Buying a canvas print should be a fun experience. Unfortunately, though, it can be really difficult to find a high-quality canvas print maker. It takes all of the fun out of the experience of putting your photography on a new medium.
I searched through dozens of canvas print studios before landing on one I really love, which is CanvasHQ. Thankfully, they recently published a blog post about the anatomy of a canvas print. If you’ve ever wondered to yourself, “how are canvas prints made,” then this article will be very enlightening.
While all of these nine steps to a good canvas print are from CanvasHQ, you can use them as a sort of checklist while canvas print shopping.
Edit Your Photos
Obviously the first step to a great canvas print is editing your photo. The problem with this step, though, is human error. I have accidentally sent over the incorrect file to my print shop before and ended up with a canvas print that nobody in their right mind would want.
CanvasHQ circumvents this problem by providing free touch ups to all of their clients. They can remove blemishes or red eye and fix noise in your image if you forgot too.
But, they won’t do anything without talking to you first. They keep meticulous proof notes in order to make sure your image comes out exactly as you want it to.
Use High-Quality Ink
A lot of canvas prints turn out so badly because a lot of canvas print shops use cheap ink. CanvasHQ doesn’t. They strictly use inks that are meant for outdoor use, so that the sun’s rays never damage your canvas print.
They also use six colors of ink, as opposed to the more traditional five, to ensure that your image color looks exactly as it’s meant to.
CanvasHQ inks also don’t smudge, so you get a canvas that will retain its precise color detail for years and years to come.
Check for Imperfections
photo by Rawpixel Ltd via iStock
After your canvas print has been printed, CanvasHQ does a quality control inspection. They make sure that the ink hasn’t smudged. They make sure that the colors look accurate. And they check the canvas print against the finalized proof you received.
I’ve yet to receive a canvas print from CanvasHQ that had any imperfections in the canvas.
Use High-Quality Frames
Another reason why your canvas print may be less than spectacular is that the frame is warped. Since most frames are made of wood, they can warp in heat over the years.
CanvasHQ only uses a kiln-dried premium pine wood for their canvases so that they won’t warp in the heat.
Another way that CanvasHQ makes their canvas print frames even better is that they refuse to use glue to put it together. Glue always fails, eventually, so they use brads and staples to keep your canvas print together.
Finally, they make sure that there aren’t any knots or cracks in the wood before using it.
Don’t Forget About the Finishing
If this seems like another quality control checkpoint for your canvas print, then you would be right. Workers at CanvasHQ take the time to check your frame one last time to ensure it is perfect. They also sand down the wood, so that you don’t end up with any splinters.
Stretch It Properly
This is the step where a lot of canvas print shops mess up. Stretching a canvas print is actually a lot harder than it sounds and a machine really can’t get it right. That’s why CanvasHQ hand stretches each canvas print that they produce.
This process works by aligning the canvas to the frame via guides that are printed onto the canvas. The first edge is then stapled to the canvas before moving onto the rest.
All of this work is completed on a soft-surface, to make sure your canvas isn’t accidentally damaged.
Use High-Quality Hardware
While some canvas print studios use frustrating hanging hardware, CanvasHQ keeps it simple. Small canvases receive a sawtooth hanger while large canvases receive a hanging wire.
No matter the size of your canvas, you can rest assured knowing that it will be easy to hang.
Make Sure It Stays Safe While Shipping
A lot of shipping companies don’t really care whether your package arrives at its location safely. This is why CanvasHQ works with Fedex to deliver their canvas prints. They also package your canvas print safely. So safely, in fact, that 99.5% of their prints make it to their final location without any damage.
Mount It Properly
The final step to getting a high-quality canvas print is to hang it up. This is also the most fun step. When you work with CanvasHQ, you don’t need any tools in order to get your canvas print up on the wall.