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Canvas Panel vs Stretched Canvas

canvas panel vs stretched canvas

Professional and amateur artists use different types of canvas to support their work. Two of the more popular being used are canvas panels and stretched canvas. But what is the difference between the two? This article will compare canvas stretched panel vs stretched canvas and what they bring to their users.

Feature Canvas Panel Stretched Canvas
Thickness Thinner Thicker
Pricing Cheaper More Expensive
Space Occupancy Lesser Space Large Space
Size Preference Perfect for Smaller Paintings For Large Paintings
Portability Easier to Ship Shipping Can Be a Challenge

Stretched Canvas

Stretched canvas is basically canvas clothed stretched over a wooden frame. This type of canvas is very delicate because of the cloth, which can be easily damaged. Most professional artists use the stretched canvas because of its professional look and lighter weight since the wood is only located on the side.

Another benefit of using stretched canvas is portability. You can quickly bring it anywhere and hang it immediately after the painting. There is also no need for the stretched canvas to be framed and immediately hung on the wall.

Canvas Panel

The canvas panel still uses the cloth with a board on the back. One thing about the canvas panels is the bigger the size, the heavier the weight issue to the board at the back. However, using this canvas panel will feel very sturdy and safe.

The back portion of the canvas panel is very flat and eliminates the worries of being uneven in your work because of the flatness. The Canvas panel will also assure you that no matter how heavy your hand is, it can easily take the weight of your hand.

Comparing Stretched Canvas vs Canvas Panel

comparing stretched canvas vs canvas panel

Let us compare stretched canvas and canvas panels in terms of features below:


In terms of thickness, the stretch canvas is thicker compared to canvas panels. Normally, a canvas panel has a thickness of about ⅛ inch while stretch canvas comes with a different variety of thicknesses. Some are available in ⅞ inch, 1 ½ inch, and 2 ⅜ inches depths.

Moreover, the thinness of the canvas panel makes it a perfect medium for painting outdoors. Meanwhile, those extra-thick stretched canvases are called gallery wrapped canvases. Artists use these canvases a lot as they hang them on the wall immediately without having a frame.

Price Point

It is essential for every artist to consider the price for every art supply they will be using. For canvas panels and stretched canvas, there is a considerable difference in terms of pricing. In general, canvas panels are cheaper compared to the pricing of stretched canvas.

However, this rule is not applicable all the time especially when it comes to the quality in relation to different brands. The cost of the materials in manufacturing stretched canvas and canvas panels can also influence their pricing.

Space Occupancy

Generally speaking, canvas panels are thinner compared to the stretched canvas which means they will take up less space. It also means that canvas panels are easier to store and ship as it does not take too much space.

Meanwhile, stretched canvases can take a lot of space especially if artists are using gallery wrapped canvases. This situation can be a problem for artists who have a small studio. At first, it may not be a problem if you can sell the paintings immediately. It can be a problem if the paintings will be stocked in the studio and get accumulated as it will really eat up a lot of space.

Size Preference

Both canvas panels and stretch canvas cones with certain size limitations. But, I have to admit that canvas panels work best with smaller paintings as the panels are usually available in smaller sizes.

For stretched canvas, it can be awkward for this type to be used on smaller paintings. It will be difficult to stretch the cloth with this very small size. And if you stretch it the wrong way, the canvas might sag especially those parts on the corner. Stretch canvases are ideal for large size paintings.


Transferring your painting from one place to the other can be a real challenge. But, a canvass panel that has plenty of small sizes can be easier to transport to another location. Those small paintings that I made using smaller size canvas panels were shipped only using a padded envelope.

These padded envelopes, which are available in the post office, are very comfortable and have the necessary features to keep the paintings safe and sound. For stretched canvases, a box is advisable for large size paintings using stretched canvas. Of course, shipping in this style can cost more since the size is larger.

Other Differences

In terms of feel, stretched canvas usually gives little resistance during the painting, which some artists like. A canvas panel is more rigid, and the feeling is comparable to painting on a wood board.

Canvas panels are also perfect for Plein air painting or painting outdoors. Painting outdoors like Plein air will need you to consider the size and the weight of all your painting supplies. And canvas panels are perfect for this type of painting.

Painting in a location can be a challenge. This situation is why it is better to carry ten canvas panels than to bring two stretched canvases. You will also have more chances of doing several painting works.


Comparing canvas panel vs stretched canvas is essential to know which of the two works best for you. I can say that a canvas panel is the best option for you if you are doing small paintings or doing the job outdoors. For large paintings, stretched canvas is the best option for you.

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