Fredrix Artist Canvas

Step-by-Step Instructions to Sizing and Priming Canvas

Artist Hand Priming


Artist hand priming allows the artist to have ultimate control over the final surface. However, without proper technique and materials an improperly sealed surface can result, affecting the archival permanence of the canvas and the luminosity of the colors.




Hand Priming with Oil-Based Ground


Priming a canvas with oil-based sizing and ground is a two-step process:


1.The sizing is applied
2.The ground is applied


Oil-Based Ground can only be painted over with oil-based paints.


Hand Priming with Acrylic Sizing and/or Acrylic Gesso


A canvas may be prepared using acrylic sizing or acrylic gesso in two ways:


1. Acrylic sizing is applied to raw canvas (1st step), followed by acrylic gesso (2nd step). The sizing seals the canvas and evens out irregularities within the weave, allowing for a more even coat of acrylic gesso on top. Usually one coat of acrylic gesso is needed.


2. Acrylic gesso is applied to raw canvas. Two coats are usually needed. Acrylic gesso provides a flexible, non-yellowing ground with excellent tooth for proper paint adhesion. It not only seals and protects the substrate (i.e. canvas), but also provides a ground that will readily accept the application of paint.


A high quality gesso such as Fredrix® Premium Gesso is recommended for best overall performance. Lower quality gessos may use plasticizers and fillers affecting flexibility, paint adhesion and may require extra coats for proper coverage. Visit to find a dealer that carries our products near you!