Oil Painting: 5 Money-Saving Tips for Canvases
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 5 min read


  1. Buy canvas in bulk
  2. Reuse old canvases
  3. Create your own canvas
  4. Opt for alternative painting surfaces
  5. Shop sales and discounts

Oil painting is an astonishing art form that can bring your ideas to life in vibrant, colorful displays. But, like any art, it can be an expensive hobby, especially when it comes to canvases. You might be wondering how to save money on canvases for oil painting? Not to worry! Here are five straightforward strategies to cut down on those costs without compromising the quality of your artwork.

Buy canvas in bulk

Let's start with a simple, effective tip: buying canvases in bulk. This approach can offer significant savings, similar to how buying groceries in bulk can lighten the load on your wallet.

Why buying in bulk saves money

  • Reduced price per unit: When you buy a single canvas, you're often paying a hefty premium. By purchasing in bulk, the price per canvas can drop dramatically, meaning you get more for your money.
  • Less frequent purchases: With a stash of canvases at your disposal, you won't need to make frequent trips to the art store. This can also save you time and transportation costs.

Where to buy bulk canvases

Fortunately, many popular art stores and online platforms offer bulk canvas options. Look for multi-pack options at your local art supply store, or check out online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. Remember, it's not just about finding the cheapest option—you want to ensure the quality of the canvases will meet your needs as an oil painter.

Storing bulk canvases

Of course, buying in bulk means you'll need a place to store your canvases. A clean, dry space away from extreme temperatures is ideal. You might stack them vertically against a wall or store them in a dedicated art cupboard. However you choose to store them, make sure they're easily accessible—you never know when inspiration will strike!

By adopting this approach, you're well on your way to discovering how to save money on canvases for oil painting. Next, let's explore how reusing old canvases can further help your budget.

Reuse old canvases

Now, let's dive into another practical method for saving money on oil painting canvases: reusing old ones. You might be surprised to find how much life there is left in a canvas even after you've completed a painting.

Why reusing canvases is a great idea

  • Reduces waste: By reusing canvases, you're not only saving money but also helping the environment by reducing waste. It's a win-win situation!
  • Practice makes perfect: When you repaint an old canvas, you're essentially getting a free practice run. This can be a great opportunity to experiment with new techniques or colors.

How to reuse a canvas

Reusing a canvas is easier than you may think. You'll first need to prepare the old canvas by applying a coat of gesso—a white paint mixture that helps smooth the canvas and prevent oil paint from soaking in. This allows you to start with a clean slate, quite literally! Once the gesso is dry, you're ready to start your next masterpiece.

When to reuse a canvas

Reusing a canvas is a great option when you're not completely satisfied with a painting, or when you've used a canvas for practice work. However, if a painting holds sentimental value or you think it's one of your best works, it's best to leave it be and start with a fresh canvas.

So, there you have it! Reusing old canvases is another excellent answer to the question of how to save money on canvases for oil painting. Now, let's move on to the next strategy: creating your own canvas.

Create your own canvas

Creating your own canvas is another fantastic way to save money on canvases for oil painting. Not only can it be cost-effective, but it also allows you to customize the size and texture to your specific needs.

The basics of canvas creation

The process of making your own canvas involves stretching canvas fabric over a wooden frame, also known as a stretcher bar, and then applying gesso to prepare the surface for painting. This may sound a bit technical, but don't worry—you'll catch on quickly!

The perks of a DIY canvas

  • Customization: When you make your own canvas, you can customize the size and shape to fit your unique vision. Want a super large canvas for that landscape you've been dreaming about? No problem!
  • Savings: Buying canvas fabric and stretcher bars in bulk can often be more cost-effective than buying pre-made canvases, especially if you paint regularly.

Where to find materials

Materials for canvas creation are readily available at most arts and crafts stores. Look for canvas fabric, stretcher bars, and gesso. Some stores even sell kits that include everything you need to make your own canvas.

As you can see, creating your own canvas is a practical and creative solution to the question of how to save money on canvases for oil painting. Stay tuned for our next money-saving tip: opting for alternative painting surfaces.

Opt for alternative painting surfaces

Another clever tactic to save money on canvases for oil painting involves thinking outside the box—or, in this case, outside the canvas. There are several alternative painting surfaces that can work just as well, or even better, depending on your style and the effect you're after.

Wood Panels

Wood panels are a popular alternative to canvases. They are usually cheaper, easy to find, and provide a firm, smooth surface to work on. A few coats of gesso, and they're ready to be painted on!


High-quality paper is another good option. It's inexpensive and readily available. However, make sure to use heavy-weight, acid-free paper to prevent your artwork from yellowing over time.


Masonite, a type of hardboard, is another fantastic and affordable alternative to traditional canvases. It is durable, smooth, and can be cut to any size you want.

Remember, the key to saving money on canvases for oil painting is not just about finding cheaper options, but also about exploring new mediums and finding the one that best matches your artistic vision. Up next, we'll be looking at how to take advantage of sales and discounts.

Shop sales and discounts

When you're on the hunt for how to save money on canvases for oil painting, keep an eye out for sales and discounts. This simple yet effective shopping approach can yield great savings, helping you stock up on canvases without breaking the bank.

End-of-Season Sales

Art supply stores often have end-of-season sales, just like clothing stores. This is when they want to clear out inventory to make room for new stock. This can be a fantastic opportunity for you to save money on canvases for oil painting.

Online Coupons and Promo Codes

With the digital age we live in, deals are just a click away! Websites and apps often offer coupons and promo codes that can give you a significant discount on art supplies, including canvases.

Wholesale Purchases

Another effective way to save money on canvases for oil painting is to buy in wholesale. This might seem like a big investment initially, but the per item cost can be much lower, resulting in significant savings in the long run.

Remember, the art of saving money on canvases for oil painting is all about being a savvy shopper. So, keep these tips in mind on your next canvas shopping spree and see the difference in your wallet!

If you enjoyed learning about money-saving tips for canvases in oil painting, you might also be interested in exploring alternative ways of creating art. Check out the workshop 'Creating Abstract Paintings Using Common Household Items' by Noah Ennis. This workshop will teach you how to create beautiful abstract paintings without breaking the bank, using items you can find around your home.