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Can You Use Watercolor on Canvas?

can you use watercolor on canvas

I’m sure watercolor is a medium that many people have wanted to try, but the question remains: can you use watercolor on canvas?

The answer is yes!

Watercolors are a flexible and easy-to-use medium. They allow for expressive, spontaneous painting without being heavy or overly absorbent. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how watercolors work with canvas.

How to use Watercolor on Canvas?

If watercolor is something you enjoy, then watercolor on canvas may be a great idea. It can become the piece to hang in your office or home and inspire everyone who sees it.

However, watercolor has unique characteristics that make using watercolors on canvas more challenging than traditional painting with watercolors onto paper.

1. Here are a Few Tips for Getting Started

Firstly, Choose High-Quality Paints.

Suppose watercolor paint will sit for an extended period without drying completely (which happens when it’s applied over other colors). In that case, the best bet is to use only professional-grade paints. Such paints have been stabilized, so they won’t fade as quickly as those from craft stores might.

Secondly, Choose the Right Canvas.

You should also make sure to select canvases that have been primed for watercolors. Suitable canvas helps to prevent the colors from seeping through the fabric onto the back of your painting.

A watercolor painting will look very different on a rough canvas than a smooth one, so choosing the suitable surface for your project is essential. A good rule of thumb is that the rougher the canvas, the more textural the finished painting.

Finally, Watercolor on Canvas Requires more Water.

When you are using watercolors on the fabric of a stretched canvas, there is no paper to absorb your excess water. This means that if you use too much water or scrub at the color with your brush, it will bleed beyond where you expect.

2. Adding Watercolor Paint to a Canvas is Simple

few tips for use watercolor on canvas

You will need: A canvas, watercolor paint, A brush

  • Soak your brush in clean water for about 10 minutes before you start, dip your wet brush into some pigment
  • Mix some water and paint in a cup or bowl. Unlike oil or acrylic paints, watercolors are best mixed directly on the canvas. Therefore, you need to have all of your colors ready to go before you start painting. You can always add more later if needed. But it’s difficult to remove excess paint once it’s dry
  • Make sure to test the color on the paper before painting on your canvas
  • Apply the color with light strokes, adding more if needed. Let the colors blend on their own for natural-looking results. Use white or lighter colors to mix with other colors and create new shades. Add salt to the wet paint to create interesting textures
  • After completing your draw, allow it to dry for 7-8 hours before you can enjoy your new creation!


  • Remember to Use light strokes, as watercolors are water-soluble. They can easily be washed away if you apply them too heavily
  • Just like watercolor pencils or crayons, watercolors behave best when applied in light layers and allowed to blend on their own rather than being mixed directly onto the canvas with a brush
  • Watercolors also work very well for making abstract art and textures. You don’t have to stick to traditional landscapes and portraits. Try experimenting with different colors and shapes until you find something appealing to your artistic vision

3. How do you Prepare a Canvas for Watercolor?

The most important thing to do is prime a watercolor canvas. When you use watercolors, the paint will absorb into your canvas. In that case, it can be challenging for different colors to layer without mixing on the surface of your work.

It’s helpful if you take some time beforehand and create a barrier between each color to stay separate when applied later on.

Prime with Gesso:

This agent not only keeps colors from blending but also gives off an interesting texture too! The best part about this type of primer is that you don’t need any additional water for it to dry. You need only one coat and then let it dry overnight (or until it’s completely opaque).

If you’re working on a large canvas, you’ll definitely want to use gesso because it will cover the surface more evenly.

Use Watercolor Ground

A watercolor ground is an ideal option if you want to keep your colors from mixing but don’t have time for a coat of primer.

It can be applied with a brush or sponge and dries very quickly so that you can start painting right away.

Just make sure that the surface is completely covered and wait for it to dry before adding any other paint!

Try Masking Fluid

If you want even more control over your colors, then try using masking fluid as a way to separate them. This liquid latex product comes in a handy bottle with an attached brush.

Simply run a thin layer across the canvas and let it dry overnight. Once you paint watercolors over the top, they won’t bleed into each other or mix because this liquid acts as a barrier between them!

After priming and/or masking fluid has been applied: It might take some time, but waiting for layers of watercolors to dry can be very rewarding.
Depending on the colors you use, it can create a stunning and unique effect that’s all your own. So experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you!


It is possible to use watercolor on canvas. In fact, you can use watercolor on canvas in various ways, depending on the look you want to achieve. The process is a little different from using them on paper, but it’s still really simple and fun.

We hope this blog post has helped answer some questions about what watercolor painting entails and how it works as an affordable option for artwork.

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