Photos on your walls give your décor warm and welcoming vibes. We know all the stories behind those images, but what about the canvases they’re printed on? Have you ever wondered about the origins of these canvas prints?

They offer lots of value as they’re resilient, inexpensive, and come in different options. Canvas prints have evolved over a long period of time, and their tale is a very interesting one.

A Brief Intro

Canvases have been around for ages. Initially, they were used for making boat sails and have been a favourite oil painting medium for the last several hundred years.

With time, the woven fabric’s purposes evolved, and it has been used for various other purposes, including making bags and shoes. As more products were made from canvas, their use was no longer restricted.

The use of canvases for printing photos and artworks is relatively novel. The move has revolutionized art and photography during the last hundred years.

Let’s dig in further to learn more.

The Material

Canvases are made from both organic and synthetic materials. Hemp and linseed fibers have traditionally been used to make canvases and are still in play. However, the manufacturing process has been enhanced with the help of modern technology.

Cotton is currently the more commonly used raw material for canvas manufacturing due to its easy availability, strength of the fibers, and flexibility. A high-quality canvas can last from a few years to decades and beyond if appropriately maintained.

The Early Days

Canvas was used as early as the 14th century, although it became commonplace in the 16th century during the Italian Renaissance. Initially used for making boat sails, it drew the attention of the painters for several reasons.

  • The canvas did not wrap like wood panels, which could damage the artwork.
  • The canvases were also better at drying up compared to frescos.
  • The material was readily available and pretty inexpensive.
  • It was easy to fold without cracking up the colours of the paintings.

Offset Canvas Printing

In 1875, a British man named Robert Barclay devised a technique to print on tin using metal plates. The offset printing process was modified to transfer the artwork onto the canvas.

The inked image was transferred on rubber mats from metal plates; these mats were then used for transferring the painting onto the canvas.

Modern Canvas Printing

Mass printing of artwork on canvas is a relatively new phenomenon. Its roots were found in the 19th century, allowing painters to deliver more work without needing to repeat the painting process.

A printing technique called Giclee came to the fore in the 1950s. This technique benefitted from high-quality inkjet printers with small spray jets to create highly detailed prints with fantastic accuracy.

The technique worked by spraying tiny droplets of ink onto the canvas to control colours and tones in the printed photos. The archival-quality inks are used since they resist fading and degrading over time.

The canvas printing technique quickly became popular among artists and galleries since it allowed a more affordable alternative to hand-painted canvases while offering high-quality results. Mass production of artworks was boosted owing to this technique.

The Digital Printing Era

The canvas printing process has evolved as digital printing technology has become commonplace.

Digital printing allows for better accuracy, sharper colours, and detail in the final print, just as good as the original photo. Canvas prints are now an inexpensive alternative to traditional posters and framed prints.

Impact of Digital Cameras

Digital cameras have been an absolute revolution. Initially introduced in the 1970s, their use became widespread in the 1990s. As the quality of the cameras improved, they were used more and more. With high-quality cell phone cameras, digital photography became the rage.

Before the digital camera, canvas prints were mainly used for replicating artwork. However, with the digital camera, canvas prints are also now used for printing photos. Here are some of the reasons why these cameras have such as impact.

  • Transferring photos onto a computer and printing them is much easier than scanning.
  • Making minor edits, like adjusting lighting and contrast to the photos on the camera, takes a few minutes.
  • You can directly print photos from cell phones, and there is no need to move the images to a computer first.

How did Canvas Prints become Famous?

Several factors helped in making them famous over the years.

Mass Production

Canvas prints allowed the mass production of artwork without requiring human effort to replicate them. With technological advancement, prints were no longer limited to art, and people started printing pictures.

They are readily available and customizable, making them the perfect option for wall décor. You can comfortably get a large canvas print or several small ones to decorate your interiors.

Inexpensive Alternative

Compared to photographic paper, canvas prints are less costly. The finishing on these prints is fantastic, and the overall results are often better than the photographic paper. The canvases can be stretched and do not need expensive frames to hold them.

Canvas prints can survive in harsh conditions, and you can even hang one in the bathroom. With proper coating, they can sustain high moisture levels and dust without damaging the product. You can keep them in excellent shape with minimal maintenance.

Digital Cameras

Digital cameras made it easier for the photos to be printed onto a canvas. Previously, photos had to be developed before they could be displayed.

To print them on canvas, one had to scan them on a scanner and transfer them to a computer before printing. But now you can easily send the photos to a printer through your Android or iPhone


E-commerce has revolutionized how we conduct business. It has also had an impact on the use of canvas prints. Since we need high-quality printers, not everyone can print canvases at home. Apart from the printer, sourcing the right size and kind of canvas is also an issue.

There are now many websites that offer the service for you. They have all the necessary setup available, and you can easily upload your pictures and select the size, canvas types, and other details. Within a few days, you can receive canvas prints at home for a fantastic price.

The Bottom Line

Canvas prints are a fantastic medium to print photos on. They have a long history of evolution, beginning with the canvases used for making boat sails and then for oil paintings.

With the arrival of machinery, large-scale image printing on canvases is now possible.  It has helped canvas prints become an integral part of interior decor.

Now people prefer to have their photos, images, or other artwork printed on canvases since the material is high quality, the results are excellent, and the cost is low compared to photographic paper, making it the perfect proposition for the masses.

To conclude, the history of canvas prints is fascinating, and it’s incredible to see how far they have come. Today, canvas prints are a popular way to bring life to any space, and at The Canvas Prints, we’re proud to offer a wide range of canvas prints, including panoramic canvas prints and split canvas prints.

Whether you’re looking to decorate your home or office, our canvas prints are the perfect solution. So why wait? Upload your photo and create your canvas today!

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