Best Paint For Canvas

Is painting a hobby of yours? Maybe you are delving into an artistic career and want to create beautiful art on canvas. No matter what level you are at, painting is a therapeutic experience and a wonderful way of letting out your emotions through creativity.

Before you start painting, you will have an empty canvas staring back at you, with infinite possibilities. If you have the best paint, you will soon be painting with ease and, maybe, creating a masterpiece. 

We know how many paints there are out there and we want to help you choose the best one for your canvas today. Keep reading and you will find in-depth reviews of our top five paints for canvas.

Once we have gone through the pros and cons of each product, we will then discuss some important factors you should consider before buying new paint. Finally, we have included some of the most FAQs to put your mind at ease on the subject.

Can’t wait for a starry night to find out which is the best paint for canvas? Here is our top pick!

OUR TOP PICK

Liquitex BASICS 48 Tube Acrylic Paint Set, 22ml

Our top choice is the budget-friendly Liquitex BASICS 48 Tube Acrylic Paint Set.

This is a great paint set if you are starting out on your artistic journey and have a budget in mind. Even though the price is low, there is no lack of quality here.

Artists have found the Liquitex acrylic set sticks to the canvas and is extremely viscous. This means the paint is thick and resists spreading across your canvas.

A highlight of this paint is its combination with other colors. You are able to mix different colors and mediums easily in order to achieve the most specific colors you want.

This may take some work to achieve but it will be a lot of fun.

It is important to remember that paintings are not just one layer. There is layer upon layer of different paints to create an image on canvas and let it leap out at you.

Unlike many cheap variants, Liquitex works wonderfully well in layers and sticks superbly even when thinned out with water.

With such thick consistency, the paint sticks strongly to the brush. It works best with horsehair brushes but has a similar effect on nylon paint brushes too.

This is a perfect paint for beginners and more advanced painters, giving you the perfect balance of quality and economy.

Pros

  • Very affordable compared to its competitors but the quality is still very high
  • Paint sticks viciously to the canvas with little chance of spreading
  • Can easily mix the colors together to achieve a specific tone
  • Works well in layers and sticks well even when thinned out with water
  • You are able to test the quality of the tubes before purchasing individual tubes

Cons

  • Tubes are quite small and can be used up quite quickly if you paint frequently

EDITORS CHOICE

Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paint Sketchers' Pocket Box, Half Pans, 14-Pieces

Our second pick is the deluxe Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paint Sketchers’ Pocket Box. This is a little more expensive than our top pick but satisfies every painter’s needs.

If you are looking for a paint set that offers consistency, time and time again, this is the one to go for.

For bright, strong colors that can mix together to make vibrant or muddier tones, Winsor & Newton’s pocket box will blend all your painting desires into one.

When used on canvas, the watercolors stick superbly for a great multilayered effect. It even competes with some oil colors with top-quality pigmentation.

Depending on your art style, this paint set could suit your requirements completely. With a soft, glistening texture, your canvas will soon come to life with a blend of fantastic quality colors.

The box set comes equipped with ten colors. This may not sound like much but this is enough to mix together and create most other colors. Thankfully, when mixing, these colors join effortlessly and accurately. 

The quality of this paint is good enough for more advanced painters or those who treat it as a job.

Nonetheless, this is a perfect set for beginners. The sheer quality of the paints will make painting feel easier and reduce the learning curve of painting on canvas.

Pros

  • Can easily mix colors together to achieve desired, accurate tones
  • Sticks superbly to canvas for a great multilayered effect
  • Comes with ten paints that can be mixed to create other colors
  • Contained in a compact, solid case for safe transportation
  • Suitable for beginners and experienced painters

Cons

  • The paint is quite soft and can run. This can be fixed with a mixture of some texture paste to thicken it out

BEST VALUE

Acrylic Paint Set by Crafts 4 ALL Perfect for Canvas, Wood, Ceramic, Fabric. Non Toxic & Vibrant Colors. Rich Pigments Lasting Quality for Beginners, Students & Professional Artist (24 Color Pack)

Containing 24 vivid colors, the Crafts 4 ALL Acrylic Paint Set is one of the best-rated paints on the market today.

Featuring rich, vibrant pigments, these are top-quality non-toxic paints, suitable for glass, wood, plastic, ceramic, paper, and many more.

The raw materials used to make Crafts 4 ALL Acrylic Paint helps create superior paint. These paints are perfect for beginners who want to experiment with paints on canvas or even other materials.

The soft, creamy consistency of these paints are easy to use and will stick well to your canvas.

This paint set also comes with three paint brushes allowing you to paint thin or thick lines with absolute precision. The actual set contains 20 tubes.

18 of these are 20ml color tubes whilst two are larger 50ml tubes of titanium white and quick drying gloss medium.

Most of these colors are hues but can be mixed to create your desired tone. Artists have praised the excellent consistency of these paints as well as their bright and beautiful colors.

Pros

  • Comes equipped with three paint brushes to save money
  • Non-toxic paint for safe, healthy use
  • Made from quality raw materials to produce superior paint
  • Clean up more easily than most similar brands
  • Rich and creamy texture for easy painting and a quality result

Cons

  • Some artists have stated that the paint can be a bit too thick

RUNNER UP

Zenacolor Acrylic Paint, Set of 24 Tubes of 0.4 oz (12 mL) Art Set for Adults and Kids, Painting on Canvas Panels, River Rocks, Glass, Wood, Fabric, Ceramic

You want great quality acrylic paint for your canvas. Look no further than the Zenacolor Acrylic Paint Set.

Containing 24 12-ml tubes of vibrant colored paint, this Zenacolor set has all the ingredients a canvas artist should be looking for.

With a varied color selection and at a very affordable price, the Zenacolor paint set provides paint with a rich and smooth texture.

The paint serenely glides across the canvas and works just as well on other surfaces. These are non-toxic, water-based paints that are highly pigmented.

Unique colors range from viridian green to titanium white meaning you will find just about every color you ever dreamt of.

If the singular paint isn’t what you were looking for, simply blend some colors for a beautiful hue.

You will unleash your creativity with this Zenacolor paint set and can do so anywhere you go. The set is easy to transport so you can paint when inspiration hits you.

A bonus of buying this set is Zenacolor’s “100% satisfaction or your money back”. This is in place for up to 30 days of your purchase as well as a two-year warranty.

Pros

  • Very affordable price for a great quality set of paints
  • Excellent selection of colors from titanium white to viridian green
  • Glides across the canvas with ease for a serene painting experience
  • Includes a “100% satisfaction or your money back” guarantee as well as a two-year warranty

Cons

  • Colors displayed on tubes may not be totally accurate

RUNNER UP

Castle Art Supplies 12 Large Acrylic 75ml Paint Tubes Set for Adults Kids Artists Students | Ideal for Canvas Wood Ceramic Fabric and Nail Art

Our last pick is an absolute bargain. Containing 12 75ml tubes, the Castle Art Acrylic Paint Set has nearly everything you need to start painting on canvas straight away.

With all these paints, you will have lots of supplies to start experimenting with different hues. 

As you probably know, good acrylic paint brands can be hard to find. Castle Art Supplies stands out as one of the leading producers of acrylic paint in the art world.

They have kept up this fantastic reputation with this paint set. The paints are rich and velvety in texture and are extremely easy to use.

Packaged in particularly strong tubes, these castle Art paints shouldn’t dry out or suffer any damage, even when being shipped.

However, the real magic is seen within the tubes. Each tube contains vivid, quick-drying paint that is greatly pigmented ensuring the brightest and best colors.

You will also be able to blend these paints easily to create specific colors for your canvas.

To get top results, you just have to squeeze the paints from the tube or thin with some water for layering and finer details. You will soon see eye-catching results from these premium quality paints.

Pros

  • Tubes are very large containing 75ml of paint in each for continued use
  • Contains all basic colors to attain quality results
  • Offers supreme texture and consistency for vibrant, eye-catching paintings
  • Quick-drying nature allows you to lay down your layers without muddying any colors
  • Includes a step-by-step tutorial to recreate the London Beefeater on the set’s cover

Cons

  • It may be a little bit more transparent than artists expect
  • Can be quite runny and best for beginners rather than advanced artists

Best Paint For Canvas Buying Guide

So there it is. Our top five best paints for canvas.

However, before you decide which paint you are going to pick up, there are a few factors to consider.

Below are a few points you should think about before you pick up that paintbrush and paint the next Mona Lisa.

Types of Colors

All of the paints we have discussed have been acrylic paints or oil colors. These are the two best styles of colors for working on a canvas. Let’s look at acrylic paints first. 

Acrylic dries faster than oils and is a much better choice for art that wants to jump out at you. Acrylic paints also work with water so they can be quite thick at first. Thinning out acrylics may take some time to master but you should eventually get your preferred texture.

Oils tend to blend better and are excellent for all kinds of work. Many artists prefer oil, simply for the experience, and the chance to experiment with blending colors and working layers.

Oils are also more vicious and stick to paintbrushes far more easily. Some oils work with water like acrylics but it is recommended you stick to oils for a more even spread.

The two grades of colors you will find in any store are student and professional. Student grades are cheaper and amazing for beginners or new learners.

However, these paint’s pigments are of lesser quality and don’t mix as well. Professional grade paints usually have more vibrant and dynamic pigments that mix together accurately and easily.

Colorfastness of the Paint

It is advised you consider the colorfastness of paint before purchasing any. Colorfastness refers to the level of fading the paint’s color may reach after some time.

The international organization, ASTM, categorizes paints from I to III. This is based on the colorfastness with I being the maximum. Some paint manufacturers may vary by using the code AA to signify their best colorfastness paint.

Viscosity

Here is another important factor when choosing the best paint for canvas. The viscosity is also referred to as consistency.

Thicker paints are usually easier to keep visible brushstrokes on a finished piece of art. Thinner paints are typically better for transparent washes or when you use an airbrush.

Types of Canvas

Canvas has a wealth of advantages over materials such as paper. It is more durable and should last a lot longer. There are a number of different options when it comes to choosing the right canvas.

The most common canvas type is made from cotton canvas pre-primed with acrylic gesso. There is also a linen canvas primed with oil primer which is more expensive but also pre-made.

If you want to splash out, some stores will have a canvas-making service. This allows you to paint on a quality pre-made canvas that will be very long-lasting.

Ingredients in Acrylics

There are two main ingredients in acrylic paints. These are pigment and a binder containing acrylic polymer emulsion.

These dry faster than oil paints and remain flexible once they have dried. Watercolors can be reactivated after they have dried but acrylics don’t have this luxury.

Other Paints Suitable for Canvas

There are a few types of paint that can also be used on canvas but aren’t considered the best options. These include Gouache, Tempera, and Latex paint.

Gouache is unique paint. It has similar characteristics to acrylic and watercolor. Made up of color pigment with a binding agent like gum arabic, gouache tends to have a hard white pigment included.

This results in gouache having a heavy texture and larger opacity than watercolors but not the same level of opacity as acrylic. It is best to apply a pretty thick layer to a canvas with very little water. A negative of using this type of paint on canvas is that it will be used up very quickly.

Tempera paint is composed of pigment with a water-soluble binder. This isn’t the most ideal medium for canvas as it is not that thick in texture. The paint can trickle down your canvas ruining your art. More so, tempera paint is not permanent so it may not last well on a canvas setting. 

Latex paint can be quite effective on canvas. It is typically rather opaque and is usually quite affordable. A downside is that this type of paint isn’t designed specifically for canvas.

Acrylics and oils are designed to last many years but latex paint is only destined for a few years. It's probably best to stick to acrylics or oils if you want generations down the line to be in awe of your masterpieces.

Saturation

In addition to the many colors available with paints for canvases, many acrylic paints offer different levels of saturation.

Paints that are highly-saturated will produce more vibrant and vivid colors. Less saturated paints will give more of a sheer effect.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to buy artist-quality acrylic paint?

Artist-grade acrylics are more expensive than student-grade paints. Artist-grade paints are made with a higher quality of pigments than can be harder to obtain.

These paints perform much better in lightfastness and permanence than lower grade options. Nevertheless, if you are just beginning to paint, you shouldn’t spend huge sums of money on artist-quality paints.

Student-grade acrylics are great for learning your way and they cost a lot less. This way, you can focus on experimenting by blending and mixing along with mastering your brushstroke.

How can I keep my acrylic paint from drying so quickly?

The main selling point of acrylics is its fast drying nature.

Many artists prefer this. However, if you intend to blend effects or mix paint on the canvas, quick-drying would become an annoyance.

If this happens, we recommend you add some retarding medium to the paint for the paint to dry slower.

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