Canvas v/s Wood

Margaret Riley products

Surfaces make the project. So what surface shall I use? Canvas? Wood? Most pattern packets can be converted to any surface. You can reduce or enlarge on a printer to accommodate the surface area.

Let’s talk first about a wood surface. There is a lot of prep work on this type of surface before you can paint on it. Using a fine grit sandpaper, sand the surface. Some wood has already been sanded for you, but it never hurts to do a light sanding. Sanding will bring up the grain. I prefer to put on a sealer first (even gesso works great) and then sand. This gives you a nice smooth surface to apply your paints on Wipe off the sanding dust with a tack cloth or a slightly damp cloth. You are ready to transfer on your pattern or do a freehand design. If you plan on hanging your wood item, consider how heavy it will be on a wall. This might be a deciding factor for you to paint on a canvas.

Canvas can be purchased already stretched and ready to paint on. I have created my own canvas by using fabric and stretcher bars. It takes a little time, but if you are wanting to do an odd size canvas, this is the only way to go. You’ll need a staple gun to hold the fabric in place. You can find some great tutorials on the internet in how to make your own canvas. There are canvas boards, too. Just be careful if you are in a humid climate. Those canvas boards can warp!

So the final decision is up to you. Best of luck with your choice!



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  • Diane Eyestone on

    My preferred surface is gessoed masonite (hardboard). No Prep!!

  • Karen Zemko on

    Being a painter for many years, I’m partial to wood. I feel you can get it much smoother than canvas, although that sometimes takes work! I recently took a 2 hour canvas class and struggled with the canvas surface. I know it was a lower grade canvas, but took a lot of paint to cover.

  • Margaret on

    You are most welcome!!!

  • Anke on

    Great article,makes it easier to decide on canvas or wood. Thank you.


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