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When painting with an acrylic paint on a canvas you will want to treat the canvas with a substance known as Gesso. Gesso is actually a primer that you can use to get your canvas paint ready. Gesso will make your canvas a bit stiff and will ensure that the paint you are applying doesn't soak into the material. It also adds a bit of a texture to your canvas so that your paint stays on the canvas better than without it. You can apply Gesso with a sponge or a brush onto your canvas before painting.