In light of the this, we felt the time was right to write an eBay Guide specifically to arm eBay users with some general information on how prints are printed and framed, including some invaluable tips and advice when choosing a piece of canvas art...
Printing:The majority of canvas art is printed using an inkjet process, popularly referred to as Giclée, with either Dye inks or UV inks. Dye inks are often used in the smaller models of printers capable of printing onto canvas and, whilst a little brighter in colour, can have the tendency to fade after a short time (typically 12+ months.) Whilst no canvas print should be placed in direct sunlight, archival UV inks contain light stabilisers that help to keep prints looking new for anything up to 200 years in ideal conditions. The type of inks used will be stated by a supplier who is confident in the quality and durability of their prints.
You should also check what steps the seller takes to ensure their printer is colour calibrated. This ensures that the colour of the printed canvas closely matches the preview image - the picture on which you based your decision to purchase. Good colour management is a complex, on-going process that involves skill, judgement and experimentation, as well as technology like a Spectrophotometer device. Why not ask your supplier about how they implement colour management?
Framing:The process of framing of a canvas print is called gallery wrapping and takes skill, dexterity and experience to achieve a high quality finish. The print is tightly stretched over around the sides of a box stretcher frame. Good stretcher frames will be professionally, accurately cut with a sloping profile that minimises contact with the front face of the canvas, preventing the impression marks. They should also be adjustable, supplied with tensioning wedges in each inside corner that can be tapped in slightly to allow occasional re-tightening of the canvas.
Of paramount importance is to check whether the stated measurements refer to the finished, wrapped and framed size of the piece, or just to the unframed print itself. A framed piece is always smaller than the dimensions of the full, unframed canvas, and a good seller will state both sets of dimensions in the listing rather than only stating the larger canvas size.
Shipping:Whilst there is little chance of a well-made canvas print actually breaking in transit, a lack of care and foresight when packing could mean that your print arrives marked. Most would rather be spared the replacement process which may be awkward with some sellers, so always check what methods your chosen supplier uses to pack and ship your piece.
We have experimented with numerous methods to ship our own prints in complete safety, and have found that a generous wrapping of bubblewrap inside a purpose-made dual-wall carton is perfect. You should also request that your supplier minimises transit time by using a fast shipping service.
- Check whether the canvas art supplier is easily contactable. Are they contactable by phone? Email?
- View the seller's feedback ratings; do they have a good reputation for quality? How long have they been trading?
- Find out how long your print will take to despatch; this should be clearly stated in the listing.
- Be wary of low prices but high postage. This is often a way to avoid eBay fees or tax.
- If you are buying for your VAT-registered business, check whether the supplier can provide a VAT receipt so you can reclaim the tax.
- Check whether the supplier has a clear returns policy. Business sellers have a legal duty to replace faulty items.