Are you thinking about giving someone a gift? Why not give your dad or mom a canvas print for Father's Day or Mother's Day this year? Is your daughter graduating from college? Why not get her a canvas print to remember the occasion?

Canvas prints make great gifts, and they're also an excellent choice for adding décor around your home. Fill the walls in your lounge, bedroom, or dining room with attractive canvas prints that bring the living space to life with character and flair. From life moments to abstract canvas wall art, canvas prints give you plenty of options for decorating the walls in your home.

In this brief buyer's guide, we'll unpack everything you need to know about choosing the best canvas print for your home décor or gifting needs.

The Quality of the Image – Fantastic Photos Make Great Canvas Prints

The quality of your image is the most crucial factor in determining the outcome of your canvas print. If you don't provide the right resolution for your image, then there is no technology available to print it properly.

Unfortunately, most people don't understand the proper resolution needed for images used in canvas printing. Most people also don't have much of an interest in learning why pixels, file size, and the dpi make a difference in the canvas print.

If the image looks good on your phone screen saver, it should be fine for a canvas print, right?

Unscrupulous printers will go ahead and print your low-quality image, and then blame you for the way it turns out. Look for printers that advise you on the correct image types suitable for a successful canvas print of your picture.

A good rule to follow is that the bigger you want your canvas print, the higher the image resolution required to produce a clear canvas print. Facebook and Instagram photos from your smartphone will only be suitable for use on smaller canvas prints - up to 20x20-inch canvases.

For large prints, your image might need to be anywhere up to 10-Megapixels (3888 x 2592) for an excellent resolution on a 48" x 36" canvas. If you're uncertain about the requirements, call your printer and speak to them about the correct file size for your canvas print.

The Image Subject – Is Your Photo Worth Printing?

It's a fact that not every photo should reach the printer. Some pictures are better if you leave them on your memory card - or just delete them forever. Canvas prints work well with well-taken photos that translate into larger images. Before you send your image off to the printer, ask yourself the following questions.


  • Is the shot in focus?
  • Is there any digital noise in the picture?
  • Is the lighting good?
  • Will this look good when printed on a large canvas?

After ticking off these criteria, run your choice past a few friends or family members for further input. There's nothing more frustrating than printing a lousy photo.

The Image Composition – Is it the Right Choice for Canvas?

Image composition matters. Before you send the photo off to the printers, make sure you assess it for composition and context.

For example, if you're taking a photo of the kids, make sure you have them all in the frame, and that there are no heads or arms cut off in the shot. Make sure they all have their eyes open, and they are all smiling for the camera.

If you're printing a piece of abstract canvas wall art for your living room wall, make sure you have the entire piece in the image. The last thing you want is for the canvas to come out with half of it missing or with the wrong photo because you forgot to check your file before sending it to the printer.

Many people rush into printing something that they later regret. Check the background of your photos. Look for any signs of unwanted objects in the background. Check for distractions that pull your attention away from the focus of the shot.

If you're going to put an image on canvas, then it had better be one worth displaying.

Styles of Canvas Prints

There are numerous styles of canvas prints available. Choose from a variety of designs and shapes to suit your décor in your home.

When choosing your canvas print, you have the option of ordering a single image, or you can combine multiple photos into a collage using several frames. Create a separated shot on four canvases, with each of the pieces forming one part of a larger picture.

When it comes to the shape of your canvas print, you have plenty of options. Choose the traditional square and rectangular shapes, as well as unorthodox shapes like hexagons.

The image usually determines the shape of the canvas. For Facebook and Instagram photos, you'll have to rely on a square shape.

Using a rectangular canvas will end up distorting the image. Always ask your printer for a recommendation for the shape. Another good idea is to ask the printer if the image will work with a canvas shape you have in mind.

Images like sunsets and other natural wonders will always look better in a landscape format. People and pets look better in square canvases. Research around Pinterest and other social networking sites to get ideas for your next canvas print.

A collage is a great canvas print idea for friends and family members, especially for milestone birthdays, such as a 21st. Use the canvas to bring together multiple images of you and your family and friends enjoying good times over the years.

You might have to pay the printer more for the design and setup of a collage print. However, you'll find it's worth the money as you hand it over to your friend or family member and see them smile from ear-to-ear.

Print and Canvas Quality

After settling on your image and the type of canvas you want for your print, it's time to assess the printer. Not all canvas printers are the same, and completing some due diligence before you place your order will save you plenty of heartaches.

Some printers will take your image, do a lousy job, wrap it up, take your payment, and let you walk away. When you open the package at home to find a bad job, the printer will blame you for providing them with the wrong image.

Always do some research on your printer before placing your order., Ask them about the printing technology they use, and if they have any testimonials available to prove their reputation.

Some of the essential questions you should refer to your printer include the following.

  • What printer are they using?
  • Are they printing on matte or glossy canvas?
  • What kind of inks does the printer use?
  • How thick is the canvas?
  • Do they laminate prints, and using what process?

Look for printers that use pigment inks instead of dye-sub ink technologies. Pigment inks might be less vibrant, but they last much longer.

The HVLP lamination system is the preferred method for the best results, so make sure your printer is using this technique on your canvas. Canvases laminated with HVLP are practically waterproof after sealing, providing a long-lasting and durable finish to your canvas.

However, laminating your canvas can give it somewhat of a plastic look. Therefore, consider this option carefully before adding it to your order. The rustic look of a canvas print is eye-pleasing, and if you don't need to weatherproof the piece, we recommend leaving it raw.

The Fine Touch Ups – What to Look for in a Canvas Print

When ordering your canvas print, a few minor details might influence the final look and feel of your canvas print. These finishing details matter and they can make the difference to the final look and feel of the piece.

Start by looking at the corners of your finished canvas. If the canvas has lumpy corners and bad folds, you probably had an apprentice building your canvas. Look at the folds to see if they are folding in at the sides or top of the canvas. If that's the case, then that's grounds for a return and refund.

Canvases that have good folding so feature a tight and seamless look with little extra bulk. Other important considerations about your canvas include the following.

  • Does the canvas appear to have a tight stretch over the frame?
  • How are the staples inserted? – Do they look consistent and uniform?

A hand stretch will always give you the best finish on a canvas print. Next, look at the tape. Does the print feature the right finishing trim that prevents exposure of the staples?

As a final check, does the canvas come with brackets and string for hanging? Never accept a sealed canvas and leave the framer or printer without checking the work.

If you're picking it up from the printer, review it for errors before leaving the store. If you're ordering online, make sure that the printer has a returns policy.