What is canvas fabric?
Renowned for being sturdy, strong and tear-resistant, canvas fabric is a material which has been in use and in demand since 3,000 BC where it was used to make sails, canopies, awnings and outdoor shelters. Cotton canvas fabric is firm as well as heavy and closely woven in a plain weave or a plain weave variation.
Heavy duty canvas fabric is tightly woven and has therefore been used for a great many end uses, ranging from outdoor equipment to art canvases. The name canvas derives from “cannabis” from the Latin word for hemp. Some canvases are still made from hemp, thus keeping this versatile fabric traditional.
Canvas can be constructed from several fibres, including:
- Cotton canvas fabric – one of the most common types of canvas. Medium strength that is between 10 and 20 times stronger when wet as opposed to dry.
- Linen canvas fabric – another natural fibre, which can be used for making canvas. It is 2 to 3 times stronger than cotton and is extremely taut.
- Synthetic fibres – canvas can be constructed from synthetic fibres, or blends. By blending them with natural fibres, you can retain the natural abilities and combine them with durability and resilient.
- Hemp canvas fabric – this natural fibre is resistant to mildew, rot, and sunlight. Hemp canvas is naturally repellent to insects are is more elastic than cotton or linen.
How is it manufactured?
Canvas fabric is usually constructed of cotton or linen. However, other fibres, such as hemp, jute, polyester, nylon, and blends are also sometimes used to create canvas.
Canvas has a very simple weave; the weft thread just goes over one warp thread and under the next. It is a warp-faced fabric in which the warp yarns have more crimp around more or less straight weft yarns.
To make art canvases, the canvas fabric is usually treated with a layer or 2 of gesso primer to the surface. If the canvas is left untreated, then the fabric can soak up the paint, causing some of it to disappear and some to clot on the surface.
Purposes of canvas fabric
The purposes of canvas are wide and varied, from art canvases to furniture. It is a diverse textile and many of the original uses of canvas are still being utilized. Painting surfaces, sails, tents, shelters and outerwear are still popular uses for canvas. Some are given a contemporary twist, for example, deckchair canvas fabric, thanks to its strength, durability and resilience to water.
Because of its abundant strength, manufacturers use canvas to create anything that requires a tough and robust finish while still retaining a natural and almost traditional look. Bags, backpacks, shoes, totes, trampolines and ever coats as well as outwear all benefit from canvas fabric.
Because it is so tightly woven when the material becomes wet, the fibres will swell, filling in any gaps and creating a waterproof canvas fabric. Some other notable properties of canvas include:
- Relatively stiff
- Made from a simple weave
- Tightly woven
- Can be made from different fibres
- Stress and ladder resistant
- When treated properly, is waterproof and flame resistant
- Some constructions have a degree of stretch, where others are taut
- Can be blended with synthetic and natural fibres
Advantages of canvas fabric
Canvas fabrics have a whole range of advantages which makes it a great fabric choice for so many end uses. You can buy canvas fabric wholesale and online, in a range of sizes, weights and fibre compositions.
One of the major advantages of canvas is that it readily accepts a range of chemical treatments to improve upon its natural qualities.
By combining synthetic materials with natural fibres, you can create a canvas which is light yet robust, and is completely weather-resistant. This blend has made canvas a popular choice for industrial, architectural and marine uses.