Tosnail 3″ x 3″ Mini Canvas Panels Set, 12 ct
Last updated date: October 17, 2019
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We looked at the top Mini Canvases and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Mini Canvas you should buy.
In our analysis of 6 expert reviews, the Tosnail Tosnail 3" x 3" Mini Canvas Panels Set, 12 ct placed 9th when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
Editor's Note November 1, 2019:
Checkout The Best Mini Canvas for a detailed review of all the top mini canvases.
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From The Manufacturer
Tosnail 3" x 3" Mini Canvas Panels Set - Pack of 24 pcs Size of Each: 3" L x 3" W x 3/8" H Used for all acrylics, oils and other painting media. Canvas is glued to stretcher bars; Bars are made of pine wood. Great for kids crafts and all decorative painting projects & more.
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An Overview On Mini Canvases
Ask any artist: It can be intimidating, staring down a big, blank canvas. And while wall-size paintings might be what you think of when you picture a professional, working artist, there’s no rule that says a canvas has to adhere to a particular size.
Enter the mini canvas. You’ll find them sold in bulk at most any art supply store, and artists of any level of experience should have a few. Beginners can use them to sharpen their skills and boost their confidence by creating smaller works of art in less time. Established artists might use them to do quick studies, create a series of grouped pieces or distribute them in class for bite-sized lessons.
There’s no set size that’s standard, but the usual rule of thumb is that anything under 4″ x 6″ is a mini canvas. The shape is usually square, or slightly rectangular. The construction of a mini canvas is usually the same as its full-size counterpart: a sheet of specially-woven fabric, stretched tightly over a wooden frame.
Depending on what paints you work with, the material on the business side of the canvas will matter. But for beginners cracking open their first set of acrylics, our resident art expert Amy Markham says you can tell a lot about quality with a quick look at the back.
“No matter the size of the canvas you are buying, if it is stretched you want to make sure it has a sturdy frame,” says Markham, who also teaches middle school art and hosts a creativity podcast. “Also check to see if the canvas is stretched tightly and secured well on the back. Most mini canvases are secured with staples on the back of the frame, so you want to check to see that the material is well secured and that there are no loose areas.”
Now about the actual canvas itself. These days, canvas is typically woven in single-ply from cotton or linen. Of the two, linen is the higher quality, and you’ll see that reflected in the price. Prior to the 20th century, canvas was made exclusively with linen, which was prized for its ability to hold oil paints. It’s still best for oil today.
Most mini canvases, though, will be made of cotton. That material works just fine for acrylics and properly primed oils and typically stretches better across the frame. Most cotton is plain woven, but you’ll also find the more deluxe duck canvas. No, it’s not made of duck. The word derives from the Dutch doek, meaning “cloth.” Duck canvas boasts a tighter weave, making it sturdier and more able to hold its shape.
Finally, most mini canvases are primed. (In fact, you might have to search harder to find one that’s untreated.) That means they are coated with a layer of that painter’s pal known as gesso. Ingredients vary, but gesso is essentially made from white pigment mixed with some sort of glue or binder. When it coats the canvas, it allows paints to bind more easily, and it’s particularly essential if you’re painting with oils. It also smooths out the surface, masking the texture of the cloth and making it a perfect support for fine lines and brushwork.
DWYM Fun Fact
Canvas may be made from cotton or linen, but that wasn’t always the case. As early as 3,000 B.C., early Chinese people were making a variety of fabrics out of one of the first plants to yield fiber: hemp. Those fabrics eventually included canvas. In fact, the word “canvas” is a derivation of the Latin word “cannabis.” And while the hemp or cannabis plant turned out not to be the ideal foundation for painting, it seems to have found its niche in other areas.
The Mini Canvas Buying Guide
- If you’re buying a mini canvas, you usually have a good idea of how you want to display them. But it’s good to give thought to how you’re actually going to paint on them, too. Many mini canvases come with tiny easels that are a perfect fit, allowing you to easily prop up and work on them. And hey, if you’re giving your miniature masterpiece as a gift, they make for a quaint display option as well.
- Whatever the size of your canvas, you’ll want to pay some attention not just to the length and width of the wooden frame, but the depth. There are two standard thicknesses when it comes to canvas: deep or traditional. Traditional canvas stretchers are about 3/4 inch thick on the sides, which is just about enough for hanging by a nail, or (more ideally) for framing. If you plan on leaving the canvas unframed, consider a deep style. Deep canvas will stand out more boldly on a wall, and you can even paint the sides, incorporating them into the art and adding a 3-D feel.
- When you’re working on wall art, a mini canvas can be great for playing around with themes. The small size makes them perfect for displaying in groups, arranged in some sort of geometric order. Think patterns for abstracts, alternating colors, comic book panels — anything complimentary that draws the eye into a visual story.
- To prime or not to prime? If you’re just starting out, bulk packages of mini canvases will make the decision an easy one. Most of them will be primed with a layer of gesso, making them equally receptive to acrylics or oil paints. They also make for a smooth, even painting surface. And while that’s ideal for most, some artists might want a little texture on their art. Just keep in mind that while acrylics will still adhere just fine to untreated canvas, the color might be a bit duller. Oil, however, will need either that gesso layer or a good linen canvas.