With all of the printing options out there these days, all of the images flashing around the internet and all of the art terminology being tossed back and forth, you might be a little confused when it comes to what the product you’re interested in buying actually IS. So here I’d like to clarify the commonly asked question, “what is a canvas print?”
What is a Canvas Print?
A canvas print is simply any image that is printed onto canvas (rather than onto paper or other surfaces.) The notion of a canvas print is slightly confusing because its trying to give the “look” of a real original painting. But it is not. The printed image could have been created from an original painting, however. If the artist decides that he or she wants to reach a wider audience and sell multiple reproductions of an original painting, the painting could be scanned so that it now becomes a computer file like any other, ready to be printed out onto any kind of material. Similarly, a photographer may decide to print out their photograph onto a canvas, rather than onto photo paper. A portrait studio may give you the option of having your family portrait done as a “canvas poster” as I have sometimes heard them referred to. These are ALL canvas prints.
There are many different types and qualities of canvas, but the kind used in commercial printing is generally a cotton or plastic based poly canvas. It replicates a finer quality artist canvas but has a more uniform look.
Display Options for Canvas Prints
Once you’ve decided that you’d like to go the canvas print route, another confusing road block may be the multitude of choices you are given when checking out. And why are some so much less expensive than others? Some options will come ready to hang on the wall and some will require additional steps. I’m going to break down the choices one by one so you can more easily see which one is best FOR YOU.
Unstretched Canvas Print
This will probably be one of the cheaper options. It means that the print will come rolled up and you will have to take further steps to display it. I do not recommend ordering canvas prints this way unless you know how to stretch them yourself. Shipping will probably be less expensive but you will end up paying much more to have to take it in somewhere to get stretched.
Stretched Canvas Print
This means that the company has already stretched the canvas around the stretcher bars. It will arrive full size in a flat box, ready to either frame or simply hang as is. The bars may vary in thickness depending on where you order from, so if you are interested in a more 3 dimensional, frameless look, check out gallery wrapped canvas prints.
Gallery Wrapped Canvas Print
A gallery wrapped canvas print is intended to be displayed without a frame. It comes wrapped around extra thick stretcher bars that start around 1 1/4″ thick and go up from there. The sides can either be a solid color such as white or black, OR the image itself can continue around the sides as shown in the photo below:
Questions? Comments? Please leave them below! I look forward to hearing from you. 🙂