Artwork on aluminium canvas

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Artwork on aluminium canvas

February 05, 2019

Artwork on aluminium canvas

Aluminium panels are often very thin and light yet sturdy to work with.

Here’s everything you need to know when creating artwork onto an aluminium canvas.

One side of your canvas will often be a smooth, classic style and the other will have much more texture to give you options to work with.

Clean your surface

It’s important to clean aluminium surfaces properly before painting as fingerprints and other marks are picked up much easier by this material. Clean with alcohol to remove oils from the surface and improve the adhesion.

What does aluminium work best for?

Paintings using acrylic wash often look great on aluminium canvas.It is easy to build up texture on aluminium and doesn’t allow cracking to occur, which is prominent in both canvas and hardboard paintings. Water based paints set really well on smooth aluminium surfaces without primer.

It is difficult to create a smooth transition of transparency with acrylic but is much better with oil.

Aluminum is good for creating metallic paintings

After painting a base, it is possible to scrape back some of the paint to reveal the original aluminum surface. This will allow for a ‘shinier’ look - perfect when creating metallics or lit objects such as headlights. You can also use solvents to reveal the metal which creates highlights on the work.


Aluminium panels are so thin that it is easy to find frames that will fit, giving many options for the finish you want to give your painting

Be aware…

When using aluminium, you won’t achieve the whitest of whites due to the colour of the base! You can use dibond aluminium which is covered in a white powdered coating, however you will need to be very careful when working with this as the surface is so smooth that colours do run easily.

Sanding between layers can help to maintain the smoothness of your surface but create a canvas that is much better to paint onto.

Fineliner, graphite and compressed charcoal works well on aluminium for creating smaller details.