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Let’s talk about painted canvas! Perhaps an initial thought is: “why would someone buy a painted canvas?”
This list of Pros and Cons of Painted Canvas was compiled using input from stitchers:
- The design is on the canvas, so you don’t need a pattern.
- Usually no specific threads are required, so you use your stash and/or order fibers you like.
- No need to count from a pattern. It’s like paint by number!
- Use just one or two stitches for all your designs if you want.
- It seems more expensive than counted canvas.
- Once stitched, you can’t make another one, like you can with a pattern.
- Deciding what stitches to use (or buying a stitch guide) can be daunting.
- There are limited designs and they may not be in the colors you want. (You can change them if you use a thread that covers the canvas well.)
- You have to pick out threads (not as fun to do on-line but is a lot of fun in a store).
Almost everyone made the same comment: painted canvas was more expensive. Was that really true? So, here is a quick comparison. Laura Perin’s counted canvas Holiday Ornaments Set 3 creates four ornaments that will be 5″ square. If you kit this on-line with all the materials, it comes to $69.97. Finish it in a frame or a trivet for under $25, making your finished project cost almost $95. An estimated time to stitch it (provided by our very own Jess in purchasing) would be 15 hours. So, it “costs” about $6.33 per hour.
As a comparison, you can buy a painted canvas online for as little as $13.95 (and some even less), like this Santa Claus Ornament found on eBay.
This is very reasonable as most painted canvases are much more expensive. For example, this reindeer painted canvas from Barb’s Needlepoint in Sioux Falls, SD. It is only 2″ wide and cost $22.
Now, threads would have been cheaper with the reindeer because he could be stitched using threads from your stash.
For Santa: Patent Leather for his belt, Splendor for his suit, Coronet Braid for his buckle, and Fluffy Fleece for his suit trim. For a total of $21. Supplies for finishing him as a flat ornament will cost around $10 or less. So altogether Santa costs $44.95. With an estimated stitch time of around 10 hours, that’s only $4.50 per hour!
In this instance, the Santa Claus ornament would be less expensive than Laura’s project. But how does this compare to something else?
The show and tell at a Quilt Guild of North Dakota meeting is always amazing. What would it take to make such a project? Let’s start with the sewing machine. The more things they can do, the more they cost, some starting at $1000! Then you need mat boards, rotary cutters, rulers, and other tools for at least another $100. A full size quilt will cost at least $200 for fabric, batting, and thread. To quilt it, you can buy another very expensive machine or have it quilted, starting at $150. Therefore, your finished project easily costs $350 in materials. How long it takes to make depends on the complexity of the pattern.
Little Island Quilting wrote a fun post on how long it took to make a 38 x 38 quilt. It took her 23 hours. She also figured her costs to be $204 USD.
Assuming a cost of $350 and 40 hours for the larger quilt, the cost per hour (not including the sewing machines and tools) would be $8.75. Of course one would need a large work space, places for all the fabric stash, and patience!
What if you wanted to go do something that you didn’t have to take home? Consider going to a movie, with a ticket costing $10 per person. Add popcorn and soda for another $10 each. That means it is $20 dollars per person, or $10 per hour. Ouch! And of course nothing to show for it except the memories, and hopefully it was a good film!
The conclusion: When it gets right down to it, if you are doing something that you enjoy, it is worth all the money you put into it. If you like the idea of having an adventure picking out threads and deciding on what stitches to use, perhaps you will really enjoy a painted canvas project!