Acrylic to stain canvas instead of oil based?

What is your opinion about using an acrylic foundation as the stain of your canvas. This would eliminate the use of smelly or volatile solvents. I took a workshop a year ago and, while the artist who did the workshop painted in oil, he always stained his canvas with acrylics.


  • Acrylic or oil stain as a foundation? I believe it will have to be your choice after some experimentation. I think acrylic is okay if it is thin. I’d be careful not to use an acrylic which is heavy bodied because it will smooth out the tooth of the canvas too much, and subsequent oil layers could eventually flake off and therefore it wouldn’t be as archival—probably long after your lifetime. I use an oil-based stain and let it dry for several days. JMHO

  • I have used both acrylic as a base and oil ( not at the same time, ha ha).
  • fbraakman

    I have used acrylic as a toning or staining layer for over five years without any problems.
    Unless you choose otherwise pre stretched and roll canvas is factory coated with an acrylic dispersion gesso.


  • dental
    Yes that's what I thought. Staining the canvas with water based acrylic saves having to use a solvent with oil paint for the staining. That's why I am considering acrylic as a stain. I just received my new Geneva paints, so I am anxious to use them. 
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