What is the Difference Between Canvas and Acrylic Prints?

Image result for Big Acrylic large canvas prints

Big Acrylic large canvas prints have been the large-format photo printing standard for a very long time. While the technology and processes to make them have changed over time, of course, their popularity remains simply because canvas prints offer the classic, old-fashioned high-quality photos you can expect, for larger formats.  This is the type of printing used when making large photo prints or art prints that you might think of in terms of interior design. Canvas printing is simple, more affordable, and more attractive than traditional framing and photo mounting traditions.

Acrylic prints are the new standard, but have not quite reached ultimate popularity yet.  There are two distinct processes for making acrylic prints:

  • Direct printing onto acrylic material
  • Printing onto paper and then face mounting onto acrylic material

These processes produce different results but both tend to offer brighter colors and better shading differentiation than traditional photo prints.


When comparing the benefits between canvas and acrylic prints there are three variables you really need to consider. These are:

  • Durability
  • Appearance
  • Cost


Acrylic prints are easily considered to be stronger than canvas prints.  Simply touch the two materials with your fingers or hold them in your hands and this fact is quite easy to realize.  In terms of durability, while canvas wraps can offer some protection, acrylic prints do have better UV, moisture, and shatter protection; which means they are certainly better at reducing all types of damage risk.

Of course, you can also varnish a canvas print to improve its moisture protection.  And canvas prints are lighter, which also contributes to less collateral damage in some instances.


This factor might simply come down to personal taste.  You see, acrylic provides a more modern, sleek, vibrant appearance but canvas prints have classic appeal.  Canvas prints, on the other hand, can appear grainy, so while that “old-fashioned” aesthetic might work sometimes, acrylic’s more consistent and sharp imaging—sometimes reflective and even 3D—that might be more appealing to some people.


This one is an easy comparison:  canvas is as much as 50 percent cheaper than acrylic; at least, for now.  Acrylic printing is getting more and more affordable, but since it is more durable and can have more appeal, you might find more return on your investment if you opt to go this route.

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About the Author: Eli Pappas