The proper way to stretch a canvas. Take control of
your paintings by controlling the size of your work.
Step 1: Slot
together the stretcher frame. Use a rubber hammer to insure the corners fit
Step 2: Cut
canvas large enough to fold around stretcher edge and cover stretcher bar.
purposes of this demonstration we will refer to the positions on the square stretcher as
north, east, south and west.
Begin attaching canvas to frame. Choose a side to begin with (we'll begin in the east position) and place the first staple in
the center of the stretcher bar. Begin using the canvas pliers on the opposite
stretcher bar, west position, also starting in the center. Pull canvas
you are working in a size larger than 3' x 3' it is recommended that cross
braces are added to support your frame. Additional cross braces should be added
incrementally as your canvas size increases. Have a custom frame size?
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Continue with the pliers in the center of the north position, then again in the
south position. Once the center points are secure, you will complete the
stretching process by methodically moving from one position to the other, as
This process insures even tension on the canvas beams and
is essential to achieve a taught, firm painting surface.
Step 5: Returning
to your starting point in the east position, pull the canvas taught using your
canvas pliers. Using the staple gun, place staples about 2 inches apart. Stretch and place 2 staples on each
side of the center staple. Cross over to the west position and repeat. Continue
in this manner in the north and south position.
Step 6: Return
to the east position and continue in the same manner, spreading out
incrementally from the center position, working around the canvas
progressively until you are within 3 to 4 inches from the corners.
Step 7: Once
the canvas is attached to the frame excess fabric should be trimmed away from
Step 8: Finishing
the corners: pull corner of canvas tightly across the back of the stretcher
towards the center.
Step 9: Fold
one of the canvas wings in and over.
10: Fold the second wing of canvas in and position it over the first wing
11: Secure the fold to the stretcher using your staple gun.
12: Once the canvas is secured to the stretcher it can be primed with
Acrylic gesso or sized and primed with genuine gesso.
your canvas is still slightly loose you can add wedges
in the interior corners of your stretcher bars,
spreading them slightly apart and making your canvas
Custom size? Over
sized canvases needed?