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Printing on Canvas on Smaller Inkjet Printers

16th September 2015 Printing

Most canvas printing requires a larger format printer as there are some attributes you need that aren't available to you on a smaller inkjet printer. If you are serious about canvas printing or printing larger volumes, we would recommend a printer that has all these attributes:

  • 17" Carriage. Most canvas only comes in rolls, starting from the 17 inch size. Keep in mind that you generally need up to 4" of the canvas area for stretching - about 6cm either side of your print for the wrap, so anything smaller than 17" seriously limits the final print size.
  • Roll Feeder. Sheets are not commonly available, with only one quality exception - Hahnemuhle Daguerre comes in A3+ sheets.
  • Adjustable Platen Gap, with a sufficiently wide setting to allow the print head to be moved out from the canvas surface, which means none, or very few, head strikes.
  • Suction mechanism. This holds the material flat during printing.
  • An inbuilt high quality rotary cutter , that is positioned away from the print head, so it is capable of cutting canvas, and any fibres that are loosened do not attach themselves to the print head. This can leads to clogs etc.

The first machine to have all of this is the Epson P5070. So if you're doing any real volume at all, this is the smallest model you should look at. All that said, if you do want to print canvas on the smaller machines, here are a few tips:

  • Use Hahnemuhle Daguerre A3+ sheets if you want sheets.
  • If your printer has a roll feed like the Epson SureColor P600 and P800, then you can use 13" and 17" rolls. However, very few rolls come in the 13" size.
  • You can have a 17" roll cut down to a 13" roll or a 44" roll can be cut down to three 13" rolls for a more economical option. We can organise to have this done for you for $30 per cut ($40 per roll if you do 3-4 cuts).
  • Use the platen gap settings in your driver if you have them. Use the widest setting as this helps avoid head strikes.
  • You may need to use a backing sheet of stiffer cardboard, taped to the back of your canvas, to encourage your printer to load canvas which is a floppy material and hard for the rollers to grip.
  • You can also try double sided framers tape - apply a small strip to the front edges of your canvas where the rollers will grab the paper to feed it. This is an easily removable, non marking tape you can get from framing supplies shops and some art stores.
Epson SureColor P600 A3+ Inkjet Printer
A great A3+ inkjet photographic printer with significantly improved black densities.
  • Carriage WidthA3+ (13", 330mm)
  • Inkset Type (# Inks)Pigment (9)
  • High Quality Black & White?
  • Roll Paper Support?
More info
Epson SureColor P800 A2 Inkjet Printer
The benchmark A2 fine art printer today, and our default recommendation for anyone wanting to make big, beautiful, archival prints in-house.
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  • Carriage WidthA2 (17", 432mm)
  • Inkset Type (# Inks)Pigment (9)
  • High Quality Black & White?
  • Roll Paper Support? (w. accessory)
More info