Canvas Rolls – a budget friendly option for Acrylic or Oil painting Artist?

After recently moving to Canada and leaving behind most of my art supplies in India, It was difficult to kick-start my career and passion as an Artist. I was only allowed to take two baggage from India to Canada. It was hard to pick things and to sacrifice my big canvas paintings.

As I am living here from the last 3 months, I explored local art supply shops and Art brands here, like Micheal and Staples. To my surprise, Art supplies here cost you triple the price in India.

Of course, you can dream of becoming an Artist after getting your first paycheck (Hurray)!!!

During my last three years in India, I had tried canvas rolls, pre- stretched Canvas, Canvas Pads, Canvas Boards and Un-primed Canvas.

Canvas Rolls gives you the flexibility to choose your own canvas size. Besides its low cost, it is easy to store and carry before and after the painting is finished.

I start my paintings by choosing canvas size as it can alter the budget completely.

I prefer canvas size between 2′ x 3′ to 3′ x 4′.

If you want to give that traditional antique touch to your paintings by putting a frame around its border, then Canvas Rolls are definitely the best choice.

What are Canvas Rolls?

It is a type of un-stretched Canvas which is available either unprimed, primed or double primed in different lengths and width.
You can use hardboard as backing and frame it to give it that antique look. They are available in both cotton and linen, linen is more expensive.

Here, I am going to share why canvas rolls could be a budget-friendly choice for you.

Especially, when you are thinking of making a shift towards oil or acrylic paintings as a beginner and you are tired of those expensive pre-stretched canvases.

Less is More

You might have heard about the famous quote ‘Less is more’.

This quote applies here when you buy supplies in bulk.


What if I can’t decide the size and cost of Canvas when I am just starting with a low budget?

From my experience, I feel that an Artist should set up a standard pattern or style for paintings. It will help you to focus as you start your paintings. Also, when putting your paintings for exhibitions, displaying artworks with standard size, themes and colour combination looks more decent and impactful.

I explored an online store where Canvas rolls of different length and width of different prices were available to buy as listed below:

Canvas Roll (Double Primed)

1’x2′  for  12$

5’x 2′ for 30$

10′ x 2′ for 40$

25′ x 2′ for 60$

50′ x 2′ for 100$

100’x  2′ for 220$


Which is the best deal?
For me, it is 25′ x 2′ for 60$
Now, my choice depends upon a few factors.

For example,

You have decided to make Canvas Pad of your own size 2.5′ x 2′.

1st : (1’x2′  for  12$) won’t work for you.

2nd : (5’x 2′ for 30$)
You will get 2 Canvas pads from this roll. One pad cost you 15$.

3rd : (10′ x 2′ for 40$)
You will get 4 Canvas Pads, 10$ each.
You saved 5$ each pad.

4th: (25′ x 2′ for 60$)
You will get 8 Canvas Pads, 7.5$ each.
You saved 2.5$ more hurray.

5th : (50′ x 2′ for 100$)
You will get 20 Canvas Pads for 5$ each.
You saved 2.5$ more. (Oh my god, just look at choice 2)

6th : (100’x  2′ for 220$)
You will get 40 Canvas Pads, 5.5$ each.
Cost you more than 5th.

After analyzing cost per Canvas Pad, definitely 4th (25′ x 2′ for 60$) with 8 pads is an optimum solution to save money and to get more quantity. On the other hand, 5th option (50′ x 2′ for 100$) have 20 pads for 100$. Here, the amount is huge but fair. It all depends upon the Artist choice and necessities.

Next, I am going to compare canvas rolls with Pre-stretched Canvas Board cost:

1’6″ x 2′ for 50$
4 Canvas Boards 12.5$ each

2’x3′ for 50$
2 Canvas Boards, 25$ each

3′ x 4′ for 250$
5 Canvas Boards,50$ each.

This data is enough to understand and compare the two.

Canvas Boards are more than double the price of Canvas Rolls.
They definitely need to be framed which adds up to the budget because, without a frame, it is difficult to hang them and also they bend with time if you will place them on a shelf. I also found that their surface does not feel good while painting. Moreover, they come in fix sizes and bigger canvases are costlier.

I also like pre-stretched Canvas stretched on the wooden frame but they are more the costlier than Canvas Board (Cost varies from brand to brand and also the quality). After completing my paintings, I like to frame them but after spending money on pre-stretched Canvas and then framing it (needs some guts, man). I like to use them for painting as they don’t need any back support but they also come in fix sizes.

Lastly, If you are a beginner or want to try acrylics or oil for the first time then go for canvas pads. They are cheaper than Canvas rolls and you don’t need to cut them. They are similar to drawing books but instead of paper, it has canvas sheets.

Overall, if budget and quantity is your first concern then unstretched Canvas Rolls are better but if you are not concerned about money then stretched canvas can work well for you.


Good luck with your painting.

Happy New Year!!!