Canvas Prints – What They Are and How They’re Made


The Art of Canvas Prints

Canvas prints are a modern merger of digital photography and traditional art, the product of which is a contemporary yet classic art piece that will be treasured. Canvas prints make fantastic gifts, or be used to capture and display beloved memories. With a print permanence of over 100 years, canvas prints become as much family heirlooms as they are decorations.

Digital Images Printed on Canvas

Canvas prints start their life as a simple digital image. You don’t need a high tech digital camera to shoot a photo that will later become a canvas print – any digital camera is capable of capturing a high enough resolution image for transfer. The image is uploaded to a computer where it can be edited, resized, recolored, sharpened – the possibilities are endless. Once a masterwork has been created, the image is then printed directly onto museum-quality canvas prints, stretched and wrapped, then finished with a seal giving it a lifespan of over 100 years before there is any visible deterioration.

Getting Your Photos Printed on Canvas

Most people do not have access to a printer capable of printing onto canvas, or one large enough to produce printed images of 40” or more. Fortunately if canvas prints are something you’re interested in obtaining for yourself, or giving as gifts, you can order them online. Most reputable companies will offer a variety of sizes, editing or recoloring options, and stretching and display variations. An image upload interface is typically used so that you can instantly upload your precious digital images to be printed onto canvas. Make sure that you choose a company that uses museum quality materials so that your canvas print will have the longest possible lifespan. The average turnaround for canvas prints from an online gallery is 7-10 days.

Display and Stretching Options

When ordering a canvas print you will likely be presented with a number of display and stretching options. Gallery wrapping is one of the most common options. With this wrapping method your printed images actually wraps around the sides to the back of the frame where it is stapled down. While this can give images a unique and almost 3-D effect, especially on 1.5” stretcher bar, the front display of your image becomes cropped. For those that want the entirety of their image visible from the front, a black wrap, white wrap, or mirror wrap option is available. Black and white wrap options add a few inches of black or white border to your image, and this border area is what is wrapped over the stretcher bar. Your image is not cropped, but the sides are either solid white or solid black. Mirror wrapping is a bit different, and not always offered by all online galleries. With this wrapping method, the edges of the image are mirrored, and the mirrored area is what is wrapped around the canvas stretcher bar. This method is preferred by many, as it allows your full original image to be displayed front-facing, but still offers the aesthetic 3-D feel by continuing the image around the sides of the frame.

Displaying Your Canvas Print

Optimal display conditions to maximize the lifespan of your canvas prints are in cool, dry walls away from direct sunlight. As such bathrooms are definitely not the optimal place to display canvas prints. Framing your canvas print is entirely optional, but note that because of the thickness of stretcher bar you’ll likely have to use a frame designed specifically for canvas prints. With a mirror or gallery wrapped image the edges of the print become part of the art of the design, and a frame is considered completely unnecessary.


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