Black and white canvas prints are a great way of displaying artwork and photographs.
This eBay guide takes you through the general principles of canvas printing and the options available to you as the buyer.
Type of Print
First of all, you will need to choose between the two types of black and white canvas print that are available to you.
Stock Prints: These are canvas prints of various types of art that are mass-produced for widespread sale.
Personalised / Custom Prints: These are prints created from a catalogue of stock images, or from your own pictures or photographs. Several sellers will allow you to upload your digital images directly to them, which they will then print onto canvas. If you have colour photographs that you wish to be printed in black and white, many sellers will also provide this service.
Types of Canvas
Material: The two types of material used in canvas printing are cotton and polyester. Whilst cotton canvases use more expensive natural fibres, polyester canvases are made from cheaper synthetic fibres. You will usually find sellers offering either 100% cotton canvases for your prints, or cotton and polyester composites.
It is generally agreed that cotton canvases offer a better quality print. Whilst ink penetrates deep into the fabric of cotton canvases, it tends to rest on the top of the polyester material. This leaves polyester more susceptible to cracking and stretching over time.
You will generally find cotton canvases to be more expensive than polyester or composite canvases. If you are on a budget, you should shop around for a canvas that is affordable without heavily compromising on quality.
Weight: You will also find sellers offering different weights of canvas. This is measured in grams per square metre (GSM).
The higher the GSM value, the more ink can be absorbed by the canvas. Whilst this will create a higher quality image, you should also expect to pay more for the canvas.
GSM values may vary greatly between sellers, up to around 420 GSM. For a canvas print of satisfactory quality you should expect a weight of at least 320 GSM.
You will find different sellers offering different printing options that you may like to choose between.
Printing Technique: There are two main printing techniques that are used to create black and white canvas prints:
- Ink-jet Printing: Ink-jet prints are made using digital copies of artwork or photographs. The images are printed onto canvas using high-resolution ink-jet printers, creating extremely detailed reproductions of the original copy.
- Canvas prints made using this technique are often referred to as giclées. It is common for photographs to be printed in this way, due to the digital nature of the printing creating more exact representations of the original image.
- Dye-Sublimation Printing: Dye-sublimation is a method where the image is transferred onto canvas using a heat-pressing technique. Rather than printing directly onto the canvas, the ink is vaporised and absorbed by the canvas material.
This method enables deep penetration of the ink and offers warmer tones than ink-jet prints.
Dye-sublimation prints are generally printed onto polyester or composite canvases, due to the bonding nature of ink with the synthetic fibres.
Types of Ink: You may also find sellers using different types of inks to create black and white canvas prints.
- Dye inks: Dye inks are generally cheaper than other types of ink for canvas printing. Whilst dye inks can create saturated, brilliant images, they are not UV stable. This means that prints made using dye inks will quickly fade when exposed to direct sunlight.
- Pigment inks: Pigment inks can be printed at very high resolutions and are much more UV stable than dye inks. Prints that are created using high-grade pigment inks can last 200 years without significant fading.
- UV inks: In order to reduce the effect of sunlight exposure, some sellers may print with slightly more expensive UV inks. These inks have been cured by UV rays, making them especially durable and fade-resistant.
Resolution: The print resolution used by sellers is also an important factor to consider. Resolution is measured in dots per inch (DPI).
Resolutions for canvas printing will vary greatly, but you should expect resolutions between around 1440 DPI and 2880 DPI. The higher the resolution, the clearer and more detailed the print image will be.
The size of canvas you require will also impact on the resolution needed to maintain satisfactory image quality. You should ask your seller for advice if you are uncertain of the resolution required for your print.
Whether you want a stock black and white canvas print or to customise your own, you will usually find a range of sizes available to you. Sizes may vary from a 20cm x 20cm square print to a 1.5m x 1m portrait print.
As you would expect, the larger the canvas the more you should expect to pay. Make sure that the size of canvas you require is available from the seller you choose to buy from.
There are some other general aspects of canvas printing for you to consider when purchasing a black and white canvas print.
Framing: Your black and white canvas print will usually be provided as a ‘gallery-wrap’. The canvas is stretched over a simple wooden frame, known as a stretcher frame, and stapled or glued down at the back. This method enables you to hang your canvas print straight away.
Some sellers may provide prints as a rolled canvas. This is useful if you wish to gallery-wrap the print yourself or consider different framing options. You should expect to pay slightly less for black and white canvas prints provided as a rolled canvas.
You may find sellers including a coat of varnish to your black and white print. This offers several advantages, such as improved UV resistance and protection from damp and mould.
Maintenance: You can sustain the quality and life of your black and white canvas print by following some simple care guidelines.
- Cleaning: You should clean your black and white canvas print using a dry, lint-free cloth. If your print has a coat of varnish, you may dampen the cloth slightly first.
- Location: Your black and white print should be hung away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.
- You should also position your print away from direct sources of heat, such as above radiators or fireplaces.
- Avoid hanging your print in a humid atmosphere as the canvas will absorb moisture and potentially loosen or distort.
- Storage: If you wish to store your canvas print, you should try to keep it upright and in dry conditions. You should also wrap you print in a protective environment such as bubble wrap and refrain from placing heavy objects on top of it.
Buying Black and White Canvas Prints on eBay
Once you have decided on the type of print you want, you can find it quickly and easily on eBay.
There are several options available to you on the left of the page, such as “Subject”, “Style”, “Size” and “Price”. You can select from these options to narrow your search results depending on what exactly you are interested in. For black and white canvas prints, it would be especially useful to select ‘Black’ from the “Dominant Colour” option.
You may prefer to use the Keyword search bar at the top of the page. This is particularly convenient if you wish to find sellers offering personalised prints. For example, you could search for “personalised canvas prints” or “black and white canvas prints” (without quotation marks) to narrow your search results.
You can also select “Include Description” to expand your search results. Visit eBay's Search Tipspage for more tips on searching with keywords.
You may also like to consider including “Completed Listings” in your search results. This will let you see the previous prices that similar prints have sold for on eBay.
If you can't find exactly what you’re looking for, try browsing eBay Stores or tell the eBay Community what you’re looking for by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a matching item becomes available.
Buy Canvas Prints with Confidence
Make sure that you know exactly what you’re buying and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.
Know Your Item
Read the details in the item listing carefully.
Remember to add delivery costs to your final price. If you’re buying a high value item, check that the seller will insure it until it is delivered to you.
If you want more information, click the “Ask seller a question” button on the seller’s profile or the “Ask a question” link at the bottom of the item listing page.
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Know Your Seller
Research your seller so that you feel safe and positive about every transaction.
- What is the seller’s Feedback rating?
- How many transactions have they completed?
- How many positive responses do they have?
- What do buyers say in their Feedback?
- Are they positive about the seller?
Most top eBay sellers operate like retail shops and have a returns policy.
- Do they offer a money-back guarantee?
- What are their terms and conditions?
In the very unlikely event that you do not receive your item or it is not as described, eBay Buyer Protection covers your purchase price plus original delivery cost.