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The Top Canvas Painting Mistakes You Can Make and How to Avoid Them

The Top Canvas Painting Mistakes You Can Make and How to Avoid Them

When it comes to making art while painting, the first thing usually thought about is trying to avoid painting mistakes with the wrong kind of paint. However, most don't realize that the notion of painting on a canvas is not as simple as buying a premade canvas from the store.

Creating a canvas painting project comes with undertaking some methods to protect and prep your canvas. If not, you will easily hinder your project before you have even begun.

Ready to start your artistic project off on the right path? Here are some canvas painting mistakes that you should avoid.

canvas mistakes for paintingChoosing the Wrong Types of Canvasses

As you may know, the canvas is a piece of fabric placed over a wooden frame that works well for absorbing paint in a way that paper cannot. But contrary to what you may believe, there is not just one form of canvas you can buy at the store.

Here are a few types of canvas you should know about.


Artists have lauded cotton in the past for being soft and easily stretchable, unlike other types of canvas. Many people choose cotton canvas because it has a consistent weave, which works well if you are not working on building a high amount of texture in your paint. One issue you may consider is it's not strong or long-lasting when unprimed.



It may not be the best canvas used for more ambitious projects, but if you are just getting started in your painting hobby or career, then it is a great place to start.


Linen is also another common material used for canvas. Compared to cotton, linen canvas has good strength and a fine surface, which makes it good to paint on. One of the best linens to paint on is Belgian linen.

Keep in mind, though, that linen is more expensive than cotton. This is because linen is usually harvested by hand and takes more labor to produce.


You may think painting on cardboard sounds a bit odd, but it is used for a tighter surface than a typical canvas. Because cardboard is so lightweight, it can be transported to any spot easily. While not the best for a final paint project, it can be a good material for studying the artwork.

For whatever needs you may have for a painting or how much money you want to spend on a piece of canvas, there are plenty of options out there to find the best types of canvasses. Once you master these, perhaps you'll gain enough confidence to paint on a black canvas.

Not Using a Primer

Don't be so eager to start buying paint brushes and splattering your paints just yet! Unless your canvas came pre-primed from your local art store, you need to apply a primer to your canvas before letting your techniques take their whim.

Why is that? Because they give your paint a better tone, protect it from corrosion, and act as a protective barrier between the canvas and paint. The best types of primers to use are acrylic gesso and oil primer.

If you are a beginner canvas painter, make it a habit to always use a primer. Your painting surface will act better than if you ignored it.

Throwing Away the Wooden Wedges

When taking packaging off a piece of canvas, you might get confused at a bag of wooden sticks or shapes that come with it. Don't throw it out, though.

Wooden wedges, or wooden keys, are used to stretch the canvas so it does not sag or warp over time. Some paints can be a little heavy for the original canvas to handle; thus, it begins to sag or make the canvas lose. If either of these occurs, then it is a sign the wooden wedges are greatly needed.

If you add them, don't place them inside the wooden stretcher until after you have finished painting. To place them in, turn the back of the canvas around and look for slits within the stretcher. You then hammer all of the wooden wedges inside.

Painting in the Wrong Weather

Paint will not do well on canvas in all kinds of weather. In fact, there is an ideal weather and temperature where you should ideally paint.

Overall, the best weather for painting on a canvas is temperate weather. Rain does not work well since the paint could be washed away when you apply the varnish outside. Meanwhile, heat also does not work with paint as it could cause the paint layer to dry too fast.

Even if the weather is not perfect, you have to adjust your means of protection, like using epoxy resin on top of paint as part of the final varnish. If the weather outside has high humidity or is another extreme weather, a deep pour epoxy resin will help protect the canvas against UV light. 

Don’t Make These Canvas Painting Mistakes

A canvas is a great medium for any paint project, but it takes some adjusting to make it right for what you artistically need. If you avoid the above canvas painting mistakes, you'll come out with a work of art that will befit any home, gallery, or museum (if you continue for long enough).

Have you been thinking of getting started on your latest canvas painting project or buying canvas painting tools? Let us help you on your artistic journey. Take a look at our catalog to see what we offer. Happy painting!