What Is A Canvas Print?

three large canvas prints on a white couch

by Laura Gardiner
Studio Manager, Tribeca Printworks

What is a canvas giclee print? A canvas giclee is a print where the image has been printed directly onto specially treated canvas material and then stretched around a wooden stretcher bar. Canvas prints can be presented by themselves or within an additional frame, typically a “floater frame,” that alleviates the need for any glass or acrylic covering the surface of the print. By eliminating the requirement of any surface glazing the result is a very tactile piece that has a natural dimensionality to it. Canvas digital prints have a modern frameless feel to them.

Why print on canvas? There are a few easy answers to this question. Canvas prints are more economical than traditionally framed prints, they don’t require any additional frame, and they are lightweight and incredibly durable. One of the first qualities that you’ll likely notice about a stretched canvas painting, though, is the luminosity and brilliance.  Most canvases for digital printing on the market today have a bright white coating and natural texture allowing for matched vibrancy, depth, and detail as fine art paper prints.  However, there is a wide range of canvas quality and printing techniques used to produce canvas prints so we want to help you make sure you’re finding the highest quality materials out there. You can often find online print-to-canvas services at incredibly low price points. However, the price is going to reflect on the quality of the materials used and the finished piece. You’ll want to make sure the printer you choose is using a high-quality, archival canvas, usually with a 65/35 cotton-to-poly blend, and printing with archival pigment inks. Along with rivaling original artwork in detail, a digital printing on canvas offers the additional benefit of being durable and long-lasting, delivering beauty in your home or commercial space for many years to come. You can read more about the canvas materials we use and printing process at Tribeca Printworks and see how ordering works.

What type of art looks best on a stretched canvas? Giclee prints on canvas are extremely versatile. Because of the way they are produced, they deliver detailed image resolution and vibrant colors. These qualities makes this printing method idea for everything from sentimental family portraits to striking pop art. Regardless of what type of image you decide to print out on a canvas, you’ll be able to enjoy stunning wall decor that mimics the look of an original acrylic or oil painting.

If I decide to print on canvas, what are my options? Most printers offering canvas prints will have an array of canvas finishes to choose from including matte, glossy, satin, or metallic. A canvas print on it’s own is still just a loose print off a roll, so once you have chosen a canvas type, you will need to determine the finishing or framing. The most common finishing for canvas prints is to have them “stretched” around a wooden or metal frame of varying depths creating a stretched-canvas. This is commonly called a “gallery-wrap” as it is a stand-alone piece, ready-to-hang without additional framing or finishing and it is the finish most closely associated with canvas prints. However, stretched-canvases can be further placed into floater frames for a very polished, elegant and modern look or placed into any custom-frame to emulate a traditional canvas painting.    

Should I hang canvas prints in my home? Canvas prints can provide a number of design and decor solutions within the home. If you’re creating a salon-style gallery wall, incorporating canvas prints into the mix adds dimension and texture and a balance of framed and frameless elements. For personal use, canvas printing has become very popular for family portraits and wedding photography. If you want to fill a large space with a single work, canvas prints are going to allow your image to fill the space at the maximum size for a fraction of the cost of a framed piece. If the area you wish to fill gets a lot of natural sunlight, matte canvas is completely non-reflective and seems the obvious choice with this advantage. You can also play around with splitting your image(s) into a diptych or triptych to create a seamless multi-panel layout. 

Should I exhibit and sell my work on canvas? Many artists and photographers choose to display and sell their work as limited editions on fine art papers for its high-end feel and the freedom it gives collectors for future framing. That does not, however, mean that you shouldn’t consider canvas for fine-art exhibition and sale. One great benefit to printing on canvas, is that it is an artist’s medium and can be treated as such. Canvases made for digital inkjet printing can also be further embellished with acrylic and oil paints, water-based varnishes and adhesives, and other external materials such as gold leaf. This allows artists to create impactful one-of-a-kind mixed media artworks that have become increasingly popular in the fine art world. Canvas is also a great option for straight-forward reproductions of original canvas paintings.   

I see canvas prints everywhere, why is that? Chances are you’ve been in a restaurant, retailer, or corporate office that utilized large stretched canvases for decor. This is in part because designers know that filling large spaces with large framed-artwork and photography can be very cost-prohibitive if you’re working on a budget. Large format canvases will almost always come in at a fraction of the cost. This is also because large-format canvas prints have a modern look which provides dynamic visual impact as they are dimensional and unencumbered by traditional framing. 

If you’re still unsure about whether canvas prints are the right direction for your work, please do not hesitate to visit us in our SOHO Studio or contact us. We are always happy to guide you through the ordering process and advise you on the best choices for your work. 

Ready to get started? Order now!   

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