattern is seen in numbered duck cotton textiles. In a plain weave, there is one yarn that travels in the warp direction while another yarn is inserted in the fill direction. Plain weave canvas is used in fabrics like muslin, which is a wonderful fabric for various crafting projects and photographic backdrops. It can also be found in artist canvas. An additional weave style is known as the basket weave. This more durable weave is woven by two or more yarns travelling together in the warp direction, while two or more yarns get inserted together in the fill direction. The basket weave can be found in textiles such as ballistic nylon, which is used for various upholstery projects and apparel.
“Duck cloth” is used as a term that was originally defined by the Dutch to describe the canvas itself (“doek”, meaning canvas). As most styles of canvas are made of all-natural cotton, there is a versatility and sustainability factor that can beat out the fancier, synthetic fabrics. Whatever the task at hand, duck canvas can be used in a variety of ways.
Cotton duck canvas has such an outstanding degree of versatility that it actually has its own classification system. This classification system was developed in 1924 as the need for cotton duck canvas was on the rise for manufacturing use. The classification is indicated by type and number so as to help the consumer and end-user look for what they need more efficiently for their current and future projects.
#12 – 11.5 oz/sq yd. – Bags, artist canvas, outdoor work-wear, apparel, murals, photographic backgrounds.
#10 – 14.75 oz/sq yd. – Canoes, kayaks, floor cloths, place mats, canvas feed buckets, pottery canvas, tool bags, tote bags.
#8 – 18 oz/sq yd. – Pouches, duffel bags, sand bags, archery targets, bedrolls, slings, tents, gun covers, filter bags, boxing ring mats.
#6 – 21 oz/sq yd. – Utility bags, place mats, tool bags, tote bags, tents, belting.
#4 – 24 oz/sq yd. – Tool bags, horse saddle bags, coal totes, floor cloth applications.
#1 – 30 oz/sq yd. – Saddle packs, floor cloths, sound absorption, equipment coverings.
Based on this classification system, selecting which canvas style will be needed for whatever project you are working on is easy. This classification system also makes it simple and cost effective to leave the guesswork out of your choice and enjoy whatever task you’ve set forth to do. Whatever the need, canvas can be a versatile choice that makes your project stand out against the competition.
Cotton duck canvas has been a contender in the manufacturing community for decades. Since its first uses, it has been refined and expanded to include a library of uses. While cotton duck canvas has basic commercial uses for tenting and draping for equipment coverings, it has also been used for more unique items including cornhole bags and blackout cloths for theaters, museums, or art exhibits. It also can be utilized for various crafting projects like making an everyday tote bag or pencil roll case. DIY (Do-It-Yourself) and crafting of all kinds can be done with canvas in mind, as it will hold up against a myriad of elements and situations. Canvas is a durable plain-woven fabric and works exceptionally well for making sails, marquees, tents, backpacks and so many other items where sturdiness is required, including painting surfaces for artists. All in all, canvas is the choice when you want high quality, low cost items.
Canvas has had a rich history being an iconic textile of the world. Made predominantly from cotton, canvas has had endless uses since before it was divided into a multi-leveled classification system in 1924. Cotton duck canvas has been used in so many everyday items, that we can find it in common areas of our lives such as the art that hangs on our walls and the slipcovers that sit over our couches, to the bags we use for travel. Canvas comes in different styles and weaves which explains its versatility and durability. It can stand the test of time and the elements far better than other textiles. Overall, canvas is a textile that is a worthy opponent for whatever task is. We hope this answers the commonly asked question, “What is canvas made of?”