What Is Canvas ? Understanding How Canvas Is Made And Its Use Cases

What Is Canvas ? Understanding How Canvas Is Made And Its Use Cases

What Is Canvas ? Understanding How Canvas Is Made And Its Use Cases

Canvas is a textile material first discovered and used around the 14th century during the Italian renaissance period. In today’s age canvas fabric is more typically made out of cotton and to a lesser extent, linen. It is known for its strength, versatility in its application and durability. Canvas achieved its notoriety as a great outdoor fabric for its ability to withstand the rain, because by mixing cotton with synthetic fibers, canvas becomes waterproof. This gave way to one of its major applications, as the material of choice used to make sails for boats in order to propel a ship through water.

 What Is Canvas ? Understanding How Canvas Is Made And Its Use Cases
What Is Canvas? Understanding How Canvas Is Made and Its Use Cases

 

Where Does the Word Canvas Come From?

When we take a closer look at the origins of the word itself, we find Canvas derives from the Latin word “cannabis”, which means “made of hemp”. Having originated during the 14th century Italian renaissance period, which is a period of time characterized by some of the greatest artistic influences of our time such as Leonardo DaVinci and Michael Angelo. Canvas started to become the material of use when stretched across a frame, to inhabit the brush stokes of such artistic greats. In other words, canvas began to be used as the material of choice for painters and artists to paint on, which in today’s age is still one of its most popular use cases.

 

What Is Canvas? Understanding How Canvas Is Made and Its Use Cases

 

Delving further into history, we find that canvas production also spread to the people in ancient India who also began weaving cotton to create canvas around 1500 B.C. As cotton plants and canvas fabric were traded around the world and began gaining popularity, we see that cotton canvas production also spread to Europe in the eighteenth century, it is around this time canvas had become a world-renowned fabric which is still being used for its remarkable applications in modern times.

Physical Characteristics of Canvas

Canvas comes in two basic types: plain and duck. The main difference between plain and duck canvas is found in the thread count of the two types. Plain is known for its coarser weave, while duck has a smoother feel due to its higher thread count, and this is because the threads in duck canvases are more tightly woven. Bing!

How Is Canvas Made?

While hemp and linen were traditionally used to make canvas as stated, and are still used, most industrial canvases are created using cotton. Cotton ensures that prices remain economical for producers and manufacturers, whilst also providing advantages to artists who paint on canvas, because cotton is known for its stretch-ability, meaning artwork made on canvas is less prone to cracking and damage. The cotton is woven using a plain weave, which increases its strength.  Artists can select a canvas based on how tightly the cotton is woven as well as the weight threads of the yarns used in the weaving processes.

 

What Is Canvas? Understanding How Canvas Is Made and Its Use Cases

 

To get technical, this process involves tightly weaving yarns together in a plain weave. Using the basic two components of weaving (warp and weft), the warp (vertical) threads are held steady on a loom (a device used to weave cloth and tapestry), while the weft threads cross over and under each warp. The thickness of the canvas is dependent on the fibers/yarns used, however the most popular yarns are medium to heavy weight threads.

9 Ways to Use Canvas

Canvas is a very versatile fabric and has an incredible list of applications which throughout time has been used to make many things. Below are some of its most popular functions and use cases!

 

What Is Canvas? Understanding How Canvas Is Made and Its Use Cases

 

  1. Sails. Known for its waterproof ability and great outdoor application, the sails on boats were originally made from canvas.

  2. Tents. Outdoor climates need rugged, heavy-duty materials to with stand the elements and climates, here we find that canvas is a widely used material when it comes to the production of tents and many camping supplies.

  3. Bags. Canvas is another popular material when it comes to bags, from tote bags, farmers market grocery bags and backpacks etc. Canvas is durable and water-resistant, making it a great material to use in bags for everyday use.

  4. Shoes. You wear them every day, and they must last. Canvas being flexible, durable, and water resistant is what makes it the material of choice for making great footwear.

  5. Painting. Canvas stretched over a wooden frame is an excellent painting surface. Because canvas is stretchable it’s also great at preserving an artwork less prone to cracks and damages.

  6. Backdrops. Canvas is popular with photographers because it can be used as a backdrop for photos due to it being lite and easy to carry.

  7. Coverings. Many industries such as the military and construction, need waterproof coverings, here canvas fabric fits the bill and is used thoroughly as a means of cover for when the time calls.

  8. Clothing. Outdoor wear and jackets are often made from canvas. Again, due to its durability and water-proof qualities it is a great material for such use cases.

  9. Furniture. Canvas is another popular material used to upholster furniture because of its strength and durability which is needed for repeated use in furniture items. 

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What Is Canvas ? Understanding How Canvas Is Made And Its Use Cases