How to stretch your own Canvas

How to stretch your own canvas

Often artists who require a particular size or material of canvas that is not available to buy, they choose to make their own custom canvas. If you do wish to stretch your own canvas it can allow you to customise your paintings, and add a more personal and unique touch to your work. At Loxley we offer a bespoke canvas making service. You are welcome to contact us to request more information. 

Our Guide to Stretching a Canvas

  1. First you need to assemble the stretchers together, making sure they are square and tight. You can use a rubber mallet to knock them into place. 

2. Next lay out your canvas roll on a flat surface and then place your assembled stretcher frame on the canvas. It is important to  line up the edges of your stretchers square with the weave of the fabric. Then cut your canvas roll, and make sure you leave enough room on all sides for the canvas to be  folded over the edge and stapled on to the back of the stretcher. 

3. Fold one side of the canvas over the frame and pull tight using your stretcher pliers. Secure with a staple in the centre of one side of the stretcher frame. Then repeat this process with the remaining three sides. 

4. Now with all four sides of the canvas secured, you need to work round to the corner of the frame. Add staples to each side of the original staple, making sure you pull tight across the frame in order to get a neat finish. Then work around the frame in a pattern until you get to the corners. 

5. To fold corners, you need to pinch and pull a bit of canvas from the corner and fold it tightly against the frame. Make sure you fold it at a 45 degree angle. While holding your first fold down with one hand, pinch and fold any excess fabric to line up along the edge of the frame. Then staple this down and do the same for all the other corners. 

6. Finally, make sure your canvas is tightly stretched, and wrinkle-free. The canvas should spring back when you press it with your thumb.

Tools require to successfully stretch your own canvas

  • Rubber mallet
  • Measuring tape
  • Pair of scissors 
  • Pair of canvas pliers
  • Heavy-duty staple gun and staples
  • Staple lifter
  • Tack Hammer

Watch How to Fit Canvas Wedges

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