Here’s our review of the best canvas for acrylic painting.
The best canvases for acrylic painting are durable, do not warp or bend, and can preserve your painting for a long time.
As an artist, it’s frustrating to buy a pack of canvases only to find out that the quality is not good enough. That’s why I spent a few days researching and looking for the best canvases so you don’t make the same mistake.
And I found that the GOTIDEAL Stretched Canvas is a great overall choice for most artists. If you’re looking for a professional quality canvas, Winsor & Newton Professional Linen Canvas is the best choice.
Keep in mind that everyone’s needs are different so I included a wide range of options. I also included canvas boards and canvas pads for practicing acrylic painting.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
9 Best Canvas for Acrylic Painting
Here are 9 of the best canvases for acrylic painting.
The GOTIDEAL Stretched Canvas is an excellent choice for every artist that is looking to paint on canvas. It’s affordable, 100% cotton, and comes pre-stretched. Each canvas is pre-coated with acid-free acrylic gesso which will allow the true colors of your paint to shine through. It also comes with a multi-sized pack if you want to try different sizes. You could also order a pack of the same size canvas.
The main downside I’ve found in my research is that some mentioned that it sags and warps from time to time. However, this is common with a lot of more affordable canvases. With this in mind, this canvas is the best value for its price.
|Affordable||Sag and warp easier|
|Great for practicing|
|Great for beginners and students|
The Arteza Paint Canvases for Painting are affordable, 100% cotton, and primed. These are a great option for beginners since they are affordable and you can buy them in bulk. They weigh 8 oz per yard which is on the lighter side, but it works fine if you’re just painting on them.
One drawback with these canvases is that they are a bit thin. It helps if you apply another layer of gesso to it. Some also find that some canvases are a bit loose.
|Affordable||Canvas is a bit thin|
|Great for practice||A bit loose|
|Great for beginners and students|
The PHOENIX Stretched Canvas for Painting is also a great choice for many artists. It is 100% cotton, affordable, and comes ready to paint. The canvas is triple primed with gesso like a lot of the other stretched canvases. It’s good for oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, pastels, and tempera. The quality and affordability make it great for practicing.
One negative thing that I found with this canvas is that it’s a bit loose on some of them. But, it works fine in most cases. The other downside is that this canvas does not come in a multi-sized pack so you can’t try out different sizes. However, you can pick the weight of the canvas. The heavier canvases are more durable but more expensive.
|Affordable||A bit loose|
|Good for a wide variety of mediums||No multi-sized pack|
|Great for practicing|
|Great for beginners and students|
|Can choose the weight of the canvas|
The FIXSMITH Stretched White Blank Canvas is a popular choice for artists. The set is affordable and comes in a multi-sized pack which allows you to try out different sizes. The canvas is 100% cotton and triple primed with acid-free gesso which allows a smoother surface that reflects the true color of your paint. This package is also great for practicing since it is very affordable.
Some complaints I have seen is that people have received damaged products. Be sure to check that all of the canvases are in good condition when they arrive. This canvas also wrinkles and stretches a bit easier like other affordable cotton canvases.
|Affordable||Some arrived damaged|
|Great for practicing||Wrinkle and stretch easier|
|Great for beginners and students|
The PHOENIX 13 Oz Linen Stretched Canvas is a great canvas if you are looking for an affordable linen canvas. It’s 100% linen which makes it more durable than cotton canvases. This is perfect if you are planning to store your art for a long time. This stretched canvas is triple-primed with acid-free acrylic gesso and is ready to paint.
The main downside of this canvas is that it is slightly more expensive than cotton canvases. However, most people find that the quality matches the price. Also, keep in mind that this canvas won’t be as good as the premium linen canvases that we will discuss next.
|Option of fine or medium texture||Slightly more expensive|
|Great quality for the price|
|More durable than cotton canvas|
|Good for finished pieces|
If you’re looking for a professional-level canvas, then the Winsor & Newton Professional Linen Canvas is for you. This is perfect for pieces that you want to sell or display in gallery shows or museums. The canvas is made from linen which makes it stronger and more durable. This helps keep your painting in perfect condition for a long period of time. The canvas weighs 15 oz per yard which is heavier and more durable than other canvases.
The main drawback of this canvas is that it is quite expensive. With the same money, you can buy dozens of cotton canvases. But, it’s worth it if you have a bigger budget or plan to store your art for a long time. Another drawback that I found in my research is that it can sometimes arrive damaged. If that’s the case, you can easily return it and request for a refund.
|Professional quality||Very expensive|
|Great for commissions||Can arrive damaged|
|Great for professionals|
Artlicious Canvas Board is a great alternative to stretched canvases. Canvas boards are great for practice since they are slightly cheaper. They’re also great for traveling since they’re more compact and weigh less. The Artlicious Canvas Board comes primed and ready to paint. Each piece also comes individually wrapped in plastic which keeps it in better condition. This canvas board is made with cotton which is why it’s more affordable.
The downside with canvas boards is that they are harder to frame. They are more suitable for practice rather than display. However, you can still hang them up with adhesives or by attaching a hanging display tab on the back of the board.
|Very affordable||Harder to frame|
|Great to practice on|
|Individually wrapped with plastic|
The FIXSMITH Painting Canvas Panels are great for practicing your acrylic painting. They are 100% cotton, acid-free, and primed. These canvas boards are great for most beginner artists because they are affordable and come ready to paint. They also come in a multi-size pack so you can try out multiple sizes without breaking the bank.
Like other canvas boards, these canvas panels are harder to hang and are more suitable for practice. They’re also not the most durable and can warp if you use too much paint. Canvas boards aren’t meant for a lot of paint which means you shouldn’t do acrylic pouring on them.
|Very affordable||Not the most durable|
|Great to practice on||Harder to frame|
The Strathmore 300 Series Canvas Pad is a great choice if you’re looking to practice Acrylic Painting. While the pad is not made from cotton, it has canvas-textured paper which makes it good for practice. It’s more affordable and is a great choice for students and beginners that want to start learning acrylic painting. This canvas pad also works with oil paint if you want to experiment with that as well. The paper is acid-free and is of higher quality than the Strathmore 200 series.
The main complaint with this canvas pad is that it can buckle and warp when you apply too much paint. The binding is also a bit weak so the paper can come loose, but it’s just a minor inconvenience.
|Affordable||Can buckle and warp|
|Great for practice||Binding is weak|
|Great for oil and acrylic paint|
What Makes a Good Canvas for Acrylic Painting?
Acrylic paint is more flexible than oil paint when dry, making it suitable for a cotton canvas because it can stretch and warp. Keep in mind that oil-primed canvases can’t be used with acrylic paint so be sure to avoid those.
Canvases typically last longer than drawing paper or drawing pads so they’re an excellent choice for finished paintings. People have also used hardwood panels historically to paint on. But, canvases are lighter and easier to transport. Over time, canvases became the go-to choice when it came to acrylic and oil painting.
The texture of a canvas can vary depending on the weave. Fine woven canvases are smooth and are great for small, detailed works. Rougher canvases are great for bolder brushstrokes and larger works.
Most canvases are weighed by ounces per yard where higher weight usually means higher quality. Try to avoid canvases that are lighter than 8 to 10 oz because they can be too thin and fragile for acrylic paint.
Canvases are generally made with cotton or linen. Cotton is made from cotton fibers while linen is made from fibers from the flax plant. Linen canvases are stronger, more durable, and last a long time. They’re great for artwork that you want to hang up on the wall, show in galleries, or make for commissions. But, they tend to be more expensive.
Cotton canvases are more affordable. But, they tend to warp or sag after long periods of time. They’re great for practicing and for beginners to use before buying the higher-end canvases.
Types of Canvases
There are various forms of canvases to choose from. Know their pros and cons so that you can pick a canvas type that suits your needs.
Stretched Canvas vs Stretching It Yourself
A stretched canvas is convenient and still quite affordable. It’s the best choice for most beginners that want to paint on a canvas for practice or to hang it on the wall. You save a lot of time from having to stretch your own canvas if you buy it pre-stretched.
You might want to consider stretching your own canvas if you find yourself painting on canvas very often. This can save you money when you buy the materials in bulk. You can also customize the shape and size of your canvas when you stretch it yourself.
Canvas Boards and Panels
Canvas boards and canvas panels are typically, cheaper, more rigid, weigh less, and compact. This makes them really great for practicing, traveling, and painting outdoors. However, they are not meant for permanent use and degrade easier than stretched canvases. They’re usually made by mounting primed cotton canvas onto a board.
Primed Canvas vs Unprimed Canvas
Most canvases are already primed with gesso. This keeps the paint from being absorbed into the fabric of the canvas which helps show the true colors of the paint. But, there are some uses for an unprimed canvas. Some artists like to use unprimed canvases to go for a duller, textured look.
In special cases, you might want to consider a colored canvas. For example, a black canvas can be helpful if you really want your painting to pop. It can help create more intense shadows along with more vibrant colors and highlights.
A round canvas is just like a regular canvas, but it has a special shape. It can help your art stands out and can work well in certain situations. This can also be great if you want to switch things up and try something new.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few commonly asked questions when it comes to choosing the best canvas for acrylic painting.
Do I need to prime my canvas?
For beginners, it’s best to prime the canvas. This stops the paint from seeping into the fabric of the canvas which can waste a lot of paint and change the color of paint. Priming the canvas gives you a smoother surface that also shows the true color of your paint. Most canvases are already primed.
What’s the main difference between cotton and linen canvases?
Linen canvases are stronger, more durable, and last longer. However, they’re more expensive than cotton canvases. For most beginners, cotton canvases are good enough and they are more affordable. However, you might want to use a linen canvas for a special piece that you want to keep for a long time.
What’s the difference between stretched canvases, canvas panels, and canvas pads?
Stretched canvas is a canvas that is stretched over a frame that is ready to paint. It is convenient and suitable for most people. Canvas panels or boards are lighter and more compact which makes it great for traveling or painting outdoors. But, you might not want to use them if you plan to store the painting for a long time. Canvas pads give you a canvas-like texture and are meant for practicing. They’re more fragile, but they’re more affordable.
It’s tough to pick the best canvas for acrylic painting when there are so many options. Hopefully, this article helped you narrow down your search.
Most high-quality canvases are durable and do not warp when you apply paint to them. The material also matters, but the price can be pretty drastic between a professional-level canvas and a student-level canvas.
In my research, I’ve found that the GOTIDEAL Stretched Canvas is a great choice for most artists. It’s affordable, comes ready to paint, and comes in a multi-sized package.
But, if you’re looking for a professional-level canvas, you might want to consider the Winsor & Newton Professional Linen Canvas.
If you liked this article, you might also like our article on the best acrylic paint brushes.