In this article I’ll look at the best places to buy canvas fabric in Australia and the best international suppliers where you can buy canvas online (without expensive shipping charges).
- Where to buy canvas fabric in Australia
- Waxed canvas fabric
- Stripe canvas fabric
- Where to buy canvas online
- Organic cotton canvas
- What is canvas fabric?
- What's the difference between duck cloth and cotton canvas fabric?
Where to buy canvas fabric in Australia
Printed canvas fabric at Spotlight
I’m really impressed with the range of printed canvas fabric at Spotlight. These ranges below are the ones that really stand out to me.
Jocelyn Proust fabric
Firstly, I’m madly in love with Jocelyn Proust’s range of fresh, modern Australiana designs.
Jocelyn is an Australian designer who lives on the north coast of New South Wales. She regularly collaborates with brands and one of her more recent engagements is with Spotlight for both fabric by-the-metre and ready-made products.
You can buy the following designs on canvas by the metre at Spotlight.
Australian indigenous fabric
The second equally amazing canvas range is designed by a collective of Warlukurlangu Indigeneous Artists. Most of these designs would look amazing stretched across an art canvas. The artists retain copyright of their designs which is administered on their behalf by Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation.
Other general canvas prints
Here are my picks for some other affordable canvas prints from Spotlight.
Above: Kirsten Katz canvas prints
Note: Spotlight ships to Australian addresses only. They offer free delivery on standard orders over $120.
Other canvas suppliers in Australia
Amazon stocks a surprising good, basic range of canvas in pre-cut lengths and also by the roll.
If you’re looking for plain coloured canvas fabric, then Homecraft Textiles has a wide range of colours in a 200gsm duck cloth. Although their range is a narrow 112cm wide, it’s quite affordable and is likely to be a viable option if you need a lot of fabric for your project.
Rosebery Fabrics specialise in outdoor canvas, but they do have a small range of high-quality heavy weight cotton canvas suitable for upholstery, slipcovers, cushions, bags etc. This range includes a few natural undyed options.
The Fabric Store
If you’re looking to add some oomph to a skirt or suit, or to sew some homewares in some simple colours, The Fabric Store also has a canvas range. Some of their canvases are 100% cotton and others are a cotton/linen blend.
The Fabric Store typically offer sophisticated, contemporary colours across all of their fabric ranges. We talk more about our love for The Fabric Store in our article on where to buy dressmaking fabric in Australia.
Waxed canvas fabric
Waxed canvas is a medium to heavy weight canvas with a waxed layer on the surface, making it waterproof. It’s typically used to make tote bags, packpacks, hats, aprons and waterproof jackets.
Here’s my pick of the best waxed canvas suppliers in Australia.
SunKiss Melbourne has a range of waxed canvas options in various weights. The colours range from earthy tones through to stronger, striking shades (both shown above).
Stripe canvas fabric
If you’re specifically looking for striped canvas fabric, here are a couple of excellent Australian suppliers.
The Stripes Company
If you’re looking for a blast of colour in a deckchair style stripe, then you absolutely must check out The Stripes Company. The range below is from their interior stripe canvas range and is suitable for cushions, blinds, curtains, seat pads and bags.
Their ticking fabric range below is a modern take on the traditional ticking stripe and is also suitable for interior projects.
Ici et la
Ici et la (meaning ‘here and there’ in French) has been a Sydney institution since 2001. They are known primarily for their range of gorgeous, high quality, striped outdoor canvas fabrics, including the hard to find, narrow width suitable for deckchairs.
You can buy their fabrics online or from their showroom in Botany (by appointment). They also sell via various stockists.
Where to buy canvas online
If you can’t find the canvas you want in Australia, then there is a huge range of online stores that will ship to Australia at affordable rates. Here’s my pick of the international suppliers.
Etsy is a treasure-trove for fabric shopping and sourcing canvas is no exception. Here’s my rundown of some of the best cotton canvas sellers.
MarieoTate offers fast and affordable international shiping from China.
I’m singling these guys out because they have a range of really heavy-duty canvas (780gsm/16oz) in contemporary colours. This weight is hard to find in good colours. . Their tie-dye range is also unusual, but interesting.
The per metre price for this range is not the cheapest but, they offer very affordable shipping which tends to compensate for this.
If cheap and basic is what you’re after then Neotrims is worth checking out. They have a basic range of canvas weights and compositions at very reasonable prices.
Big Duck Canvas
As their name suggests, Big Duck Canvas are serious canvas merchants. Located in the US and shipping internationally, they stock a wide range of different weights and types.
Their stonewashed canvas is popular for slipcovers as it has a soft hand and comes in a range of contemporary colours with a slight vintage look. This range is made of 80% cotton and 20% polyester which makes it slightly more durable and relatively wrinkle-free.
Definitely worth checking out is their Canvas fabric projects page. You’ll find loads of inspiration here.
If you’re looking for bulk quantities, they also offer wholesale pricing and a sample service.
Organic cotton canvas
If you’re particularly looking for organic cotton canvas, it can be tricky to find. It’s worthwhile trying to source it though, as the environmental impact is dramatically different from non-organic textiles.
Here are a couple of options:
What is canvas fabric?
When we think of canvas we generally think of a fairly heavy cotton fabric. For the most part, this is true – ‘canvas’ refers to a plain woven fabric.
It’s usually woven from cotton, but can also be woven from linen or hemp. It can also be a blend of any of these fibres and may also include some synthetic. So technically, canvas is a type of weave, not a type of fibre. But for our purposes here, let’s assume we’re talking about cotton canvas.
The weight of different types of canvas varies quite a bit. It’s measured in GSM – Grams per Square Metre (or oz per square yard in imperial measurement).
Generally, the higher the GSM, the heavier the canvas.
Here’s s a rough guide:
- Light weight – Up to 150gsm
- Medium weight – 150-300gsm
- Heavy weight – 300-500gsm
- Ultra heavy-duty/Outdoor canvas – over 500gsm
What’s the difference between duck cloth and cotton canvas fabric?
There is often confusion around whether duck cloth is the same as canvas, or different.
Duck cloth is simply a type of canvas.
Garden variety canvas tends to be reasonably coarse to touch. Whereas duck cloth (sometimes called duck canvas) has a higher thread count than most other canvases, which means there are more threads in the same square space. This makes it softer with a smooth ‘hand’. It also tends to be a bit more pliable and less stiff than other types of canvas, while still being fairly tough.
As far as weight goes, duck cloth generally comes in around the medium weight classification (approximately 150-300gsm).
Due to it’s softness and tendency to drape, duck cloth is usually suited to cushion covers, curtains, slip covers and clothing such as pants or jackets. Whereas other types of canvas might be too stiff for these applications.
So, what do ducks have to do with fabric?
And, why not chickens or geese?
Well ‘duck’ comes from the Dutch word ‘doek’ meaning cloth. Dutch sailors wore pants and outerwear made from ‘doek’. At some point that was translated into ‘duck’ in English.
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