5 Easy steps to prime inexpensive paint canvas

Okay…so here is the skinny on how I prime those cheaper inexpensive canvases I use for demonstrations.

If you are painting using the method I use–of course you are!–I highly recommend you prime any low-grade canvas before painting on it. I applied two layers of Gesso and sandpaper between each layer. Winsor & Newton has a very informative article about priming canvas. 🙂

Gesso paint


  1. STEP 1

    Use a medium-sized bristle brush, apply an opaque layer of gesso, covering the entire surface of the canvas.

  2. STEP 2

    Allow this layer to come to dry completely

  3. STEP 3
    Sandpaper sample

    Sandpaper canvas prep Fig. 2

    Using medium-course sandpaper, sand the first gesso-layer until smooth

  4. STEP 4

    Apply a second layer of gesso and allow this layer to dry as well. I recommend leaving overnight or for a day to ensure complete drying through all layers.

  5. STEP 5

    Finally, sandpaper to a smooth finish. The canvas should feel smooth the touch.


Easy 5 steps Gesso canvas sandpaper

Easy 5 steps Gesso canvas sandpaper

Your canvas is now ready to paint on.

Happy painting!

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