Learn How to Rubber Stamp on Stretch Canvas

Print made with stamps

The Spruce Crafts / Kate Pullen

If you are looking for different surfaces to stamp onto then how about trying artist's canvases. These are great for making decor for the home and canvas blocks are all the rage right now. This is a project for stampers happy to experiment with different techniques to create interesting results.

What Are Artist's Canvases?

Artist's canvases are typically pieces of linen or cotton canvas on which artists paint. There are two types which are commonly used, canvas board or panels, where the canvas is stretched over a piece of board. This gives a firm flat surface for stamping.

The other type is stretched canvas. These are pieces of canvas that are stretched over a wooden frame which creates a taut surface. Canvases of either type are available in a wide range of sizes, from tiny canvases through to canvases that take up an entire wall. There are a variety of different qualities of canvas available and art stores will have the biggest range on offer.

About the Surface for Stamping

The canvas surface is woven and as such it is more textured than normal cardstock. This is one of the features of the canvas which makes it a little different and interesting to work on. Note that this texture will mean that some detail in a very intricate stamped image may get lost. You will also notice that some canvases are sold as primed, others are not primed. A primed surface means that it has been treated ready for painting. Both surfaces can be stamped on, however, the inks will be absorbed by the surface of the untreated canvas and may need heat sealing on treated canvas. It is best to experiment with both types and see which gives you the results you prefer.

Where to Buy

You will find stretch canvases for sale in artists supply stores. You will also find them in craft stores and even some stationery stores as well as online.

How to Use

While you can stamp onto canvas panels with relative ease, stamping on stretch canvas presents some significant challenges, not least the fact that the canvas surface, while taut, has some movement and therefore it is difficult to stamp onto in the traditional manner. However you can achieve good results by placing the inked stamp, image side up and carefully pressing the canvas, top side down, onto the stamp. Then carefully rub over the back of the canvas to make sure the inked image is transferred from the stamp to the canvas. To use this method, your stamp must be smaller than the recess at the back of the stretch canvas.

Ink for Stamping

Unlike stamping on canvas or fabric which is going to be worn or may need regular laundry care, canvas panels are purely decorative, therefore there is no need to use fabric ink when you stamp on canvas panels. The type of ink you use depends on the results you want to achieve, however, good thick pigment inks are a great choice although they may need sealing with a heat gun. Permanent ink such as Stazon and Ranger Archival inks are also a great choice.


While artist's canvases are more expensive than normal paper or cardstock, you don't need to worry that all is lost if you make a mistake. If you make a mistake, simply get some white acrylic paint and paint over the image. Leave the paint to dry and when it is dry, start again!