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Blog > Avoid Canvas Board & Panels

September 31, 2016 - by Ruth Collis

Why I Will Never Again Buy Canvas Boards or Panels!

Hidden expenses of framing


This is the reason for avoiding flat cheap blank canvas. When you go to buy canvas, many artists starting out do not think of how canvas cost plays into the whole picture, myself for one. Cheap art canvas are inexpensive to buy many  in a package right from the start in learning to paint, but man, when you add them up and put them all together later as you run out of room for storing your art, you begin to think of how to get rid of your flat art pieces and capitalize on all your hard work and you start thinking about getting paid for them now.


And that means FRAMING them, which is a huge expense. Even half off a good frame price of $15 for a 9x12 art piece, being about $8 with a coupon, still starts to add way up if you have 150 paintings now! Of course you may have experimented with larger flat pieces which now also need framing. If you want to get canvas board and canvas panels here and there, that is no big deal, and they are definitely great to paint on, cheap, easy, quick, convenient, perfect for Peel Painting and squishing paint together, but anything flat doesn't look good hanging, so will need a frame to hold it. If you have many paintings to frame, this will now add up and get costly.

Oh man, I have suffered the last 3 weeks buying frames at even half off and all the Christmas specials (Lol) just to frame these panels that I swear I will never get again in a large amount. For only a few pennies more, you can buy packages of stretched canvas in bulk that wrap around an inner frame, paint on the edges, and not need the hassle of outer edge framing. I have spent $400 for the last several weeks and still not done with this nightmare of trying to get all these panels framed of 150 paintings from my earlier painting years.


As an online painting teacher, I will not recommend them to people ever again so they will now not have to go through this very taxing expense of having to frame. And yes, most collectors who are not artists DO want the artwork complete and ready to hang. They don't know where to get a frame, how to get it half off, what looks good, etc. and is a huge burden lifted when YOU frame it. Well guess who has the burden now! You do!


Those crafty people or artists themselves, would want to get a deal on your art maybe, and get their own frame that matches whatever in their home, but if there's fewer of those kind of people that buy from you generally, you might think of what to paint on "now" that will cost you less in the long run like already stretched canvas in packs.

canvas board or canvas panel
Making art on paper have higher quality with adhering to a deep edge panel

Use deeper edge hard panels that don't need framing


If you do need a hard surface for more support, the panels with deeper paint able edges can work well for that. No those don't come in bulk but no you may not need it very often, so is good to have on hand. But now I do not ever want to buy flat paint able anything ever again unless it's a cute stocking stuffer that already has a frame, mini easel, or is some hand held trinket that sells well. This is a really good question that several have wondered before about, and is good to avoid literally paying the price for such an unseen expense of buying this flat kind of a painting board.

Time expense


Also, framing canvas boards or panels in numbers takes up huge TIME to unwrap the frame, bend all the prongs back to fit the art in, remove the glass if you have any sculptural dimension, bend the prongs back, toss all the wrapping, and then painstakingly, find a way to tape all the edges of all these glass pieces in bulk just for throwing away so no one gets hurt on them... if you have many of these to take care of.

Buy bulk stretched canvas

Yes, this is a very huge problem getting those easy to use flat canvas boards or panels once they start adding up. I would be glad to see people use a Michael's canvas board instead of cardboard, but to very quickly move on to Michael's blank canvas with deeper paint able sides to keep your later on expenses down, unless you can find a corporation to buy your paintings in bulk and take on their own expense of buying frames. These paint able sides come in a canvas pack and are so cheap too! So if you want to get canvas cheap, there's no reason not to get them where they come in stretched canvas bulk. These are often found at a Michael's canvas sale that they have all the time. If you sign up for their email alerts of deals, you will learn of them faster too.

bulk stretched canvas packs

So why do you need a frame at all?

It looks nicer and the art sells for higher prices if it has a nice frame. Even pieces done on Yupo or watercolor paper would look of better quality if framed or adhered to 1 inch deep panels that can hang as is. That is a sort of framing. For that reason too, I avoid papers or just have in mind how to sell them finished with as high quality as possible. Even art pieces adhered to this kind of an artboard still cost money and time, although it does look good. Sometimes like with Yupo paper, it makes these neat swirly designs you can't get by working direct right on canvas or panel, so still require using the paper and then you are stuck with mounting it in some fashion to look the best. Here is the only exception where a flat panel looks good... when it's cut out into a pleasing shape and hung with a whimsical string:

"Owl Cutout" impasto painting on panel by Ruth Collis

An alternative to avoid the framing expense


If you really like using certain art papers that are thin and require framing ideally, you could maybe show ONE work as finished in a frame to give an idea of what it looks like or digitally crop your next work in (like if you're selling work on Etsy), but then sell each paper piece as is without the frame and state so... that it comes without the frame. That would cut down your frame expense and still give an idea what it looks like if that's allowed in some of these online buying systems. But you will have to pad flat art papers well for shipping. Many artists do not like to ship paintings under glass, for it breaking during shipping, so there's that to think of as well.


After this realizing of hidden expenses with flat cheap canvas when thinking of getting your canvas art supplies, a commission may come along where they want a panel. Well you give the customer what they want of course, but as a general guideline, it would help to avoid panels for this framing reason if you are doing any kind of painting in bulk. As you grow, you will paint more and more, so be aware of a bigger picture in how you present your work for sale that was once for yourself.


Ruth Collis, Sculptural Painting Instructor

Ruth Collis

Sculptural Painting Instructor

See how to save great money on the cost of gel mediums, get 3 times as much than what is sold in the stores, and also learn how to make this 3D Simple Sculptural Rose, all for free in signing up here at the link or click on the picture below.

Simple Sculptural Rose course by Ruth Collis
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