The Difference Between Canvas and Foam Board for Artwork Printing

Most of us are already familiar with canvas. It is a quality and easy-to-use material used by painters and has now become a popular product in the printing world. In addition to the widespread use of canvas, there is a relatively new printable material called foam board or ‘kappa’.
artwork printing


Canvas printing is based on canvas which is a woven fabric made of hemp or cotton. Printing artwork on canvas has become quite popular in recent years, but in past years canvas has been used as a surface for paintings. Canvas fabric is unique in its features and different in terms of its weaving technique as compared to other cotton or linen fabrics. Canvas printing provides quality and flexibility, given its ability to absorb paint and stay durable over many years.
Canvas with a wooden frame was used by craftsmen as early as the 13th century, and many painters choose to paint directly on canvas to this day. Artwork printing on canvas is very popular in the photography and printing industry, enabling customers to enlarge their personal photos and print them as decorations or design pieces.

Foam Board

Foam board, or ‘Kappa’ is a material similar to compressed Styrofoam. Foam board printing takes advantage of this special material which is lightweight, yet sturdy, with a smooth surface. Printing on foam board allows customers to choose various sizes and is mainly used for signage and image enlargement.
The foam board is a sturdy material, unlike the canvas fabric, so it can be used without a frame and provide a prestigious look of personal photos, signage for marketing, billboards, landscape pictures and more. Although the foam board is sturdier than paper or fabric, it is important to follow some precautions in order to maintain it and ensure long-term use.

Pros and Cons

If you are contemplating between canvas printing and foam board printing, here are some factors to consider:

  • Appearance – Canvas is a type of fabric, while foam board belongs to the sturdy polystyrene family. Printing on canvas is considered more prestigious in terms of visibility.
  • Printing Methods – Printing on canvas is done directly on top of the material using inkjet printers. Foam board printing involves a preliminary step of printing the image on paper and then pasting the image on the Kappa.
  • Cost – Foam board printing is slightly cheaper than canvas printing, however the end result is high quality, stable and quite durable.
  • Print quality – As the canvas has a rugged and uneven surface, foam board printing provides a slightly sharper image.
  • Durability – Printing on canvas is usually more durable and retained over time. Canvas is less affected by humidity, therefore suitable for kitchens and bathrooms.

Both canvas and foam board are great for printing, depending on your preferences. Canvas prints are more luxurious and durable, suitable for displaying artwork at home. Foam board is cheaper and lightweight, suitable for signage, office use and marketing purposes.