Metal Prints vs Canvas Prints

Metal prints and canvas prints are two of the most popular mediums on which people like to display their art and photos.

Canvas prints have been the standard in the photography and art industries for decades, while metal prints (mostly on aluminum) are becoming more popular.

What's the difference between the two? Below we'll cover the main differences, advantages and disadvantages of both substrates.

Canvas Prints

Canvas printer

1. Printing the canvas

A canvas print is made by printing an image, using a commercial printer, onto a piece of special canvas. There are a variety of difference canvas types for different finishes.

Stretching canvas onto frame

2. Stretching the canvas onto the frame

Using special tools, the canvas is then stretched or either nailed, glued or screwed onto a wooden frame. This frame gives the canvas its structure. The frame also allows the printer to attach mounting hardware for hanging the print on the wall.

Mounting hardware on canvas print

3. Add mounting hardware to the back

All canvas prints have some type of hardware on their backside so that they may be hung from the wall. The most popular method being the wire hanging method in which a wire is attached to the back of the print and is hung over a hook or screw that is attached to the wall.

Hammering a hook to the wall for canvas print

4. Hanging the canvas print to the wall

All canvas prints require some kind of hardware to be installed to the wall. Unfortunately, this typically means a hole must be hammered or screwed into the wall.

Advantage of canvas prints
  1. They are sold everywhere and are incredibly easy to find. So if there's a specific design or artwork you are seeking, odds are you can find a canvas print of it.
  2. They can scale to very large sizes (up to 60" x 40").
  3. The image won't have a glare like other glossy substrates.
Disadvantages of canvas prints
  1. Good quality canvas prints can be fairly expensive.
  2. The image will always have a canvas texture which makes it difficult to attain that crisp photo quality.
  3. They're very common and lack uniqueness. Just about everyone has at least one canvas print.
  4. They require tools, a lot of measuring and one to several holes in the wall to hang correctly.

Metal Prints

Metal prints are made by imprinting an image onto a metal substrate, either aluminum or steel. In this article, we will cover metal prints made from steel, as this is one of the newest and exciting trends in the wall art industry.

Steel metal prints are far different than canvas prints. They are simpler in construction and, unlike canvas prints, they can be mounted to the wall magnetically causing no damage to the wall.

There are only a few methods used to create metal prints as detailed below:

Metal print on steel

1. Imprinting onto the metal substrate

Unlike canvas, metal is much more difficult to print an image upon. There are only a few ways to imprint an image onto metal. The two most popular methods are dye sublimation and UV printing.

Unlike canvas prints which can feel flimsy, metal prints on steel or aluminum are very thin, rigid and strong.

Magnet mount for metal print

2. Magnet mounting of the metal print

In the case of Slidetiles, since our metal prints are made of steel, they can be mounted magnetically to the wall. This involves placing a magnet on the wall using a removable adhesive. No tools or holes are required for mounting.

Placing the Slidetile on the magnet

3. Placing onto the magnet

After the magnet has been stuck to the wall, Slidetiles can be easily placed on the magnet. They can then be slid around, adjusted and even flipped over to reveal another image on the reverse side.

Creating a collage with Slidetiles

4. Mounts in seconds

The greatest strength these types of metal prints have is their ease of mounting and adjusting while causing zero damage to the wall.

Create collages and photo walls in seconds. Change out photos whenever you like. Flip them around or slide them into new configuration. These types of metal prints give the user true modular capabilities when it comes to wall art.

  1. Steel is heavy, so metal prints made from steel are limited in size when compared to canvas prints. The most popular size is 8" x 8".
  2. Steel can be more expensive than canvas.
  3. If your seeking that canvas texture, that generally can't be replicated on metal substrates.
  1. Due a metal print's uniqueness, the WOW factor is huge.
  2. Due to the magnet mounting system, metal prints made from steel cause no damage to your walls and can be remounted at any time.
  3. They are highly modular and can be changed in seconds.
  4. Creating collage or wall murals with multiple canvas prints can take hours, with these types of metal prints, it takes minutes.


While canvas prints are the go-to standard in the printing industry. New technologies and innovative companies are beginning to disrupt that standard. Metal prints are becoming more and more affordable and available to the general public.

Slidetiles is one such company making waves in the wall art industry.

Unboxing a Slidetile

Tire of the traditional canvas prints and want something truly different? Check them out. Who knows. Your walls may never be the same.

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