How To Print On Canvas Properly [Easy Steps With Pictures]

Canvas printing is a way of expressing your photos and sceneries in canvas fabric. The printed canvas glues onto a bordered or borderless frames before hanging on walls. Canvas is a popular fabric made of natural fiber hemp. Nowadays, the canvas is a fabric made with linen, cotton, polyester, or a blend of artificial and natural thread. Canvas is durable adds texture and depth to color when used for printing images, is lightweight, does not reflect in light, and prints well in both matte and glossy finish.

Do you want to use canvas as your media for printing photos, images, and artwork? In this article, we would like to walk you through the various methods of printing photos on canvas. Before you venture into printing photos, images, artwork on canvas let us see what you would need for know.

Printing Photo and Image on Canvas

  • Appropriate Canvas Fabric

If you want perfect printing, the most experienced canvas fabric printer suggests the use of tension fabric. So, what is tension fabric? Tension fabrics are stretchable to adjust and fit the size of a rigid frame. Such fabric is durable and holds color vividly. Printing photos and images are appropriate in tension fabrics because of the holding capacity of color in sunlight and compatibility with the washing machine. Tension fabrics are also wrinkle-free, do not glare in light, are lightweight, odorless, and environment friendly. Polyester mixed tension material also serves well as canvas fabric. The size or thickness of the canvas fabric also varies; your paper must be compatible with the printer you will use.

How to Print on Canvas

  • Size of the Canvas Fabric

The document you are working with should have the right ratio of dimension that allows printing to the size of the canvas paper you choose to print. Here, you can set your printer to the size of the fabric without cropping away part of your artwork. The size of the photo should equal the accurate size of the print you want. Always check the service provider on setting up the print size and the dpi to get a perfect print of the picture on the canvas.

how to print on canvas fabric

  • Type of Printer

Would you not want the best printer to print your photos and images? To get excellent results, you need an inkjet printer. Laser printers are good for paper, but inkjets are outstanding in printing images on canvas. Inkjet printers are of many types. Before you buy one, find out if the printer can take canvas sheets.  Check out the size of the printer with the canvas size that you intend to print. The density of canvas fabric is higher than ordinary papers. If the specificities do not match, there is a likelihood of a jam.

types of printers and their advantages

  • High-Resolution Prints

Printers also come with differential resolution or the sharpness of the artwork. Printers with high-resolution produce detailed vivid prints. Resolution is a measurement of the flow of ink and expressed as dots per inch (dpi) or pixels per inch (PPI). A 310 PPI is good for an 8×8” photo canvas, a framed photo of a similar size will require 420PPI. The preferred dpi for artwork is 300.

Digital Printing on Canvas

Today, anything and everything is becoming is digital. Digital technology in image or photo printing encompasses an electronic technique to generate, store and process data to print out images to the digital printing press. In digitalizing, the internet is widely using along with computers, mobiles, smartphones, and web-based services.

how to print on canvas with inkjet printer

Digital print on canvas can print repeatedly from the saved material over again. The advantages of digital printing are the speed of printing, reduced cost, printing flexibility, superb quality, the option of prototyping, and environmental safety, as there are no carbon footprints left after printing. With the use of digital technology, communication with businesses and social media has improved tremendously. Canvas printing to cherish your photo and artwork is gaining attention.

i. Digital Printing on Canvas Fabric Takes Place in a Few Steps

  • Choose and collect the canvas that will be suitable for the photo or artwork you want to print. Prepare your inkjet printer with the color combination you plan to use. You may use a glossy or matte finish depending on how you want to reflect the image or artwork. UV-resistant canvas may be a better choice to protect against fading because of sunlight.
  • If you have a photo, image, or artwork of your own you will have to digitalize it. Using the built-in camera of your smartphone is the easiest way. Snap the image; upload it directly to the computer or iOS/Android operating system whichever is compatible with your device.

Digital Printing on Canvas Fabric

  •  Alternatively, you can buy digitalized art prints from online stores. Scan and save it on your fine art canvas print file. The saved file will print directly on the canvas.
  • At this stage, decide on the size of the picture you want to be printed. It is better to make a trial copy to visualize the quality of print. You can always place a border of 1-0 to1.5 inch depending on the 3D effect.

ii. Loading the Printer

  • Switch on the printer. Use the feeder that takes thick sheets as canvas fabric is thicker.
  • You will need to add thin strips of leader paper to allow feeding the canvas paper. You will need 2 strips of paper if your canvas is 13 inches wide. Cut the paper with a width of 1nch with a pair of scissors. Tape the strips at the back and bottom of the canvas at a place where the canvas will feed into the printer. Keep it parallel; otherwise, the paper will take a slanting position.

how to print on canvas with inkjet printer

  • In the computer center the document, because of the 1-inch strip by working on the print setting of the menu. Set the page margin to an extra inch to allow printing the entire photo on the canvas.

Printing Your Art on Canvas

  • Turn on the printer and check the status of the ink. By inserting the leader side first, feed in the canvas to the printer with the face-up. Insert straight so the print comes out perfect.
  • Make sure all settings are right. Adjust the colors you need along with the gradients. The printer would have all these options. You can go to ‘user detail’ so you do not miss any essential setting before you give the command for printing.

how to print on canvas paper

  • Print out the artwork on the canvas fabric. To avoid smudging let the canvas dry properly. Wrap it and place it on a box. Your canvas print is ready for stretching.

Stretching the Printed Canvas

In modern homes, canvas prints are a decor. Besides, you would want to keep your memories alive. Therefore, your canvas, photo, image, or artwork needs around your home for you to enjoy. So printing on canvas is not the end of the story. You need to stretch the canvas the right way, so it looks nice and clear on your wall. Let us find out how to stretch a printed canvas.

You will need the following.

  • Your printed canvas
  • Assembled stretcher bars
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Corner clamp
  • Staple gun
  • X-acto knife

Step 1. Frame Size

Measure the stretcher bar (wood frame) to make the right angle at every corner. Be it square or rectangle the opposite sides should measure exact.

canvas frame

Step 2. Cutting the Canvas

The printed canvas needs cutting a few inches wider than the stretcher bars to grip into the other side as your stretch it. Place the canvas on the frame and cut out the canvas with scissors or an X-acto knife leaving enough border space of canvas to turn on the other side of the frame including the side margin.

Stretching the Printed Canvas

Step 3. Position Canvas and Frame

Place the canvas flat on the frame. Add glue on the side that will be close to the wood. Make sure there are no wrinkles. The grain of the fabric should be parallel to the stretcher bars of the frame. This will keep the canvas in position.

preparing canvas

Step 4. Method of Stretching

Begin at the longest and at the side close to you as you fold the canvas over the stretcher bar. Wrap the canvas around, keep the corners loose for tightening later. To get a perfect fit, you may wet the canvas and flatten it from the center onwards. Fold the canvas over the frame and insert staples first on the sides and then in the corners. As you, staple the sides pull hard enough to let no folds remain on top of the sides.

stretching method of canvas

Step 5. Fold the Corners

Stretch tight and fold the corners neatly. The corners should form a triangle with no overlap. Pull all corners tightly before stapling.

Step 6. Check for Tightness

Go around on all sides of the frame and check for tightness. Let it rest. Your print on stretched canvas is ready to place on your favorite spot.

making printed canvas

About Author


Alice covers platforms, policy and big tech at Printer Reviews. Prior to rejoining here, Alice was Senior Technology Editor of the TechDen. Alice first joined PrinterReviews in 2021. Before joining, he was the Tech Editor of the Daily Dot and a reporter and deputy editor at ReadWeb.

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