Many friends ask me where to print things such as canvases. Then they ask me why it costs so much.
Well, here is a canvas by a leading retail chain. It’s one of the poorer quality canvases I’ve seen. Click on the images to see a larger version.
As you can see, the image doesn’t wrap around. The frame is made of something even worse than pine, it felt like I could dent the wood by applying pressure with my fingers. The corners are not square, the frame isn’t rigid by any means. Needless to say the canvas wasn’t stretched taut. I can’t comment on the print quality as I don’t know what the original file looked like.
Of course it’s not ready to hang, they’ve stuck some 3M velcro on the edge of the frame. It’ll hold because this 16×20″ canvas was about the same weight as my phone (~100g). Even a mid range canvas this size would weigh about 500g. I was really surprised anyone would make such a poor canvas, the staff handling cost would be more than the canvas cost!
Now compare it with a professionally made canvas. I’m sure even from the pictures you can tell the difference.
Now this may be a particularly shoddy retail canvas, and there are some better quality ones around in retail, but they all still use cheap softwood frames and are not evenly stretched. Even if you don’t care about long term longevity, it’s immediately clear they are cheap for a reason.