Do You Need To Prime Canvas

As an artist, you have likely pondered about the necessity of priming a canvas, regardless of your level of expertise. In this discussion, we will thoroughly examine this question and reveal the significance of priming a canvas before embarking on your creative endeavor.

What is Canvas Priming?

Canvas priming, also known simply as gesso, is the process of applying a coat of sealant onto the canvas surface. The main purpose of this process is to prevent the paint from soaking into the canvas, allowing for a smoother application of paint and more vibrant colors.

Why Should You Prime a Canvas?

Should you prime a canvas? The answer is a resounding yes and here’s why;

  • Prevents Absorption: Without primer, the paint gets soaked up by the canvas material, leading to dull colors and making it harder to work with.
  • Enhances Durability: The primer creates a protective layer, shielding the canvas from the deteriorating effects of the paint over time.
  • Improves Texture: Priming canvas creates a smooth and consistent surface that can greatly enhance the texture of your artwork.
  • Saves on Paint: A primed canvas doesn’t absorb as much paint, meaning you can save on paint in the long run.

How to Prime a Canvas?

Now that you understand the importance of priming, it’s time to learn how to do it yourself. Below is a simple guide to priming your canvas at home.

    Materials needed:
    1. Gesso
    2. Paintbrush
    3. Canvas
    1. Begin by laying down a drop cloth or newspaper to protect your working area.
    2. Dip your brush into the gesso and apply an even layer over the entire canvas.
    3. Allow the gesso to dry fully, this usually takes a few hours.
    4. Once the first layer is dry, apply a second layer in the opposite direction.
    5. Let the second layer dry before you start painting.


In conclusion, priming your canvas before painting is not just a suggestion but a necessity. The process may take a bit of time and effort, but the results are worth it – more vibrant colors, better texture, and increased durability of your artwork. So, next time you ask yourself, “do I need to prime my canvas?“, remember this guide and prime away!