How to spot low quality canvas prints
How do you know if the canvas print you are looking at buying is good quality? Recognising a well made canvas art print is quite simple when you know how. Its similar to recognizing a forged cheque over a real one or a fake $50 note. You can often tell by looking at the texture of the paper and the colour of the inks if it’s the real thing. Recognising a poorly made or cheap quality canvas print is the same. In this blog we will give you some useful tips on what to look for, hopefully this way we all prevent a few people from buying one of the canvas prints out there that will fade in a few short months and start sagging on the timber frame..
A good canvas print will use pigment based inks instead of the dye based, cheaper ink available in the market. What is the difference I hear you say?
Pigment inks absorb better into canvas, settling in even layers deep within the fibers of the canvas. As the ink slowly dries the pigment particles bond into the canvas fibers, creating a permanent deep coloration instead of just covering the surface as dye based inks do. This deep absorption also means that pigment inks are also more water resistant and much less likely to collect mould, even in the dampest environments. Pigment inks light-fast meaning that they are resistant to UV rays that cause cheap inks to fade. A quality print will use archival inks, these inks have been independently tested to last up to 75 years or more!
Created with care!
The timber frame should be handmade. This is a shortcut that can be made as after all, who actually sees the frame on a canvas print? The important point is that a handmade frame will not have rough edges, warps or other flaws that are easily overlooked when they are mass produced. The frame also needs to be strong enough to support the canvas without bending, warping or twisting. If the frame is warped, the canvas wrapped over it will look terrible.
Blue Horizon Printing stretcher bar frames are produced using picture framing machines, they come out exactly square and are extremely strong. We even bevel the front edge of the wood frame so that the canvas isn’t worn thin by pressing against the edges of a frame.
Creating a good frame takes a lot of TLC!
The same lacquer as a Van Gogh??
Once the inks have been applied the next step is to add a coat of lacquer to finish the canvas with some protection against water or scratching. This is done in one of two ways. The first way is to use a museum grade lacquer; the lacquer bonds with the canvas and gives it a mild gloss finish to bring out the colours.
I see your true colours shining through!
Never judge a book by its cover! This adage is absolutely true for printing. As computer monitors age the colour and luminosity also deteriorate, it gets increasingly hard to correctly judge the true colours, what looks fine on your monitor may be completely different to what is displayed on someone else. To avoid this, a photo printing studio needs to calibrate the monitors and printers regularly; this ensures that all colours are accurately printed.
Make sure that wherever you print your photo on canvas, they calibrate their monitors to keep those true colours continue to shine on!
That’s really heavy man!
Canvas is available in a variety of different grades that are measured in gsms which stands for grams per inch. A good quality canvas is heavier compared to a cheaper grade material. The weave is also very important as a close, tight knit weave is much better to print on than a cheaper canvas. This closer weave allows the inks to be absorbed better. Some canvas printers will cut costs by printing on lower quality canvas however the final results are very different.
Keep your canvas heavy and you that canvas print will last forever not just 3 months!