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Blog / Beginner's handbook / Your Ultimate Guide to Canvas vs. Metal Prints

Beginner's handbook

Your Ultimate Guide to Canvas vs. Metal Prints

Your Ultimate Guide to Canvas vs. Metal Prints
Karlina Rozkalne

By Karlina Rozkalne

8 min read

Canvas and metal prints are two excellent print options for eye-catching wall art. Canvas prints add a subtle texture to the artwork, while metal prints give off a sleek design and impressive durability.

In this blog, we’ll cover key differences between canvas prints vs. metal prints, the pros and cons of each print, sizing, pricing, and more. 

Whether you’re a professional artist looking to showcase your work or someone who wants to find the best option to display a beloved photograph, this post has all the info you need to make a confident decision.

Canvas vs. metal prints: key differences

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of each print type, here’s a brief overview of the key differences between canvas prints and metal prints:

  Canvas prints Metal prints
Material Hemp, flax, or similar yarn Aluminum or similar metal
Surface Lightly textured Completely smooth
Finish Semi-matte or satin Glossy
Works best for Artwork and photos High-resolution, detailed photos
Price Starting from $22.75 Starting from $37.95

The main difference is the material your artwork will get printed on, which affects: 

  • Price 

  • Surface texture

  • Glossiness level of the finished product

With the basics out of the way, let’s first delve further into the specifics of canvas prints. 

Canvas prints

Canvas prints are one of the most popular art display methods. The artwork’s printed directly onto the canvas base. Then, the canvas is stretched over a wood frame and stapled into place. 

With Printful, you can get three canvas print options:

The most loved canvas prints are the standard Canvas. Our customers praise them for their vibrant print, color saturation, frame quality, and price-per-value ratio. 

All our canvas prints are fade-resistant. It doesn’t mean they’re immune to fading, though. It means the fabric doesn’t fade that easily. The less it’s in direct sunlight, the longer the art will remain at its peak color vibrancy.

Pros 

The price

Starting from $22.75, canvas prints are less expensive than metal prints. They’re budget-friendly without sacrificing quality or durability.

Well-suitable for a massive range of artwork

Canvas prints are an excellent way to display different artworks, including photographs, graphic designs, digital illustrations, and painting prints. They’re particularly well-suited to reproducing oil paintings, acrylics, and watercolors. 


thin canvas print

Thin Canvas print. Source: a customer’s photo from our product page.

The texture of the canvas can add a unique dimension to the artwork, providing depth and character that’s impossible with other print mediums. 

Cons

Affected by the conditions it’s in

While canvas is a durable fabric, it’s made of textile, so it can soak up moisture and isn’t tear-resistant. That means canvas prints aren’t ideal for busy kitchens or shower rooms. 

Sizes and pricing

All Printful’s custom canvas prints come in 6 sizes: 12″ × 12″, 12″ × 16″, 16″ × 16″, 16″ × 20″, 18″ × 24″, and 24″ × 36″.

The depth for Canvas is 1.5″. For Thin Canvas, it’s 0.75″, and 1.25″ for Framed Canvas (thickness with the frame).

The frames for the Framed Canvas come in three colors: black, brown, and white.

Here’s the pricing for canvases (print included):

  12″ × 12″ 12″ × 16″ 16″ × 16″ 16″ × 20″ 18″ × 24″ 24″ × 36″
Canvas $29.95 $31.75 $33.25 $35.50 $45.50 $65.25
Thin Canvas $22.75 $24.50 $27.25 $28.75 $33.75 $59.75
Framed Canvas $46 $50 $56 $60 $70 $98

Design tips and guidelines for canvas prints

The texture of canvas prints can give your artwork or photo a more traditional and organic feel.

You can have your canvas with a satin, a relative gloss, or a semi-matte finish that will reflect little to no light.

Design ideas

As mentioned in the pros section, canvas prints are well-suited for printing a wide range of art, be it photographs, paintings, or graphic designs. The canvas print will have rich colors to best display high-contrast and low-contrast designs. 

Canvases are beloved by artists and online store owners because of their versatility in designing options while still being affordable.

Canvas prints are also fantastic for displaying panoramic photos or multi-panel artwork. multi panel canvas artwork

Multi-panel artwork example. Source: a customer’s photo from our product page.

Guidelines

Here are the key things to remember:

  1. Upload images in the orientation you want them to be printed

  2. Submit files in PNG or JPEG format with at least 300 dots per inch (DPI)

  3. Keep all important graphics within the safe print area to avoid missing design elements

  4. Avoid designs with frames, as they can appear uneven if the print is shifted during the cutting process

  5. Fill in the sides and back area of the canvas in the Design Maker to avoid the possibility of white sides showing up on the front of the canvas (see the image below for visualization)

With their vibrant colors, texture, and durability, canvas prints offer a traditional and organic feel. They’re versatile to display photographs, painting prints, or graphic designs without breaking the bank.

While canvases may be affected by environmental conditions and require some care, their fade-resistant nature ensures long-lasting vibrancy when kept away from direct sunlight. 

Now, let’s explore canvas print alternatives—metal prints.

Metal prints

Metal prints are usually printed on aluminum, and there are two kinds: brushed metal and white metal. 

Brushed aluminum results in a more matted print due to the brushed pattern surface. 

White metal prints are smoother and contrast more color due to the white base. And any transparent design elements will be white in the print. This is what you’ll get with Printful.

White metal prints are a modern alternative to canvas with an industrial flair. Artwork or photographs are printed with dye ink on paper and then transferred to the aluminum metal surface with heat.

These prints are lightweight and durable. The shiny surface of the metallic print can reflect light in a way that canvas prints can’t, giving them an eye-catching appeal. Plus, the metal base is corrosion-resistant.


metal print from the front and back

Source: Printful. 

All Printful’s metal prints have an attached wooden frame on the back. Plus, you’ll get wall mounds, so hanging your piece of metal art will be effortless.

Pros

Durable and scratch-resistant

Metal prints offer exceptional resilience against tears, moisture, and general wear and tear. Since they aren’t susceptible to soaking up steam or getting easily damaged, they’re great for humid environments or busy areas like the bathroom or kitchen.

We ensure the durability of metal prints by using high-quality aluminum panels and premium-quality inks topped with a coating for extra longevity.

Easy to care for 

Metal prints are easy to clean. Usually, a damp microfiber cloth will be enough. If necessary, you can wash the metal print with lukewarm soapy water so the design won’t be affected.

metal print

Source: Printful.

Suitable for different surroundings

Additionally, many people appreciate that metal prints are weatherproof, so moisture and UV rays will have little effect on these prints. This makes them ideal for outdoor displays where canvas may fade or deteriorate over time.

But please note that consistent exposure to different weather elements and temperatures will shorten the life span of the white metal prints.

Ideal for photos

Metal prints are exceptionally well-suited for:

  • Low contrast photos

  • High contrast photos

  • Black and white photos

Printed images are one of the most popular categories in home decor, and metal prints are one of the fanciest ways to display your photography.

Cons

Available only in the US

The metal print is available only in the US, so the shipping address must be within this region. If you sell this item on your store, let your customers know they won’t be able to order this product if they live outside the US.

More expensive than canvas prints

Aside from framed canvas, metal prints are the most expensive wall decor available at Printful. That’s due to the higher production costs.

Sizes and pricing

Here are the metallic print sizes and pricing:

Size 8″ × 10″ 12″ × 12″ 11″ × 14″ 16″ × 20″ 20″ × 30″ 24″ × 36″
Price $37.95 $47.95 $51.95 $76.95 $143.95 $204.95

If you buy the metallic prints in bulk, you can get up to 10% off.

Design tips and guidelines for metal prints

Glossy metal prints are perfect for high-contrast art or photography. The white metal base ensures deep contrast, vibrant colors, and perfect details.

The high-gloss finish means the print surface is very reflective and will look polished and sleek. 

Design ideas

Metal prints are excellent for nature photography like landscapes or seascapes, high-definition photos, and detailed art pieces.

Guidelines

Here are the main things to remember:

  1. Upload images in the orientation you want them to be printed

  2. Submit files in PNG or JPEG format with at least 300 dots per inch (DPI)

  3. Keep all important graphics within the safe print area to avoid missing design elements

  4. Avoid designs with borders, as they can appear uneven if the print is shifted during the cutting process

Monetize your creativity

Sell art online and make money with no upfront investments. With Printful, you can focus on creating art while we take care of all the orders, from printing and packaging to shipping directly to your customer. 

This means you can focus on creating beautiful, unique artwork, building a loyal audience, and growing your brand. 

You can customize 332 products—put your art on wall decor, phone cases, t-shirts, tote bags, and much more. 

Conclusion

Canvas and metal prints offer beautiful ways to display your artwork or photos. Canvas has a timeless feel, while a metal print offers a more contemporary look with enhanced durability. Consider which material best suits your space before deciding which type of wall art you should buy (or sell).

Frequently asked questions

author

By Karlina Rozkalne on May 24, 2023

Karlina Rozkalne

SEO Content Writer

Karlina is an SEO Content Writer specialist at Printful. As a firm believer in attitude over aptitude, Karlina gives her 100% whenever she works on something new. Karlina spends her free time reading, traveling, and doing yoga.

Karlina is an SEO Content Writer specialist at Printful. As a firm believer in attitude over aptitude, Karlina gives her 100% whenever she works on something new. Karlina spends her free time reading, traveling, and doing yoga.