What is Handpainted Needlepoint Canvas?

S. McNesby

Handpainted needlepoint canvas is used as a base for a needlepoint project, such as a pillow, cushion or ornament. After the canvas is painted, needlepoint threads made of wool or other materials are used to stitch the design. When complete, the needlepoint canvas will be completely covered with stitches, and the finished project will closely resemble the original painting.

A permanent marker can add fine details to a needlepoint design.
A permanent marker can add fine details to a needlepoint design.

After a design is chosen, a stitcher will need to select thread to match each color of the handpainted needlepoint canvas. It is important for the the paint colors to be matched as precisely as possible in order to duplicate the painted image. Handpainted needlepoint canvas is created one at a time, so individual pieces of the same image might vary. Wool or other needlepoint threads should be selected in person to ensure proper color matching.

A hand-painted needlepoint canvas can be used as a base for a needlepoint design.
A hand-painted needlepoint canvas can be used as a base for a needlepoint design.

Handpainted needlepoint canvas can be made in any size and can feature any design. Common images include traditional floral displays, wildlife, geometric designs and holiday scenes. Needlepoint canvas can be any color, but white is the most commonly used canvas for painting, because the colors show up best on a clean, white background. Black can be used as well, but the design must be base-coated in white first.

To make a handpainted needlepoint canvas, an artist uses acrylic craft paint and blank cotton needlepoint canvas. The artist uses stiff bristle brushes or cotton swabs to dab paint onto the canvas in the desired design. Paint has to be applied sparingly or it will clog the holes of the needlepoint canvas, rendering the canvas unusable. After the canvas is finished and the paint has dried, final details such as outlines and fine lines are applied with permanent marker.

Handpainted needlepoint canvas is created one at a time by individual artists. Since an artist can complete only one piece at a time, handpainted canvas is more expensive than stamped needlepoint canvas, which can be mass-produced. Most needlepoint artists work in a single style or produce a series of designs each season. Prices vary based on the complexity of the design and the size of the canvas; small pieces such as ornaments or accessories are the least expensive items to complete.

Consumers can purchase handpainted needlepoint canvas at craft shows and events, at needlework boutiques and online. Trunk shows featuring the work of individual designers or a collective of designers are portable displays that travel from store to store. Trunk shows allow stitchers to see an entire collection of handpainted needlepoint canvas in person before purchasing any of them. Handpainted needlepoint canvas is also sold online by individual artists and in shops devoted to needlepoint.

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Discussion Comments


@rundocuri- I think that you have a great idea on how to teach your young niece how to do needlepoint. A hand-painted needlepoint canvas provides a pattern for a sewer to follow, and gives him or her a template to follow that helps in completing the project. It is like an extra teaching tool for anyone who is instructing someone who is new to needlepoint.


I want to teach my niece how to do needlepoint, because this is a craft that my family has passed down generation after generation. Is using a hand-painted needle point canvas a good way to start teaching young beginners how to do needlepoint projects?

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