Acrylic Prints vs. Canvas Prints – The Only Guide You Will Ever Need

Acrylic Prints vs. Canvas Prints – The Only Guide You Will Ever Need

Whether you’re a professional photographer looking for high-quality printing solutions for your latest images or an amateur enthusiast who wants a quality print to showcase your photography portfolio, it’s important to select the right print type.

Different printing surfaces can complement image styles in different ways, and understanding the distinction can mean the difference between a good print and a great print.

A lot of time can go into taking the perfect photograph. But you should also allocate time into selecting the perfect print to make your images shine to their true potential. Acrylic and canvas prints both offer an excellent way to showcase your finished photography – but their unique display benefits vary greatly based on the image type you want to use.

That’s why we have developed this comprehensive guide examining the difference between acrylic and canvas prints.  Read on to find out the best option for your photo printing.

The Process

How are canvas prints made? 

Canvas prints are created with the application of an image onto the surface of a canvas that is then stretched across a frame. This stretching process then sees the canvas wrapped around the frame, or alternatively a color border can be applied.

The high-quality nature of the wood and material used during this process ensures that the frame and canvas won’t warp over time, or when affected by heat and moisture.

At Canvas Factory, we offer a range of personalized sizes for prints. So, regardless of the room size you’re decorating, you can select from small, medium, and large canvas prints (and everything in between). In terms of heat protection, UV laminate (also called a UV coating) is a popular solution used to protect images from the elements once displayed. This is applied during the canvas printing process. It’s so strong that it can provide image quality protection for up to 70+ years. Without it, the image quality would begin to eventually break down due to the damage from sun exposure.

The laminate cover protects your canvas prints from scratches that can occur from moving your prints around your home. The laminate also provides water damage protection, while allowing you to still be able to clean any dust off the canvas with a damp cloth. The quality of UV laminate can also showcase the contrast of colors within your print, adding depth and vibrancy to ensure your prints pop on your walls.

acrylic and canvas prints


Acrylic photo printing comes about via two methods.

The first of these is known as the face mount; this is when an image is printed onto a photographic sheet of paper that is then placed between two acrylic sheets, front and back. The back being potentially black and the front being transparent, based on style selected for the image. Before being sealed, the print will be sprayed with air to ensure that every speck of dust is removed from the image surface so that the acrylic is not ruined once sealed.

The second method is getting your photograph and printing it directly onto acrylic and sealing it with a solid back coating using a very expensive printer.

Both result in giving your image a visual depth that has to be seen to be believed.

Although both processes seem straightforward, to get a good quality acrylic print, you need to work with a printer that has experience with the materials being used.

acrylic print details

What is the difference between acrylic and canvas prints?

Presentation and appearance 

Acrylic is a premium print. This means that it will come at a slightly higher price point. But once you hold it in your hands and mount it to your wall you will notice that it feels and displays much more high-end, the colors will be more accurate and the visual depth and sharpness of your image will be far more pronounced than anything you have seen before. Also, the life of an acrylic print will generally outlast other more common and premium material types.

The acrylic option is often selected by professional and individual artists who like a strong and striking presentation.

Canvas prints, on the other hand, are far more textured in the finish.  So if you are after an old-world traditional feel to your finished image, a canvas print is the perfect choice. This print option is, without a doubt, the most popular for anyone looking to create wedding prints, family prints or any beautiful image-based wall art print..

Canvas prints are more often made out of cotton or polyester. The primary difference between the two material types revolves around color exactness.  With cotton fibres, you will find that any color will seep into the cloth type. However, with polyester, you will find that any printed color will remain on the surface of the synthetic strands.

Both material types are good in their own way. If you’re after something more high quality and traditional, the cotton canvas is perfectly fine. However, if you’re after something more affordable that still provides a sharpness of color and offers long-lasting quality then polyester will definitely meet your requirements.

acrylic and canvas prints

Color sharpness 

As has been mentioned, acrylic prints offer an advantage over canvas prints when it comes to color sharpness, which can enhance image vibrancy. This is in part supported by the reflective surface of acrylic prints. It limits light passing through the surface of the print, which in turn ensures image colors are able to retain their sharpness when being viewed from all sides of the print.

On canvas prints, the printing process will focus on adding more color in order to achieve the best color coverage for the image being applied. This is the primary way printers ensure that image detailing is not lost. At Canvas Factory our printers are masters at this process, ensuring ink spread across the canvas is achieved every time. This will ensure that the final finished print looks exactly like your vivid photograph.

acrylic and canvas prints

Strength and life span

Generally, both the UV protection and laminate applied to canvas prints ensures that the surface of the prints is protected from the bumps and scratches that can occur when you’re moving your images around your house or office. The laminate also provides water damage protection, while allowing you to still be able to clean the canvas with a damp cloth. The robustness of the canvas material, coupled with the surface treatment applied ensures that you will get 70+ years of quality out of a good canvas print.

Acrylic prints on the other hand, by the nature of the printing process and surface, applied, offer even more protective benefits and longevity for your image. The strength of the surface ensures that they are resistant to most breaks and scratches, while still being light enough to move around any room without issue. Similar to canvas prints they are also moisture resistant and easy to clean with a damp cloth, while also being resistant to damage from sunlight.

Ether material type provides an excellent option for image protection and longevity.

Popular designs for canvas prints 

At Canvas Factory we offer both traditional shapes, exclusive modern arrangements and also bespoke sizes to match your tastes and interior design requirements.

Some examples from our  full range are:

  • Single Canvas Prints: Gallery-wrapped canvas photo prints that are printed on high-quality, stretched canvas available in a range of sizes, including custom sizes.
  • Split Canvas Prints: These multi prints allow you to turn your stunning panorama pictures or any other cherished image into sensational split canvas prints.
  • Canvas Photo Collage: This print option allows you to combine photos related by theme or subject – or just visual aspects such as color and textures – into a single layout which results in an impressive creation that’s more powerful than the sum of its parts.
  • Canvas Print Wall Display: This multi print option offers you a chance to create a series of different canvas prints at varying sizes. Canvas print wall displays are an excellent way to use your special photo memories to visually showcase your journey.

canvas prints

Popular designs for acrylic prints

Each of the acrylic designs can be offered in a bespoke size and a range of shapes to meet your interior design needs.  Have a look at just some of the range options below:

  • Shaped Acrylic Prints: Available in three shapes; love heart, round and oval. Your special photos will be presented perfectly and with such vivid clarity. From the quality of materials, through to the quality of printing, you will find the finished product to be the best in class.
  • Split Acrylic Prints: The contemporary aesthetic of acrylic photo printing is heightened when you take one of your stunning images and split it across multiple panels. The crystal clear clarity of the acrylic print on the walls of your home will lift any room.
  • Acrylic Wall Displays: The gallery-inspired look of an acrylic printed wall display will make your photos shine. Simply choose a group of similarly-themed photos and have them printed on different sized panels.
  • Silhouette Photo Collages On Acrylic: Adding a playful, unexpected silhouette to your collection of photos creates an instant conversation piece that results in a dual surprise for the viewer – upon first seeing the crisp, cool collage, and then when they see the silhouette cut-out that underscores the link between the photos.
  • Modish Shape Collage On Acrylic:  Perfect for contrast with more traditional photos, the modish shape collage brings a plethora of creative ideas to the arrangement of your photos.

In conclusion, the print type you choose will depend on your image, your budget and your unique style preferences.

Canvas prints offer a more classic, yet versatile look at an affordable price. Canvas prints are a long-lasting product. They are robust and will still reflect the quality of the image applied to the material, including richness of colour. A canvas print from Canvas Factory will also be with you for over 70 years without fading in image quality.

Acrylic prints work fabulously as a modern-style print that showcases highly-detailed or highly-saturated images. They’re available at a premium price, yet the price is justified based on the finish, depth and vividness you will get with your final image – along with a prolonged product life. Which print will you choose? Browse our range today to decide!


Megan is Canvas Factory's resident Social & Content Manager, and has worked with countless other homewares and interior design businesses over the years. It goes without saying that she also has a passion for decorating her own home!

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