What Is Canvas Material?

Canvas wrapped around a wood frame for painting.
Canvas wrapped around a wood frame for painting. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Whether you plan on hoisting it up the mainsail or painting a masterpiece on it, canvas is a valuable cloth, based on its tightly woven texture and heavy weight. This material has a long history and is made from a few different fibers.

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Canvas Material

This durable material is used for a variety of purposes. Some five thousand years ago, canvas was woven from hemp fibers and used for sails. Cotton and synthetic canvas is still used for sailcloth, tents, awnings, bags, upholstery and paintings. Artists have painted on primed canvas that covers a wooden frame for hundreds of years. Cotton canvas is particularly popular for this purpose, as it can be stretched tighter than other materials without tearing.


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