Inkjet printing canvas... is it usable?


Due to an insurance claim, I recently got given a large roll of canvas designed for solvent inkjet printing. I don’t have any brand information, but it is likely to be a cotton & polyester blend canvas with a coating applicable for inkjet printing on. A few other artists (second hand info, no contact details) are gesso’ing and using it for paintings and I am curious thoughts on if I should use it and possible archival quality.

My work isn’t what you would called top quality so I figure for now i should be right to use it, but wondering for future if I get a lot better if I should continue or not. I figure it would have to be just as good or better than the cheap (relative) cotton canvas they sell in local art stores?

I usually paint small on lose canvas at the moment as shipping is cheaper (really expensive shipping out of Australia though).

Would it make any difference longevity wise which side I paint on? One side is obviously coated with a relatively smooth surface while the other just looks like canvas. Any thoughts on what side I should paint (I will likely do 3 coats of gesso either way).

Thanks for your time.

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This is a really cool question Craig!

I did some hunting around and it seems that a good number of artists are doing this (including painting on top of the prints created on this substrate)—although I didn’t find anyone really speaking about the proposed longevity of the material.

There’s even some “how-to”s on the subject:

I painted oils on top of a prepared brown paper when I was in art school but it was strictly for exercises and studies. I never intended to save or sell that work so I didn’t care.

Some forums mentioned artists like Corot and John Constable having surviving works on paper (in good shape!) but you’d have to research the exact materials to see how they might compare with the substrate you are considering.

Artist Ben Sones shared this insight on George O’Hanlon’s Painting Best Practices forum: “There are oil paintings on paper dating back to the Renaissance that are still around (for example, this small painting by Van Eyck, in the Detroit Institute of Arts:

100% rag paper, made from linen or cotton, is essentially the same material as canvas, after all. It needs to be sized to protect it from acids in the paint. And pretty much every surviving example I’ve seen is mounted to a rigid support.” -Ben Sones

I wish I could offer more help, especially from experience, but my use of paper as a substrate is extremely limited and the exact material in question has a number of unknowns. If I come across anything more specific I will let you know. And please let us know if you uncover anything!

Happy Painting,


Thanks Anthony.

I plan to try and sell paintings very cheap while i am learning — if I can get back to painting that is, only 1 has sold so far — so not sure how much I need to worry about longevity if you’re selling something for under $100? Maybe i’ll just cross my fingers and use it anyway?

So really your just painting on a layer of gesso and it just needs a surface to sit on? That’s the way I am currently looking at it :grinning:, though I guess if there are chemicals in the substrate that could eat into the painting it might be a problem.

If you were to use something like this (I have a whole 5’ roll), do you think there would be any difference between painting on the coated vs uncoated side (gesso’ed of course)? I assume not and just pick preferred texture?

Thanks for your time.

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