Cheap Canvas




About: I like to make things. Either out of necessity, being cheap, or just because I can.

Cheap canvas for artists on a budget. I also like to make canvases on a frame but I didnt have the wood or canvas for it.


Piece of wood or something hard
Scrap fabric(mine was an apron I found)
Paint Brush or something to spread the glue evenly

Materials Cost: High: $2-5
Low: Free

Time Cost: High: 30 mins
Low: 15 mins

Step 1: Staple It

Staple one side of the board

Step 2: Glue It

Flip it right side up and put the glue down then spread it evenly

Step 3: Tight and Staple It

Flip it over and pull the fabric right and the first staple goes in the middle. Then go from the middle out, making sure you pull the fabric tight every time before you staple.

Then get the other side, staple. Then the last side, pull tight and staple.

Step 4: Cut It

Cut excess.

Step 5: Paint It

Paint white. The best stuff to use is Gesso which is like the professional stuff. But I really don't need the canvas to be perfectly smooth so I just use spray paint or regular paint. Painting the first coat will save the paint you use when you start to paint.

And your done.



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    11 Discussions

    erm, I've been painting for about 3 months now and although I don't consider myself a painter, the main reason I think canvases are white and why I like it white is that 1. it has a base coat in which you colored paint doesnt just soak through and you end up using a lot of paint. Its smooth and has the canvas texture(canvas + gesso) 2. white is a good color to paint over. For example, I was watching tv and there was a toy company that made toy tricycles and they painted them white first because it made the red look brighter. White is also easier to paint over than black, one or 2 coats tops depending on your paint.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Actually you are partially correct. Gesso is used to seal the canvas and create a surface that the paint will adhere to and last over time. But the white color is a matter of personal preference. You can add pigment to the Gesso to create a toned canvas, or you can lay a thin transparent layer of paint over the Gesso to tone your canvas. But keep in mind most paint is by its nature translucent and becomes more so with time.

    You do not want to use bleach or other strong chemicals because they can interact with your paints and sunlight, causing color shifts, fading and yellowing. (although some artists have been known to rub their paintings with onion skins and then thoroughly cleaning between glazing coats (oil painting) to increase adhesion between paint layers.)

    I've never been very good in chemistry, so someone might need to correct me, but wouldn't bleach cause the art to deteriorate more quickly? I don't know what pH bleach is, but I know fine art materials are acid-free to prevent deterioration. Can anyone else shed light on this?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    This is just for a canvas. Then you paint on it. Bleaching would weaken the fabric and Weissensteinburg was asking about making the fabric white


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Bleaching and making white are the same thing in this case - I was answering inverntorjack with respect to pH.



    10 years ago on Step 5

    good idea ;) i just recently tried using some canvas drop cloth i picked up at a local big box home improvement store. a 9x12 peice was about half the price of a comparable weave canvas in the dick blick catalog. for frames i've just been stapling the canvas to junk store or trash picked picture frames. and instead of expensive gesso i use either flat white latex wall paint or primer. interior or exterior is fine. whichever happens to be cheaper ;) lol! i now have ten canvasses and have painted four already, two of the unfinished are 40x40 and i still have a little canvas left over. i guess i better get painting ;)

    Ummm, well this time I got lucky. My parents throw all shirts/towels/sheets in a big garbage can. So I just rumaged through and found the most canvas like material. I've used a t-shirt before but you have to put a few coats because the thread count? is lower than canvas. Not much paint goes through canvas=less gesso/base paint wasted. Also, try walmart or a fabric store. Ask for canvas, I find that the ladies are always friendly.