How To Stretch a Canvas

The canvas needs to be stretched right for it to hold paint and work.If you're a painter, learning to stretch your own canvases is a great way of saving money and keeping your overhead low.The article will show you how to stretch the canvas and prime it for painting.

Step 1: Purchase a stretcher or build a frame.

stretcher bars are pre-cut slats that you can slip together to create the frame of a canvas frame.The easiest way to modify the frame is by putting it together quickly.The stretcher bars are used by most professionals.If you want to fix a canvas to a frame with no tools other than an X-Acto knife, you can get a kit like EasyWrappe.You can stick the pre-cut wood bars to the canvas and fix them in less than five minutes if you pick the right size.

Step 2: It's important to get enough canvas for the job.

The canvas should fit around the frame by at least six or eight inches on each side.It's important that you have enough canvas to attach to the back side of the canvas, or stretching won't work.If you want to purchase or cut a larger size of canvas, you need to know the dimensions of the frame you have.Unprimed canvas is easier to stretch than primed canvas.Purchase ungessoed canvas and prime it later.

Step 3: The other materials are needed to complete the job.

A canvas stretching job requires a few basic tools.There is a spray bottle filled with plain water.The canvas is stretched back.As it dries, it will shrink and tighten the canvas even more.There is a person named Gesso.After stretching, this primer is used to treat the canvas.At most art supply stores, it's a white paint mixture made of gypsum, chalk, and other ingredients.There are specialty pliers used for canvas stretching.canvas pliers are available at most art supply stores and can be used to stretch canvas without pulling holes in the material.A gun.Regular desk staplers aren't enough for stretching canvas.You need a heavy-duty staple gun to plant staple into wood and carpentry staple capable of gripping into the frame.

Step 4: Cut your canvas.

Taking into account the width of each side of the frame, the canvas should be cut several inches wider than the stretcher bars.To be able to pull and stretch it, you'll need this extra canvas.You can cut the canvas to shape using an X-Acto or utility knife.It is better to tear the canvas than to cut it.Use your knife to start the cut along the line and then tear the grain to make an accurate shape.

Step 5: The frame should be centered on the canvas.

The frame should be centered on top of the canvas on the work surface.Before you start, make sure to smooth out and clean up the canvas as much as possible.The stretcher bars should be lined up straight with the canvas.The bars will twist if they don't.

Step 6: The longer sides of the canvas should be stretched first.

Take the longest side of the canvas closest to you and fold it in.Along the bottom edge of the frame, put three staples in the center.You want to wrap the canvas all the way around the bar and then fix it on the bottom edge of the frame.The canvas around the corners is quite loose.You will tighten it up later.If you want to do the same thing, move the canvas and frame around the table to the opposite side.Pull the canvas tight, fold it over the frame, and put three more staples into the stretcher bar on the opposite side.The canvas needs to be secured from the middle to the corners.The canvas will twist slightly on the frame if the staple is not close to one of the corners.

Step 7: If necessary, gently wet the canvas.

If you're trying to stretch an ungessoed canvas, it's common to use a spray bottle to gently dampen the canvas with some water, which will help to tighten it as it dries.You should mist the canvas after you've fixed the long sides.

Step 8: The sides should be stretched.

Attach the canvas to the frame by attaching it to one of the unstapled sides.Do the same thing to the other side.

Step 9: The corners should be stretched.

Go back to the first side and work from your center staple to each corner.Pull a piece of canvas, stretch it, and put a staple in it.Slowly, stretching from the opposite side of the bar at a time.Continue pulling and stipulating pieces of the canvas in the same order as before.If you want, you can place a staple between the center and the corner.Continue until you have about four inches of space from the corners.

Step 10: Attach the corners.

Pull one side of the corner under the other so that one edge is even.Pull the corners firmly.The most important tightening is this one.You should be firm and even.To make it flush with the sides of the frame, it's helpful to make a slit along a diagonal in the canvas.If you want the corners to look clean, follow the shape of the canvas and cut it if necessary.

Step 11: The canvas needs to be stapled.

To make sure everything is flush with the frame, pound your staplers with a hammer around the canvas.While you are working, you don't want rough staples around the edges.Fix a few more in if you see a need.

Step 12: The canvas needs to be checked.

Once you're done, flip the canvas over and use your finger to tap it.It should feel taut and sound like a drum.You can see it from here if there is any strange pulling.If you mis-stapled or don't have the canvas taut, you can fix it by repeating the steps in the previous section.The canvas will get worse if it is loose.

Step 13: Use wood wedges to promote stretching.

To further stretch the canvas, it's appropriate to insert shims into the corner joints.If you want the canvas to be especially tight, but don't want to take the time to remove all the staple and start over, this can be an excellent way to tighten it a bit more.You can buy wooden shims at the hardware store for a few dollars, but they are very thin shards of wood.They come in a variety of sizes, which means you can fill in the gaps if necessary.

Step 14: Allow the canvas to rest.

It's a good idea to let the canvas rest and tighten up on the frame after stretching it.A canvas should be firm in about a day or two in a room with no excess humidity.

Step 15: You shouldprime your canvas.

You're ready toprime your canvas after you've stretched it.Sometimes "tightener" is added to the canvas and allowed to dry before the primer, and sometimes not.The canvas needs to be primed by painting thin coats using the brush in one direction.The canvases should be primed with three coats.After applying one coat, go back over the canvas with another coat.It's a good idea to use fine-grained sandpaper to get over the paint.Painting the primer on in the same direction allows the canvas to look clean and simple, a great backdrop for your painting.Sandpaper can be used to flatten the canvas.

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