Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Canvas Stretching

You will need:
A wooden stretcher or strainer (the stretcher pictured is actually not a stretcher because it has no canvas keys which are the little bits of wood or plastic that can be used to stretch out the frame and make the canvas tighter) Although I will refer to it as a stretcher (confused yet?)

A Staple Gun

Canvas Pliers if needed, these can help if your fingers are not very strong or if you are stretching very large canvases

Canvas, this should be 3 inches larger than the stretcher on all sides

figure a
Begin by placing the stretcher on top of the canvas (figure a) 
figure b
Then staple in the middle of each length pulling the canvas tight (but not too tight!) and following the numbers (figure b).
figure c

The second ‘circuit’ of staples starts to the right of the first staple follow the numbers 5-8(c). You need to tighten the canvas at this stage before each staple taking care to keep the canvas fibres parallel The next ‘circuit’ follows the same rationale but to the left of the first staple along each edge (d) repeat this process until you are approx. a hands width from the corners.                                                                

figure d
There are a few different ways to fold the corners. I will try to will explain the easiest and neatest. First turn the canvas so the front (the surface you will paint on) faces you, then taking hold of the loose material (e), you need to stretch the material over the corner without putting a hole in the canvas by pulling it over the stretcher corner.

figure e

figure f
Quickly staple one side so you have a free hand (g).
figure g

While keeping the tension in the canvas fold the excess material along one edge and tuck the fold underneath itself l so you can’t see it (h). Keep practising this bit if you don’t get it straight away.
figure h
The back should look something like this (i). If during painting the canvas becomes loose, you can spray or sponge the back with water this will tighten the canvas back to the same state just after priming.

figure i


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