Best Canvas for Acrylic Painting for Beginners in 2021

The most popular support used for acrylics is a canvas. Choosing a canvas is a key to success and joy of painting, it is the foundation of your future painting, as paint and other supplies. But a bad quality canvas can easily ruin all your art later and lead to cracks.

The best choice of canvas for beginners in acrylic painting is to pick a white pre-primed stretched canvas for showcase and hang your paintings and canvas panels or pads for practice. Try to buy a couple of different sizes and shapes (square and round at least) to experiment and learn painting.

The right canvas makes artists’ life so easier:

  • paint adhere better to primed surface of a canvas
  • a painting on canvas will last longer
  • it is portable and lightweight
  • you can easily hang it even without framing

To choose your canvas to start with you should consider your budget and some small details about types of canvases that I will cover it in this post. There are dozens of canvases available on the market, I’ll review XX best of them but still you will find the full list of canvases below.

The only thing that can bother beginners it is the price of canvases. so I will mention all prices and pick really affordable supports for you.

Table of content:
  1. What to know before choosing the right canvas
  2. Best Stretched and Primed cotton canvas and 12 alternatives
  3. Best Primed Cotton Canvas in roll and 3 alternatives
  4. Best Raw Cotton canvas and 4 alternatives
  5. 3 Best Stretched and Primed linen canvases
  6. Best Raw linen canvas
  7. Best Canvas panels
  8. Best Canvas pads
  9. Recap Table: 38 good canvases with prices
  10. How to Choose a Canvas for Acrylic Painting (summary)

TOP choice of the canvas for acrylic painting for a beginner – Blick Premiere Cotton Canvas – best quality with really unique properties and very appealing price.

Takeaway before we will study all factors and canvases:

Best canvas for acrylic painting by type and brand
Best stretched primed cotton canvas – Blick Premiere Cotton Canvas
Best unstretched primed cotton canvas – Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic-Primed Cotton Canvas Rolls
Best raw cotton canvas (unstretched, unprimed) – Blick Cotton Canvas By the Yard
Best stretched primed linen canvas are Blick, Fredrix and Masterpiece linen canvas
Best raw linen canvas (unstretched, unprimed) – Blick Unprimed Belgian linen canvas
Best canvas for practicing and experimenting – Mont Martre Canvas Panels and Canson XL Paper Pad

To learn about 12 more brands and 38 fgood canvases and what you should consider buying a canvas, continue reading this buyer’s guide with reviews and prices.

You can directly LOOK at all best canvas or READ to the buyer’s guide first to learn more about what you should actually know before buying.


Canvas buyer’s guide:

What to know to choose the right canvas

Canvas is one of the oldest and fantasticly durable support for acrylic painting.

The history of art finds the word “canvas” is back in the 13-14th century – what else can prove to us better than this is the best option to start painting and to keep our masterpiece for centuries?

Nowadays, we can buy canvas in art supplies stores offline and online. Before buying, you need to be familiar with some factors that affect quality and price:

  1. fabric of the canvas
  2. weight and weave
  3. depth of the edges
  4. format and shape
  5. stretching and supports material
  6. priming
  7. and, obviously, your budget and preferences

You will easily find all the information on the canvas label or in the description online, it can look like this:

This is a label of one local art supplies store

It would be nice if you can immediately make your choice after looking at this, so let’s get familiar with each factor. After reading this post you will definitely have NO issues with choosing your canvas.


1 – Fabric

The fabric is one of the keys to a great painting canvas. Acrylic paint should stick to it and the canvas should dry well, so the quality of the fabric is vital.

There are 4 types of canvas based on fabric: cotton duck, linen, jute and synthetic canvases.

Linen fabric is easy to recognize, raw linen canvas is a dull brown, while cotton canvas will be white. Linen is made from fibers of the flax plant and contains natural oils that make it mold and mildew-resistant. It is considered the “top” of canvases. The cotton canvases are THE MOST common and are used by most artists, especially beginners. Synthetic canvases and jute are very rare to find and uncommon

FactorCotton duckLinenJuteSynthetic
UseThe MOST common
*no ducks involved! Doek means cloth in Dutch.
Common among ProsUncommon
* from Jute plants
Uncommon
* Polyester, Polyflax e.i.
PriceCheapExpensiveExpensiveCheap
Pros– Cheap
– Easy to find and buy
– Comes in a variety of weights and textures ranging
– They are extremely common

– Unlikely to stretch or shrink
– Mold and mildew resistant
– Has a variety of weights and textures
– Better quality than cotton
– a little bit rougher than the average linen
– cheap
– better than cotton
– very durable
– can be water resistant or even waterproof
– great for outdoor
– tightly interlaced and smooth with fine texture
– stronger than Cotton Duck or Linen
Cons– Could be loose
– Can easily distort when stretched.
– Price
– needs stronger stretcher bars
– oil-primed linen can not be used with acrylics!
– uncommon
– can be pricey
– uncommon
– hard to buy
– archival qualities aren’t really studied yet
BrandsAll popular brandsBlick, MasterpieceSoHoWinsen’s Canvases, Fredrix Blue Label

Keep reading, I have a list of Top Best cotton and linen canvases above. Or you can jump to that section right now. Click here.


2 – Weight and weave

Canvas comes in different weights and weaves.

The weight of the canvas refers to the fabric density and heaviness.

Weaving means that cotton or linen fabric threads were interlaced to form the canvas. But the difference is in how tight they are. Weave determines the texture of the canvas. The tighter the fabric is woven, the rougher the surface of the canvas will be. But it can also affect how heavy the canvas will be (but not always). The terms ‘super fine’, ‘extra fine’, ‘fine’, ‘medium’, and ‘rough’ describe the texture of the weave. 

The weight is measured in ounces per yard (oz x yrd). Unprimed canvas can be:

  • light-weighted ± 5 oz (140 g). Can be smooth and almost has no texture. The weave is open, which means has some air holes and fine. This type is very easy to stretch and great for a light touch in painting. Not a good choice for a large painting.
  • medium-weighted ± 8 oz (230 g);
  • heavy-weighted ±10 oz (280 g) or more. Great for impasto and thicker paint application. Has a pronounced surface and tightly woven. Perfect for larger canvases and paintings.

Primed canvas will be heavier, because its weight will include the primer (usually acid-free gesso)

This is linen canvas range: weave from fine to rough

You can smooth weave with gesso or use them as part of the texture of your future painting.


3 – Depth of the edges

The depth of the edges is how much will the painting stand out from the wall. The deeper the edges are, the easier it will be to hang the painting even without framing. In the canvas description, you will find it as depth or profile.

The depth of the edge can be:

  • normal (traditional profile) ± 3/4″, 1½”
  • deep edge (deep profile) ±1-3/8″- 1 5/8″, 2½” and 3″

In general, the narrower the edge is, the cheaper the canvas will be.

Most artists prefer deep edges, because nowadays we don’t really like to frame painting and with deep edges we can just paint them and hang the painting on the wall. If you plan to frame you work, choose thin edges.


4 – Format and shape

No matter what type the canvas is, it could have diverse shapes (even three-dimensional) and formats. The standard formats are called landscape or portrait. The most common shapes are square, rectangular, and round. Great for interiors are also Half Round, Hexagon, and Triangle styles.

The choice of the shape and size is based only on your preferences and ideas! I’m doing abstract art and I adore large canvases or even creating diptych.


5 – Stretching and supports material

Stretching is a very important step. For beginners it is eaisier and more recommended to buy well-known pre-stretched canvas, while pro artists can be very quick with stretching canvas by themselves. Either way, canvases should be well stretched and secured to the stretcher bars.

The stretcher bars themselves should be high-quality.

Canvas can stretched in some ways:

  • side stapled (it means the fabric is stapled to the stretcher bars on the sides of the canvas). Nowadays almost none of the good brands do that. First of all, it is perceived as student-grade quality, second – no gallery will accept a painting on a side stapled canvas.
  • gallery wrap canvas is the same as back-stapled. The most common and best choice. In this case, corners of the fabric could be cut or just folded. If it is folded and you have large areas left, you can easily adjust the tension.
  • splined on the back. This type of stretching can look nicer but it will be a pain in the ass to re-stretch it.
  • sewn into books.

Stretcher bars are actually bars to what canvas is stapled. In general, they are made from kiln-dried pine. They should not be too thin, because it is the actual support of the canvas and future painting.

The stretcher bars are what give depth to your painting, which we discussed above.

Stay away from stretcher bars which are made with finger joint interlock wood connections, because they will fall apart over time and ruin your canvas.

Some pre-stretched canvases, especially large ones, can have additional bars across the canvas – a cross brace. Canvases larger than 20×24 should have at least one cross-bar, canvases larger than 30×30 – two.

Sometimes you can find wooden “keys” in your canvas wrap. It is an old way but still popular to tighten the canvas if it begins to sag. You can always buy them separately too. The keys will look like that:

Pro tip: if you buy a canvas in an art store, slightly press against the stretcher-bar. If you see some indentations, this is not good quality.


6 – Priming

Some canvases come already primed, but some are raw.

A beginner’s recommended way to go is to use pre-primed canvases. But one day you can easily buy a raw one and learn how to prime it. On the other hand, I know that some modern abstract artists use raw canvases without priming.

But what else is important about priming is how many layers the manufacturer applied and what kind of gesso they used. The best choice is the triple-primed canvas. Normally, brands use acid-free gesso, which means the surface is sealed, non-porous and smooth, and ready for painting. Some brands also use eco-friendly gesso.

Single or double-primed canvases are less popular and I assume that they are more like student-grade quality.

You can always apply another layer of gesso if you not satisfied with how smooth the surface is. Make sure you follow the proper process.


7 – Price and preferences

You will be surprised that you can find really good quality for a very pleasant price. Still don’t ever make choice only based on price. Try different brands and canvases and makes notes.

For beginners, I recommend cotton pre-stretched and triple-primed canvases. I use them too and enjoy them.


BEST CANVAS

by type and brand

I was so frustrated with the amount of the information, so I’ve chosen to give it in a very easy-to-digest way. First I will show you the best canvases by type and in the end, you will find the full sum-up table with all canvases. They are 38 in total. Not all of them are “best”, but all of them are good enough for some purposes.

I will describe each type and canvas stating their Pros and Cons, price and general note, feel free to dig into.


Best stretched and primed Cotton duck canvas

and 12 alternatives

Best stretched and primed cotton canvas is Blick Premiere Cotton Canvas

This is a real hand-made canvas for a very good price. For me, it is one of the best options on the market. An EXCELLENT choice for beginners with really unique features compared to all other canvases on the list.

PROS:

  • maximum archival stability and durability
  • handwoven
  • triple primed with sanding in between layers
  • affordable price
  • you can re-stretch it: corners are uncut, keys are included
  • depth: 1-1/2”, 2-3/8”, 7/8”
  • 10-15 oz weight
  • professional artist grade
  • stretcher bars with warp-resistance and long-term stability
  • two stretched options: Hand-Splined or Back-Stapled.
  • Wide range of available sizes: from 4×4 to 36×48
  • If you will buy them online at the official Blick Art Supplies store and in bulk, the price will be even better. Ex., Back-Stapled Traditional Profile Canvas 14×18 costs $9.45 per piece, but if you want to buy 5, you will pay $7.33 per piece.

CONS:

  • Honestly, NONE!

Don’t like it? But I have 12 alternatives to it.

Even if we’ve learned that linen canvas is of better quality, you will still find most artists and especially beginners using cotton canvas. They have great quality, and, most important, they are affordable. They probably don’t have the BEST quality, but when we just start painting, we will never see this tiny difference.

By the way, all canvas panels and pads are cotton-made. So, don’t be frustrated by the fact that linen fabric is better, all artists are still using cotton for diverse purposes.

Feel free to try cotton and linen, and always listen yourself and rely on your experience.

For your convenience, I will “test” prices on 8×10″ canvas, but I will review for each brand the whole range. I made a big research and I will be happy if this will be useful for you.


Streteched and Primed Cotton CanvasPrice for 8×10″Price range
* per piece / yard
Price range
* per pack
PHOENIX Pre Stretched Canvas ±$1.85
per piece.
Only in bulk
Only in bulk$13.50-$39.99
4-10 pcs in pack
Academy Art Supply Stretched
White Blank Canvas
±$1.85
per piece.
Only in bulk
Only in bulk$9.78 – $32.96
4-12 pcs in pack
Artecho Stretched Canvas±$3.49
per piece.
Only in bulk
Only in bulk$13.99-$22.99
6-20 pcs in pack
Darice 71 Studio Stretched CanvasOnly large sizes$16.62-$48.99Only sell per pcs
Blick Premiere Cotton Canvasfrom $4.95
per piece
$2.99 – $402$7.8 – $1855
5+ in pack
Arteza Stretched White Canvas±$2.08
per piece.
Only in bulk
Only in bulk$19.99-$80.99
2-28 pcs in pack
Daveliou Stretched CanvasThis size is not
available
Only in bulk$17.55-$30.55
5 pcs in pack
US Art Supply Black Stretched Canvas±$3.99
per piece.
Only in bulk
Only in bulk$12.96-$34.96
4 pcs in pack
Art Alternatives Stretched Canvas$16.88
per piece
$7.29 – $35.88$9.68-$45.88
4-7 pcs in pack
Conda Artist Stretched Canvas±$1.49
per piece.

Only in bulk
Only in bulk$11.19-$25.99
5-10 pcs in pack
Masterpiece Artist Canvas EliteOnly large sizes$31.34-$99Only per pieces
Fredrix Red Label Cotton Canvas$6.43
per piece
$5.24 – $69.52$50.4-$669
12 pcs pack
Winsor & Newton Classic Cotton Canvas$9.56
per piece
$5.01-$54.65$30.06-$327.9
6+ pack
1. Phoenix Pre Stretched Canvas for Acrylic Painting

Phoenix is a pre-stretched and pre-primed canvas with a 100% long-staple cotton canvas. A great choice for acrylic painting and pouring.

  • Depth: 5/8″ thick
  • 100% cotton
  • Weight: 8 oz
  • Available sizes: from 5″x7″ to 18″x24″

PROS:

  • High tinting strength
  • The canvas doesn’t shrink and is stable in every dimension. 
  • Holds paints well and keeps the paints with their natural tones and glossiness.
  • Triple-primed
  • Pre-stretched
  • High-quality pinewood stretcher bars
  • Comes in a pack of 4-8 canvases
  • No alkaline chemicals

CONS:

  • pinewood should be inspected strictly to check the situation of moisture content, mold, wormhole, and dead knot
  • can loosen over time

2. Academy Art Supply Stretched White Blank Canvas

Academy Art Supply Stretched White Blank Canvas is a pre-stretched and pre-primed white 100% cotton canvas. They are kinda unique because they only sell 10 pieces packs. The profile (depth) is quite standard – 5/8″.

PROS:

  • primed and pre-stretched
  • good for painting and pouring
  • offer a pack with 10 canvases in a variety of sizes: 4″x4″, 5″x7″, 8″x10″, 9″x12″, 11″x14″ (includes 2 of each size)
  • cheap!

CONS:

  • you can only buy a 10-canvases pack.

3. Artecho Stretched Canvas

Another good option is Artecho canvases. Medium-weighted (8 oz), 100% cotton, obviously. The profile is standard – 5/8″.

Sizes available: 8×10, 10×10, 11×14, 12×12 and 12×16

Good be good for beginners in painting and pouring.

PROS:

  • Triple-primed with acid-free acrylic gesso
  • Pre-stretched
  • Comes in 6-20 pieces packs

CONS:

  • small range of sizes

4 – Arteza Stretched White Canvas

Arteza is slightly cheaper than Blick ($1-2 cheaper) but the quality is weaker – it is perceived as student-grade. Nothing wrong with it, Arteza stretched Classic canvases are still good for students, kids, and hobby artists, and they have more than 50 nice reviews on Arteza’s website.

It is 100% cotton, medium-weight (8 oz) canvas.

Arteza also offers stretched canvas primed with black gesso.

PROS:

  • affordable price, even better if you buy in bulk
  • pre-primed with cruelty-free, non-toxic, acid-free gesso
  • pre-streched on pine-wood support
  • full refund if you are not satisfied with the quality
  • good for students and hobby
  • multi-pack option available: 28 canvases of different sizes: 6×6″, 8×8″, 10×10″, 12×12″ only for $39. Great deal.

CONS:

  • Might be too rough for professional painters
  • Primed with a single layer

5 – Darice Studio 71 Stretched Canvas

The Darice brand exists since 1954 but still not as common among artists. It is another good, 100% cotton, option, but there is no unique feature or quality reason that Darice will beat Blick in my opinion.

Darice Studio 71 24-Inch-by-48-Inch Gallery Canvas

PROS:

  • triple-primed
  • the depth of the edge ±1,5-2″
  • comes with wood stretcher keys to help you tighten the canvas

CONS:

  • only large sizes available: 14×18, 16×16, 18×24, 24×24, 30×40
  • Some users complain of issues with stapling and some tightness problems at times

Please, note that another brand’s product – Darice stretched canvases – are only double primed.


6 – Daveliou Stretched Canvas

A very good pick! Daveliou is a 100% cotton, heavy canvas with a standard 5/8″ profile and some unique characteristics.

I like them because they use their own gesso which is vegan friendly.

Sizes available: 11×14, 12×12, 12×16, 16×20

PROS:

  • triple-primed
  • vegan friendly
  • water-resistant and with a non-yellowing surface.
  • good for Plein-air
  • 1-year money-back guarantee

CONS:

  • all sizes only come in packs of 5
  • only 4 sizes available

7 – US Art Supply Black Stretched Canvas

Sometimes it is easier to paint directly on the dark background without spending time painting it by yourself. Imagine galaxy or night sky on this – it makes painting even more enjoyable.

It is a heavy weight (12 oz), 3/4″ Profile sized canvas

Not only this brand has Black canvas.

PROS:

  • triple-primed
  • affordable
  • hand stretched
  • black background, but white color is also available
  • sustainable wood for support
  • good both for painting and pouring

CONS:

  • I didn’t use this one but I’ve read some reviews about loosened canvas over time

8 – Art Alternatives Stretched Canvas

Art Alternatives is a great choice for kids, art classes and students but maybe not as satisfying as other products for professional artists.

It is more light-weighted back-stapled canvas with traditional profile 5/8″.

Available sizes: 2.5×3.5, 5×5, 6×6, 8×8, 8×10, 8×16, 9×12, 12×12, 16×20, 18×24, 20×30, 22×28, 24×24 etc

PROS:

  • pre-primed 
  • comes per piece and in packs
  • unbleached

The most popular choice among buyers is Art Alternatives stretched White Canvas, size 8 x 10 inches, Pack of 10 – it has 4.5 rate on Amazon with almost 300 reviews.

CONS:

  • users report that canvas might be a little loose, and
  • some buckling in the back where the stapling was done
  • weaves are visible
  • need extra layers of gesso

9 – Conda Artist Stretched Canvas

Conda is a Chinese art supplies company.

This brand is not common among professional artists, but their canvases are great for kids who just begin with painting and parents don’t want to spend a lot on the hobby.

Sizes range from 8” x 10” to 16” x 20”

PROS:

  • very cheap
  • comes with wooden wedges on the back.
  • comes in a pack of 5 – 10 pieces
  • Pre-stretched
  • Triple-primed

CONS:

  • canvas can be loosen
  • some imperfections on the surface
  • texture may seem a bit rough
  • need extra layers of gesso
  • poor size range
  • student quality

10 – Masterpiece Artist Canvas – Elite

If you are looking for something exclusive and highest quality, this is it. But with all of it, you will also get the highest price. Also, I realized that they are extremely hard to purchase and, in fact, can’t compete with cheaper competitors.

It is a 100% heavy cotton canvas with 1-1/2″ deep edges. It comes only in large sizes.

Masterpiece Artist Canvas 34551T Elite 1-1/2' Deep, 48' x...

PROS:

  • double primed with archival quality acrylic gesso.
  • Double wide Cross Braces
  • up to 50% tighter than other canvases due to their unique technology
  • linen option also available

CONS:

  • price
  • it is a really heavy and tough canvas
  • only large sizes
  • only double-primed!

11 – Fredrix Red Label

A 100% cotton duck, medium-textured canvas for acrylic painting. Canvases have a traditional 3/4″ profile.

Sizes: from 5×7 to 48×48

PROS:

  • All sizes larger than 24″ x 36″ include single or double cross braces.
  • More than 150 great reviews

CONS:

  • Canvases smaller than 8″ × 10″ are stapled on the side of the canvas
  • only double-rimed

12 – Winsor & Newton Classic Cotton Canvas

100%, medium-textured, fine, back-stapled canvases. It is a heavily weighted canvas (12.3 oz)

Sizes: from 6×6 to 30×40

PROS:

  • archival gesso
  • improved paint adhesion and color saturation
  • kiln-dried fir and paulownia wood
  • hand-stretched
  • stretcher bars are rigorously tested for warp-resistance.
  • 2 options for depth: Traditional (3/4″) or Deep Edge (1-3/8″) profile

CONS:

  • I’m not sure about how many layers of gesso they used
  • not really cheap

Best Primed Cotton Canvas in roll and 3 alternatives

The best primed cotton canvas in roll is Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic-Primed Cotton Canvas Rolls

Great choice due to its exceptional durability and paint adhesion.

PROS:

  • triple primed with acrylic gesso
  • 100% cotton
  • great paint adhesion
  • great workability
  • great weight – 14 oz finished weight

CONS:

  • only 2 sizes available: 60” × 6 yds and 84” × 6 yds

Prices are: $99.05 – $138.17


There are 3 alternatives:

Brand NamePrice
Fredrix Style 580 Universal Cotton Canvas Rolls$95.86
Blick Medium-Weight Primed Cotton Canvas Rolls$12.99 – $74.95
Caravaggio Acrylic-Primed Cotton Canvas Rolls$172.14 – $292.97
1 – Fredrix Style 580 Universal Cotton Canvas Rolls

One the most popular canvas roll of this brand. Good quality.

PROS:

  • highest archival quality
  • primed for even and smooth surface
  • medium weight
  • universal use
  • 61” × 6 yds

CONS:

  • only one size and weight option

2 – Blick Medium-Weight Primed Cotton Canvas Rolls

Another bestseller from Blick – is a primed cotton canvas sold by yard or in roll. His main Pro is the weight.

PROS:

  • double primed
  • primed weight is 12 oz
  • great price

CONS:

  • if you won’t mention that you need continuous length, the brand will ship your canvases in separate one-yard pieces
  • only one size 64-1/2″ W x yd

3 – Caravaggio Acrylic-Primed Cotton Canvas Rolls

I need to admit that this brand name is perfect for an art supplies brand. It’s actually from Italy and offers premier quality for artists.

PROS:

  • double primed
  • available in 2 weights: 7 and 9 oz

CONS:

  • expensive
  • only 2 sizes available: 83” × 5 yd and 83” × 10 yd

Best Raw Cotton Canvas

Best raw cotton canvas is Blick Cotton Canvas By the Yard

This canvas comes in the roll unprimed if you order 5 yards and less. If you order more than 6 yards it will come in a roll. This unique canvas has 4 weights available: 7, 10, 12, 15 oz.

PROS:

  • 4 weights available: 7oz has a very fine texture, 10oz is good for detailed work, 12 and 15oz are for heavy applications
  • different sizes available: 37.5″ x 1 yd, 48″ x 1 yd, 60″ x 1 yd, 63″ x 1 yd, 72″ x 1 yd, 84″ x 1 yd, 96″ x 1 yd
  • unbleached
  • natural
  • very affordable, cheaper than alternatives

CONS:

  • the longest continuous length will be based on inventory availability and may come in multiple cuts. 
  • the price depends on weight and size
  • unprimed

Price is $3.78 – $11.99 per yard


Raw canvas in roll is cheaper but can cause a real headache for a beginner. If you buy canvas in roll or folded, it means that you already have an idea about how to stretch it. If you don’t know yet how to do it and not sure if you can make it from the first time without loosening the canvas on the support, choose the pre-stretched canvas I listed above.

Another option is that you don’t want to stretch it at all and want to cut shapes and sizes as you like. In this case, you will be able to paint on the floor and experiment.

And these are 4 alternatives:

BrandPrice
Blick Medium-Weight Unprimed Cotton Canvas by the Yard$8.33 per yard
Fredrix Folded Cotton Canvas Blankets$101.49 – $229.28
for 6 yards
Masterpiece No. 12 Unprimed Cotton Canvas Rolls$101.99 – $184.99
for 3 and 6 yards
Fredrix Style 568 Medium Weight Cotton Canvas Rolls$26.10 – $82.41
for 3 and 6 yards
1 – Blick Medium-Weight Unprimed Cotton Canvas by the Yard

It is a raw, 100% cotton duck canvas. It is considered as medium-weight (7 oz) and it is only sold by yard.

PROS:

  • you can prime with whatever primer you want
  • medium-weight
  • cheapest among alternative “colleagues”

CONS:

  • continuous length maybe not available and they will send it to you in multiple cuts

2 – Fredrix Folded Cotton Canvas Blankets

Good quality, heavy 100% cotton canvas.

PROS:

  • heavy (12 oz)
  • folded blankets or in roll
  • to better stretching, you can mist or iron it
  • different widths available: 60″, 72″, 84″, 96″, 120″, 144″

CONS:

  • can’t purchase by yard, only 6 yards package
  • the most expensive among studied options

3 – Masterpiece No. 12 Unprimed Cotton Canvas Rolls

Masterpiece is a brand with artist quality grade reputation and well-known for not being cheap. They are not really popular among artists but still very respected. This one is good for textured and thicker applications.

PROS:

  • Heavy 11.5 oz
  • double-filled weave, pronounced tooth

CONS:

  • not cheap

4 – Fredrix Style 568 Medium Weight Cotton Canvas Rolls

An artists’ grade pure cotton duck. Medium-weight (7 oz).

PROS:

  • easy to stretch
  • good to learning how to stretch

CONS:

  • even if it is supposed to be artist-grade, some users state the quality is poor

3 Best Linen stretched and primed canvas

Linen is known to have better quality than cotton. The best linen is Belgian linen. The downside of the linen canvases is their price. They could be a nice work surface for professional artists, but they are too expensive to start with.

Best Linen Stretched and Primed CanvasPrice
Blick Studio Belgian Linen Stretched Canvas$7.12 – $929.00
Fredrix Pro Series Belgian Linen Canvas$17.52 – $71.02
Masterpiece Artfix Acrylic Primed Linen Canvas$14.60 – $152.65
1 – Blick Studio Belgian Linen Stretched Canvas

PROS:

  • best Belgian linen quality for a reasonable price
  • light, only 6 oz unprimed and 9 oz primed
  • archival
  • hand-stretched and back-stapled
  • 2 depth available: 1 1/2″ and 3/4″
  • buying in bulk is cheaper
  • wide range of sizes: from 5×7 to 48×72
  • largest sizes available in packages of 5

CONS:

  • recommended to be stored only vertically
  • packages are expensive

2 – Fredrix Pro Series Belgian Linen Canvas

A good, belgian linen canvas available in sizes from 8×10 to 30×40

PROS:

  • heavy, 11 oz
  • 7/8″ profile or 1-3/8″
  • stretched and primed in USA
  • extra brace included
  • Belgian linen

CONS:

  • can be not as smooth as you expected
  • more for oil

3 – Masterpiece Artfix Acrylic Primed Linen Canvas

A brand with a very good reputation but nor really popular.

Sizes available: from 4×4 to 24×36

PROS:

  • 2 options: Vincent Pro with 7/8″ profile and 5/16″ relief, and Monet Pro with 1-1/2″ profile and 1/2″ relief
  • archival quality Belgian linen
  • double coats hand-primed
  • heavy, 12 oz
  • uncut selvage leave a possibility to re-stretch
  • excellent bracing system: canvas 16″ x 20″ and larger is cross-braced

CONS:

  • doesn’t have really large sizes
  • expensive, almost $18 for 4×4 piece

Best Raw linen canvas

Best unprimed linen canvas is Blick Unprimed Belgian linen canvas

Produced in Belgium with exclusive weave configurations. Pieces up to 6 yards long are shipped folded. Longer pieces are shipped in rolls.

Blick Linen canvas has some unique styles:

Type 66J and Type 144 are smooth and tightly woven and great for portrait and detailed work, Type 185 and 135 are general-purpose high-quality canvases, Type 73D is an ideal midpoint texture between fine and medium, it is a great general-purpose type. Type 74D is extremely strong and has a double wave pattern. Type 215 and Type 79D are the types of choice for artists who work with texture. Style 200 is a style apart – it is a herringbone texture, the heaviest among all types.

PROS:

  • Belgian linen
  • Several styles (weights) and sizes available with unique characteristics
  • Depending on the size sold from 1 yard

CONS:

  • Styles are a bit confusing, it seems like there are too much of them
  • Some styles are extremely expensive
Brand NamePrice
Blick Unprimed Belgian Linen Canvas$42.76 – $4399.45

Best canvas panels

A canvas panel is a primed fabric glued to the board. The best option is when the canvas is wrapped around the edges of the archival or acid-free board and is glued to the board with archival glue.

It makes panel rigid, smooth textured support for painting. Panels come in white, black or some other metallic color (uncommon).

Very cheap and low-quality canvas panels will not be wrapped around the edges.

Most of panels are cotton canvas panels, but I will share with you some linen too.

Canvas panels are ideal for practicing and experimenting, for small painting and pouring works. They are quite impossible to frame.

The BEST Canvas panel is Mont Martre Canvas Panel

It is a great and affordable choice for beginners, it is not the best quality, but very well-made panels for acrylic painting or pouring when you start practicing.

Sizes available: 4×4, 5×7, 8×8, 8×10, 9×12, 11×14, 12×12, 12×16.

PROS:

  • durable
  • 100% unbleached pure cotton duck 
  • triple primed with 4oz acid-free acrylic titanium gesso
  • Back-stapled and shrink-wrapped 
  • rank 4.7 on Amazon (2000+ reviews)

CONS:

  • I haven’t discovered any, some reviews mentioned warping.

There are 6 alternative canvas panels:
Canvas panel brandPrice for 8×10 canvas panel
Fixsmith Painting Canvas Panels$13.98 for 12 panels
±$1.16 per piece
Arteza Painting Canvas Panels$14.99 for 14 panels
±$0.78 per piece
Mont Marte Canvas Panel$13.95 for 12 panels
±$1.16 per piece
Fredrix 3207 Canvas Panels$10.77 for 3 panels
±$3.59 per piece
Blick Studio Canvas Panels$0.96 per piece
$4.56 for 5 panels
Blick Premier Heavyweight Cotton Archival Panels$9.28 per piece
$100 for 12 panels
Blick Premier Belgian Linen Archival Panels$7.78 per piece
$84 for 12 panels
1 – FIXSMITH Painting Canvas Panels

100% cotton panel primed with acid-free gesso.

Sizes available: 5”x7”, 6″x6″, 6″x8″, 8″x8″, 8”x10”, 9”x12”, 10″x10″, 11”x14”, 12″x12″

PROS:

  • high strength – the canvas is glued to MDF heavy board
  • medium weight (8 oz)
  • natural tone
  • smooth triple-primed surface
  • come in pack of 12 – 24 – 32 pieces
  • deformation resistance
  • 100% Money-Back Guarantee

CONS:

  • some report student quality and warping

2 – Arteza Painting Canvas Panels

Arteza is one of the main actors on the art supplies scene and their panels range is quite wide and extremely popular.

White and black primed panels are available in sizes from 5×7″ to 11×14″ and different packs.

PROS:

  • cheap!
  • 100% Money-Back Guarantee 
  • lightweight and durable
  • eco-friendly: board’s cores are made of acid-free, recycled paper

CONS:

  • some artists state that these panels were not good for acrylic pouring

3 – Fredrix 3207 Canvas Panels

Fredrix seems to be one of the most expensive panels and yet, this specific model is often considered as student-quality.

Number “3207” refers to the size, so they can all have different numbers in the name.

PROS:

  • The US primed
  • light-weighted

CONS:

  • no detailed information available, almost no information.
  • only 3 in pack
  • expensive

4 – Blick Studio Canvas Panels

Blick knows how to make good quality for even better price. And it is a great choice for studies and for beginners.

Note, that Blick put Studio or Premier in the name of the product and you can guess about the grade and common use of it.

PROS:

  • more than 550 reviews, rank 4.5
  • durable
  • 5 oz 100% cotton canvas
  • double primed
  • 1/8″ thick
  • eco-friendly.

CONS:

  • I’ve seen some people saying that they wrap a lot.

5 – Blick Premier Heavyweight Cotton Archival Panels

This panel is meant to be better than student quality. It is a 100% cotton, primed and stable portable surface for practicing.

PROS:

  • archival
  • heavy – 11 oz
  • double acrylic-primed
  • durable

CONS:

  • expensive

6 – Blick Premier Belgian Linen Archival Panels

This is the only one linen canvas panel on my list. Good quality. To be honest, I don’t see the point to spend more money on linen panels if we will still use panels for small works, practicing, series, and not for showcasing or selling.

On the other hand, it could be an alternative to more expensive real linen canvases.

Available sizes: from 6×6 to 24×30.

PROS:

  • archival and stable, heavy – 12oz
  • pre-primed
  • tempered hardboard cores
  • Belgian linen

CONS:

  • price
  • careful: some sizes are oil-primed, don’t use it with acrylic paint

Best canvas pads

Canvas pad is a sheet of spiral-bound primed canvas or canvas paper.

The canvas paper is simply heavy paper with a surface texture like canvas. Canvas sheets are real canvas.

The real canvas pads might last years, but not centuries. They are good for practicing and tests but not for showcasing your talent in Louvre.
They come in a few different sizes and are an affordable way to improve your painting skills.

Comparing to canvas panels, canvas paper sheets are easy to frame.

As they are paper sheets be careful with amount of water you use.

The BEST Canvas Pad is Canson XL Paper Pad
1 – Canson XL Paper Pad

This paper pad is good for oil and acrylic, it is a bleed proof, textured surface for painting.

Available sizes: 5.5×8.5, 9×12, 11×14.

PROS:

  • 24 sheets of 136 lb/290 gsm acid-free paper in the pad. All alternative offer 10 sheets in a pad
  • French-made paper
  • 4.8 based on 3500 reviews on Amazon
  • extremely cheap: 9 dollars on blick and 14 on amazon, cheaper to buy on Blick

CONS:

  • the whole concept of sheets in a book will not last long, eventually, they will fall apart

Here are 4 alternative canvas pads for acrylic painting:
BrandPrice for 9×12″
Canson XL Paper Pad$9.42 for 24 sheets
Fredrix Canvas Pad$7.52 for 10 sheets
Arteza Canvas Pad$14.99 for 10 sheets
Strathmore 300 Series Canvas Paper Pads$5.67 for 10 sheets
Blick Studio Canvas Pads$5.85 for 10 sheets


2 – Fredrix Canvas Pads

A nice and cheap option for beginners and practicing.

PROS:

  • cheap
  • versatile
  • triple-primed with acrylic gesso
  • a good ranking on amazon
  • large size row

CONS:

  • only 10 sheets
  • as usual, this brand doesn’t share a lot of valuable information about products.
  • the texture could be rough

3 – Arteza Canvas Pad

100% cotton sheets in glued pad.

PROSCONS
acid-free gesso
nice texture
only 1 size available: 9×12
the most expensive among alternatives

4 – Strathmore 300 Series Canvas Paper Pads

This paper pad is available in white and black color in 3 sizes: 9×12, 12×16 and 16×20.

PROS:

  • 2 color available
  • heavyweight paper 115 lb (187 gsm)
  • flip over covers
  • textured
  • cheap

CONS:

  • only 10 sheets in the pad

5 – Blick Studio Canvas Pads

Cotton canvas pads from Blick are a great wallet-friendly option for beginners. They are student grade quality but still very good.

Studio Canvas Pad, 10 Sheets  9" x 12"  Front Cover

PROS:

  • triple-primed
  • medium-texture
  • can be stretched or mounted on rigid support for a Plein air

CONS:

  • only 10 sheets
  • the texture of the sheets may vary

Summary of 38 Good Canvases for Acrylic Painting

Stretched and Primed Cotton CanvasPrice range
* per pack
PHOENIX Pre Stretched Canvas $13.50-$39.99
4-10 pcs in pack
Academy Art Supply Stretched White Blank Canvas$9.78 – $32.96
4-12 pcs in pack
Artecho Stretched Canvas$13.99-$22.99
6-20 pcs in pack
Darice 71 Studio Stretched CanvasOnly sell per pcs
Blick Premiere Cotton Canvas (BEST)$7.8 – $1855
5+ in pack
Arteza Stretched White Canvas$19.99-$80.99
2-28 pcs in pack
Daveliou Stretched Canvas$17.55-$30.55
5 pcs in pack
US Art Supply Black Stretched Canvas$12.96-$34.96
4 pcs in pack
Art Alternatives Stretched Canvas$9.68-$45.88
4-7 pcs in pack
Conda Artist Stretched Canvas$11.19-$25.99
5-10 pcs in pack
Masterpiece Artist Canvas EliteOnly per pieces
Fredrix Red Label Cotton Canvas$50.4-$669
12 pcs pack
Winsor & Newton Classic Cotton Canvas$30.06-$327.9
6+ pack
Primed Cotton Canvases in tollPrice
Utrecht Artists Cotton canvas roll (BEST)$99.05 – $138.17
Fredrix Style 580 Universal Cotton Canvas Rolls$95.86
Blick Medium-Weight Primed Cotton Canvas Rolls$12.99 – $74.95
Caravaggio Acrylic-Primed Cotton Canvas Rolls$172.14 – $292.97
Raw cotton canvasesPrice
Blick Cotton canvas by yard (BEST)$3.78 – $11.99
Blick Medium-Weight Unprimed Cotton Canvas by the Yard$8.33 per yard
Fredrix Folded Cotton Canvas Blankets$101.49 – $229.28
for 6 yards
Masterpiece No. 12 Unprimed Cotton Canvas Rolls$101.99 – $184.99
for 3 and 6 yards
Fredrix Style 568 Medium Weight Cotton Canvas Rolls$26.10 – $82.41
for 3 and 6 yards
Best Linen Stretched and Primed CanvasPrice
Blick Studio Belgian Linen Stretched Canvas$7.12 – $929.00
Fredrix Pro Series Belgian Linen Canvas$17.52 – $71.02
Masterpiece Artfix Acrylic Primed Linen Canvas$14.60 – $152.65
Brand NamePrice
Blick Unprimed Belgian Linen Canvas$42.76 – $4399.45
Canvas panelsPrice for 8×10 canvas panel
Fixsmith Painting Canvas Panels$13.98 for 12 panels
±$1.16 per piece
Arteza Painting Canvas Panels$21.99 for 28 panels
±$0.78 per piece
Mont Marte Canvas Panel (BEST)$13.95 for 12 panels
±$1.16 per piece
Fredrix 3207 Canvas Panels$10.77 for 3 panels
±$3.59 per piece
Blick Studio Canvas Panels$0.96 per piece
$4.56 for 5 panels
Blick Premier Heavyweight Cotton Archival Panels$9.28 per piece
$100 for 12 panels
Blick Premier Belgian Linen Archival Panels$7.78 per piece
$84 for 12 panels
Canvas PadsPrice for 9×12″
Canson XL Paper Pad (BEST)$9.42 for 24 sheets
Fredrix Canvas Pad$7.52 for 10 sheets
Arteza Canvas Pad$14.99 for 10 sheets
Strathmore 300 Series Canvas Paper Pads$5.67 for 10 sheets
Blick Studio Canvas Pads$5.85 for 10 sheets

How to Choose a Canvas for Acrylic Painting

To sum up, before buying a canvas answer these questions:

  • what is your idea for the next painting? Is it better to have a small or a large canvas? What shape would be the best?
  • do you know how to prime canvas? If no, choose pre-primed canvases, if yes – raw ones.
  • buying a pre-primed canvas, choose the color, would you like to start on a white surface or you have an idea that needs to be done on black primed canvas?
  • will you frame your painting? If no, choose a canvas with thick edges.
  • what is your budget? Cotton canvas is cheaper in general.
  • will you use a stretched canvas or a roll? If you stretch your canvas yourself, you can buy a roll one, but you are just at the beginning of your artistic way, stick to stretched canvas.
  • what is your level in painting? Beginner – stay with primed and stretched cotton canvases, cotton panels and pads, intermediate – try linen stretched and primed canvases or raw canvas, pro – do whatever you want! Joking, do what feels right whatever your level is 😉
  • if you buy a canvas panel, check what type of wrapping it has and the priming (at least double).