How to Choose the Right Canvas for Printing: Size Matters!

Choosing the perfect canvas for printing is an art in itself. Whether you’re looking to adorn your walls with a splash of memories or gifting a thoughtful piece to someone special, the size and type of the canvas can make or break the appeal.

I wanted to create an article that guides you through the myriad of options available and help you make the right choice for different occasions.

Understanding Canvas Sizes

The first step to choosing the right canvas is understanding the sizes available. Generally, canvas sizes range from small (8×10 inches) to large (24×36 inches) or even custom dimensions.

collection of 8x10 canvas prints on wall
  1. Small Canvas (8×10 inches to 12×12 inches): Perfect for those cozy nooks or as a part of a gallery wall. Small canvases are also great for detailed photographs or artworks that don’t lose their charm when viewed up close.
  2. Medium Canvas (16×20 inches to 20×24 inches): These sizes work well in living rooms, bedrooms, or over small pieces of furniture. Medium canvases strike a balance between detail and impact.
  3. Large Canvas (20×30 inches to 40×60 inches): Ideal for creating a focal point in a room. Large canvases can showcase landscape photos, abstract art, or even blown-up portraits. They’re especially effective in spaces with high ceilings.
  4. Custom Sizes: Sometimes, the standard sizes just don’t cut it. For uniquely-sized spaces or specific images, custom-sized canvases are the way to go.
 Lion portrait on circular canvas

Matching Canvas Sizes with Occasions

Different occasions call for various sizes and styles. Here are a few examples:

Wedding Canvases

When it comes to commemorating the most romantic day of one’s life, a large canvas is often the best choice. Consider going for a poster-sized canvas (24×36 inches or larger) to showcase the happy couple. This size will capture the essence of the day and serve as a beautiful centerpiece in the home.

Birthday Celebrations

For birthdays, medium-sized canvases (16×20 inches to 20×24 inches) work well. They are large enough to make a statement but not so big that they overpower the space. For milestone birthdays, like the 21st, 18th, or 50th, you might want to go slightly larger to mark the significance.

A popular and simple idea is that people have had, is to have a caricature digitally designed by Fiverr and have that image printed onto a 20×30″ canvas, leaving a lot of white space around the drawing. That way people at the party can write something memorable on the surface of the canvas.


Anniversary canvases usually hold sentimental value. A medium-sized canvas with a collage of memories through the years is a beautiful way to celebrate the journey.


Mark this momentous occasion with a medium to large canvas. A single, striking photo or a collage of the graduate’s achievements would look great in a study or family room.


Small to medium-sized canvases are ideal as housewarming gifts. Choose something versatile, like a beautiful landscape or abstract piece, that the new homeowners can use to adorn their walls.

A Few More Tips

  • Image Resolution: Ensure that your image resolution is high enough to prevent pixilation, especially for large canvases.
  • Room Size and Wall Space: Consider the size of the room and wall space. A large canvas in a small room can feel overwhelming, while a small canvas on a large wall might look lost.
  • Personal Taste: Finally, always consider personal taste and style. What feels right for you or the person you are gifting the canvas to, is ultimately the best choice.
Jesus leading his followers in a panoramic canvas artwork

Choosing the right canvas size for printing is a thoughtful process. By considering the occasion and matching it with the perfect size, you ensure that your canvas prints will be cherished for years to come.

Canvas Materials and Finishes

Beyond sizes, the material and finish of your canvas are also crucial factors to consider. These choices can affect the texture, color, and overall appearance of your printed image.

Cotton vs. Polyester

Cotton canvas is widely recognized for its high quality. The natural fibers allow for greater absorption of ink, resulting in rich colors and sharp details. This is an excellent option as it has a thick gsm.

On the other hand, polyester canvas is more economical and has a smoother surface. However, it doesn’t absorb ink as well as cotton and might not deliver the same level of detail. Polyester is a good choice for decorative pieces or when you’re working on a budget.

Hence – the website samples I create is on polyester.

Glossy vs. Matte Finish

A glossy finish will give your canvas a shiny surface, which can make the colors pop and add a sense of depth to the image. This finish is especially eye-catching in well-lit rooms but can create glare under direct light.

A matte finish lacks the shine, which can give the canvas a more subtle and refined look. This is particularly effective for black and white photos or images with a vintage feel. Moreover, a matte finish doesn’t reflect light, making it more versatile for rooms with various lighting conditions.

Framing Options

Framed canvas artwork of a picturesque lighthouse

A frame can be the finishing touch that brings everything together. The above image is from a framed canvas I created.

You can find that blog post here.

Here are the most common options:

  1. Gallery Wrap: This popular choice wraps the canvas around the stretcher bars, so the image edges are visible from the side. It’s modern and works well.
  2. Standard Frame: The canvas is set into a frame, just like a traditional picture. This can give your canvas a more classic or formal appearance.
  3. Floating Frame: In this option, the canvas is set within a frame but with a small gap between the canvas edge and frame, creating the illusion that the canvas is ‘floating’. This is an elegant option that adds a touch of sophistication.

I don’t create a floating frame but I have had people ask me about them in the past.

Making The Final Decision

Now that you have a good understanding of sizes, materials, finishes, and frames, it’s time to make the final decision. Keep in mind the purpose of the canvas, the décor of the room it will be placed in, and your personal taste. Sometimes, it’s also helpful to consult with the printing company, as they might offer insights or suggestions based on their expertise.

Remember, a well-chosen canvas can not only enhance the aesthetics of a space but also evoke emotions and create lasting memories.