What makes the perfect Canvas? Depending on your application this could be a wide range of answers. If you want the heaviest our#1 is perfect; for the most colors our 10oz is it; the smoothest texture check out army duck. The best marine canvas, its Outdura. So, why do I say #12 is perfect?
#12 is extremely versatile with its 11.5oz easy to work with & manage weight. It is double filled, so it is going to be a bit stronger than a 12oz single fill. The weave is extremely dense similar to an army duck, but with a bit more texture. The width selection is incredible from 36″ all the way to 144″. It also comes primed as an Artist Canvas in widths from 60″-96″. The weight of this canvas is appropriate for so many project applications and it is easy to dye. Big Duck Canvas prices on #12 canvas are the most impressive with generous wholesale bulk discounts. Check it out or request a sample.
One of the most enjoyable things to do with natural cotton canvas is the dye it! My personal favorite type of dye for cotton is MX Fiber Reactive Dye. Companies like Prochemical (east coast) and Dharma Trading (west coast) carry it. My favorite thing about this dye is that it does not have to be heat activated, so it can easily be done outside without burners. Fiber Reactive dye also leaves behind less waste than the other dyes. You might have heard the term “low impact dyes” used to describe a dyed product? Well, I have actually spent a great deal of time speaking with chemists from both of the companies listed above to be sure of the dyes that term is referencing and the truth is that its just another made up term. All dyes have impact, even natural dyes that require heavy metals used to mordant (pretreat fibers) to accept the natural dyes. Fiber Reactive dyes are the most gentle dyes out there that will achieve vibrant colors. The most important thing is to dispose of your leftover dye bath safely. Both of these companies suggest a few things to go with your MX Dye, but I usually just buy the dye activator and it works great.
If you are looking for a certain result make sure to test and make notes and keep recipes. I typically don’t ever keep notes because I just get so carried away mixing colors. You never know what you will get! Have fun!
You just got your brand new canvas and it is so smooth and nicely packaged. The last thing you want to do is throw it in the washing machine! In my slip cover video I used preshrunk 10 oz canvas, so I was happy to skip the washing and dive right in to cutting & sewing. When working with the standard 10 oz canvas in natural I expect it to shrink 12-15% after it’s washed and dried. The dyed canvas shrinks a little less, usually about 8%. It is crucial always factor that in when calculating yardage.
So, here you have somewhere in the ballpark of 10 yards or so, give or take depending on your project that needs to go in the washing machine. I usually coil the yardage around evenly in the washer and run TWO wash cycles with warm water, so that the washing fully penetrates the cotton fibers. If you are using our Army Duck, first of all congratulations it makes amazing slipcovers, secondly it will take two cycles just to get the fabric wet! I prefer to dry my canvas on a high heat. I think some people disagree and prefer air dry, but allowing the canvas to dry on high heat should shrink the fabric as much as it will ever shrink. That is a good feeling to have before investing hours of time into a sewing project.
Removing the canvas from the dryer you will notice a tighter weave and softer texture than before. If you choose another drying method your fabric will be more wrinkled and you will require the use of a high pressure steamer iron. It is always great to have a nice iron handy during sewing projects anyway! If you have figured out a great way to handle pre-washing we would love to hear about it.