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Painting Over Printed Canvas

Oil-based paints won't bond very well to printed canvas.
plaid fabric image by Lucian Muset from Fotolia.com

Things You'll Need:

  • Heavy-duty fabric drop cloth
  • Water-based acrylic spray paint
  • Craft brushes
  • Pints of water-based acrylic paint


You can paint sharp, professional-looking designs and patterns by using a stencil. Clean your canvas before you apply paint. You can wash canvas with ordinary detergent. But, be sure it is dry before you attempt to apply any paint or you will have problems with adhesion.


  • The ink used during the printing process on canvas is water-based. So, you must use a water-based acrylic paint to coat the canvas. Oil-based paints won't bond well to printed canvas. in addition, they don't offer much flexibility and will crack and chip over time. Never paint printed canvas using oil-based paint or you will end up with disappointing results.

Printed canvas is ordinary canvas with ink printed on it. Painting over printed canvas should never be a difficult task. You may be dumbfounded if paint applied over a printed canvas begins to bubble and peel soon after work is complete. Unfortunately, if you use the wrong type of paint on printed canvas, this will always be the case. If you need to paint over printed canvas, you must use a specific type of paint or you will see chipping and peeling.

Lay the printed canvas on a heavy-duty fabric drop cloth. Do not use a plastic drop cloth as this will allow the paint to pool up and can create a mess.

Apply a base coat by spraying the canvas with water-based acrylic spray paint. Spray in short intermittent bursts, rather than in one long stream to avoid runs in the finish.

Allow the printed canvas to dry for at least two hours and then apply the design or art you wish, using craft or artists' brushes and water-based acrylic paints.

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