Let Their Creative Juices Flow – A Guide to Choosing the Best Junior Artist Canvas Sets

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Painting on canvas is a wonderful hobby for budding young artists to explore their creativity. Starting out with a thoughtfully chosen set of canvases, brushes, and paints allows children to dive into this expressive medium without limits. With the right supplies to suit their age and interests, you can nurture a lifelong passion for the arts in your little ones. In this post, we’ll guide you through choosing the ideal junior artist canvas set for your aspiring painter.

Selecting the Perfect Canvas Sizes

One of the first decisions to make is what canvas sizes to get for your junior Picasso. Canvas sets usually come in standard dimensions like 5×7, 8×10, 11×14 inches, and so on. The size of the canvas has implications for the painting process and the level of detail that can be achieved.

For beginners who are just learning brush control and how to mix paint, smaller canvas sizes like 5×7 or 8×10 inches are recommended. These provide enough space for young kids to paint bold, colorful works while still working on their precision. And it allows them to fully cover the canvas and complete a painting in one session, which is satisfying!

On the flip side, larger canvases like 11×14 or 16×20 inches give budding artists a bigger workspace to bring their visions to life. Bigger canvases are great for encouraging kids to paint bigger, bolder works with more intricate detail. The larger surface inspires them to think bigger in their subject matter and compositions. But at the same time, large canvases can be intimidating for total beginners who haven’t mastered basic techniques yet.

That’s why it’s great to have a mix of canvas sizes in a set – some small and some large. This lets kids play with scale and find the size they enjoy working on the most. It also adds variety to their painting experience. An ideal set would have 5×7 or 8×10 canvases for quick studies plus a few 11×14’s for bigger statements. The combination allows any young artist to flex their skills!

Finding the Right Number of Canvases

In addition to size, canvas sets also vary in the number of canvases included – usually between 6, 8, 10 or 12 pieces. This raises the question – how many canvases should you ideally get for your budding painter?

Having too few canvases can limit the child’s experience – they may run out of canvases too quickly before fully exploring different techniques and subjects. Plus, starting a new painting means the old one has to be discarded, which can be upsetting.

On the flip side, too large a pack may end up going to waste if your child’s interest wanes or they don’t paint frequently enough to use them all. Plus the upfront cost is higher even if they don’t use all the canvases.

A good middle ground is a set of around 12 canvases – this provides enough variety for experimenting across multiple paintings, without being too excessive. For kids who love to paint daily, a bigger set of 18-20 is also fine. If interest is very casual, start with a smaller 6-piece set.

Getting a “variety pack” with both large and small canvases is smart – you’ll get to sample different sizes without committing to too many of one size. This way, you can first figure out which canvas size your young painter favors before investing in more.

Choosing the Right Canvas Material and Texture

Artist canvases are typically made from natural fabric like cotton and linen, or synthetic materials like polyester. The material affects the texture and quality of the painting surface.

Cotton is the most popular choice – it provides a fine, uniform texture at an affordable price. Cotton has enough tooth for paint adherence without being too rough. Linen is pricier but has beautiful texture – visible woven strands that add depth. It’s more suitable for intermediate kids.

Polyester canvas is cheaper but has a rougher surface and can warp over time. While usable for beginners, natural fiber cotton or linen will provide a superior painting experience.

For very textured, impasto style painting, rough canvas works well. But for realism and detail, a medium or smooth surface is preferable. The texture also impacts brush strokes and blending. Get a set with a basic cotton canvas in smooth or medium grain to start.

Ensuring Quality in Your Canvas Set

With canvas, quality matters, or else kids may get frustrated battling cheap canvases. What defines a good canvas?

The fabric should have a tight, consistent weave – uneven weaves cause sizing/priming to pool irregularly. Stretcher bars must be solid wood, not too thin to warp easily. No plastic! Sizing should create a taut, flat surface for painting. Avoid ripply canvases.

Priming bars should be coated evenly without blotchiness. Professional acrylic gesso is best – it dries uniformly and seals the fabric. Student-grade canvas can have low-quality priming that absorbs paint unevenly.

Ideally, look for an artist line vs student line from reputable brands. These adhere to higher standards and are built to last through tons of use. Blick Studio, Winsor & Newton, and Fredrix offer great artist canvas options. While pricier, consider them an investment in quality.

Picking Age-Appropriate Sets and Supplies

Canvas sets are designed with specific age groups in mind, based on skill level. Make sure to pick an age-appropriate set that aligns with your child’s artistic abilities.

For very young toddlers and preschoolers, try washable coated paper pads first. These let kids paint freely without worrying about messiness. Move up to small 5×7 canvas sets around age 6-7. By age 10, most kids have the motor skills for larger canvases.

Acrylic paints are safest for kids – they are water-soluble, dry permanent and don’t emit fumes like oils. Go for child-safe, non-toxic acrylics. For brushes, synthetics are easier to maintain than sable. Rounded tips are good for beginners.

Proper tools allow kids to translate their ideas directly onto the canvas without impediments. Give your budding artist every chance to succeed!

Assembling Paints, Brushes and More for Canvas Painting

Aside from canvases, the other essentials for any budding painter’s supply kit are paints and brushes. Building out a basic palette of quality paints and brushes lets young artists play with color right away.

For paints, start with a primary color acrylic set – this typically includes red, blue, yellow, black and white 60ml tubes. This allows kids to mix a full spectrum of secondary shades as they learn color theory. Eventually you can add on specialty colors like cadmiums and metallics.

Good brush choices for beginners are flats, rounds, and filberts in small to medium sizes. Flats have square ends and are great for broad strokes and filling space. Rounds have a tapered tip allowing detail and texture. Filberts combine the two. A set with a range of shapes is ideal.

Proper brush care is a must – teach kids to never leave brushes soaking in water to avoid warping. Washing gently with mild soap and reshaping tips maintains performance. Investing in quality brushes from reputable art brands ensures longevity through repeated use.

Keeping Everything Neat and Tidy

Between open paint tubes, cups of murky water, and paint-stained brushes, painting sessions can get messy quick. Here are some tips to maintain organization in your art area:

  • Store blank canvases upright in bins and label canvas stacks by size.
  • Keep paints organized in a dedicated paint box or tackle box with sections.
  • Use jam jars or brush holders for storing wet brushes handle-up.
  • Put out covered palettes for mixing paints to prevent drying between uses.
  • Set up a water cup and wet wipes for quick cleanup while painting.
  • Label everything clearly so supplies don’t get jumbled up.

A purposeful set up helps reinforce the habit of cleaning up at the end. This teaches kids responsibility and ensures their tools stay in good shape for next time inspiration strikes!

Reviews of Our Top Canvas Set Picks

Here are 5 great junior artist canvas set options recommended based on quality, versatility, value and kid-friendly appeal:

1. Royal Brush Creativity Canvas Set

Pros:

  • Comes with 6 prestretched cotton canvases in 3 sizes – great for trying different scales.
  • Has the most unique shape variety – circles, squares, rectangles, making it more engaging.
  • Canvases are decent 7 oz primed cotton, medium texture. Won’t warp easily.
  • Comes with acrylic paints and brushes suited for age 6+. Versatility to use all included supplies.

Cons:

  • Only has 6 canvases so may not allow lots of experimentation across projects.
  • Brushes are synthetic hobby quality, not pro artist grade.

Best for: Ages 6-10. Creative kids who like painting different shaped canvases.

Price: $21.99

2. Fredrix Blue Pro Value Pack

Pros:

  • You get 12 canvases making it great value for money. Allows creating multiple pieces.
  • Good quality primed satin canvas, medium texture. Won’t damage easily.
  • All large 11×14″ size, great for bigger kid-style paintings.
  • Can buy paints and brushes separately based on preference.

Cons:

  • Only has the one large canvas size. No diversity.
  • Need to purchase paints and brushes separately.

Best for: Ages 8+ who enjoy large scale painting. Kids ready for bigger canvases.

Price: $35.14

3. Art 101 Kid’s Canvas Art Set

Pros:

  • Comes with paints, brushes, canvas – everything to get started.
  • Has fun stencils and activity guide perfect for young kids.
  • Canvas paper pads are mess-free way to learn.
  • GreatReviews from parents for engaging young artists.

Cons:

  • Paper pads don’t mimic actual canvas, may need upgrade later.
  • Very basic supplies, so won’t last years. But great for trying out.

Best for: Ages 4-7. Young beginners to introduce painting before graduating to real canvas.

Price: $21.99

4. Crafty Art Outer Space Canvas Set

Pros:

  • Cool outer space theme appeals to kids’ interests. Paintings will be more creative.
  • Canvases are coated with space imagery to guide painting. Fun!
  • Comes with acrylics and brushes.
  • Good quality canvas set at affordable price.

Cons:

  • Thematic sets limit some creative freedom compared to blank canvases.
  • Set only has 5 canvases.

Best for: Ages 6-10. Budding space enthusiasts and sci-fi fans who will love the theme.

Price: $32.95

5. Mont Marte International Artist Canvas Set

Pros:

  • You get 12 prestretched, primed canvases making it great value.
  • Good variety with multiple sizes – 4x 4″, 4 x 6″, 4 x 8″ canvases. Allows flexibility.
  • Quality thick cotton duck canvas primed with acrylic gesso. Very durable.
  • Mont Marte makes professional quality supplies.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with paint or brushes. Need to purchase separately.
  • International brand may be harder to source depending on location.

Best for: Ages 8+ who want real artist-grade canvases to practice their skills. Great for stocking up.

Price: $39.95

Frequently Asked Questions About Kid’s Canvas Sets

How much supervision do children need when painting on canvas?

Younger kids under 9 will need supervision and guidance. Help them set up, squeeze paints, and clean brushes until they get the hang of it. Older children can work more independently but may still need occasional help. Always supervise the first few sessions closely and teach proper use.

How do I choose canvases if my child wants to paint a specific scene?

Let your child sketch out the scene on paper first, then decide on canvas size. Explain how canvas dimensions affect layout – vertical for portraits, horizontal for landscapes. For very specific scenes, you can project and trace the outline in pencil before painting. Custom wood panels can also be made to custom sizes.

Should we invest in an easel or are lap trays fine for painting?

Lap trays are economical and portable. They allow painting anywhere easily. Tabletop easels provide a better angle for painting and keeping work upright. Floor standing easels are best but expensive. Try lap trays first, then consider upgrading to a tabletop easel if your child paints frequently.

What if my child loses interest halfway through the canvas pack – can they be reused?

Yes, you can reuse canvases if your child loses steam or makes a mistake. Simply take dark paints like black and fully cover previous painting, let dry, then flip over and start afresh on the blank side. White gesso primer can also be reapplied. This saves wasting canvases when inspiration strikes again!

How should completed canvas art be cared for? What about sealing or varnishing?

Avoid varnishing acrylics on canvas. Simply keep acrylic paintings out of direct sunlight to prevent fading. Make sure canvas stays stretched tight on bars to prevent cracking paint over time. Dust gently. Don’t scrub or clean with water. Canvas acrylics are quite durable if cared for properly.

Let Their Creativity Shine

Painting on canvas is a wonderful outlet for children to express their creativity in a tangible way. With the right sized canvases, quality art materials, and a bit of guidance, you can nourish their artistic talents and give wings to their imaginations.

Hopefully this guide gives you a good grounding on what to look for when choosing canvas sets for your budding Rembrandt. Find a set that aligns with their age, skill level and interests. Pay attention to canvas quality and versatility. Round it out with some foundational paints and brushes. That’s all you need to set your junior artist up for success.

The sense of achievement from completing their very own paintings on “real” grown-up canvas will do wonders for your child’s confidence and self-expression. Who knows, with some encouragement, you may just be investing in the next great American painter’s first art set!

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