How to DIY Stretched Canvas

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Are you looking for information on to make your own stretched canvases for your artwork? It is not as difficult as you might think and while canvas stretching and priming are arbitrary, they are a good option for young artists looking to develop their skills and conserve as much money as possible.

Of course, there is also the sense of accomplishment of going DIY that any bubbling artist can surely appreciate. Not to mention that if you paint a lot, purchasing canvas wholesale and stretching them yourself is a lot more economical.


So, where do you start?

First thing’s; you have to gather all the necessary materials to make it happen:

  • Unprimed canvas
  • Two equal-length sets of wooden cot bars
  • A T50 staple gun (don’t forget the staples)
  • Textile scissors
  • Canvas pliers
  • T-square or woodworker’s square
  • A flat, clean surface area to work on

Assembling the cots

You can start by putting the frame together for your stretched canvas and making sure that you come up with a snug square-shaped design. Use a T-square to check the angle then sand the edges. You can brace the cots together using a rubber mallet.

You can set the frame on art easels in Sydney to check that all the sides are at just the right angle from one another.

Trimming and stapling the canvas

Put your set up stretcher framework on the canvas and try to orient the sides so that they are square with the weave of the fabric. Cut your cloth, leaving sufficient area on all sides — just enough for the canvas to fold over the bottom of the stretchers and stapled from the back.

Apply the first few staples on one side of the cot at an angle to the weave of the canvas to help prevent tearing. Turn your stretcher frame 180 degrees. Draw the canvas tight as well as place a staple on the opposite side from the first staple. Do the same to every side of the cot.

Add More Staples and maintain tension

Add staples to each side of the first staple, pulling snugly across the frame away from the innermost staple. It is essential to continue working from the within staple revolving as you go to maintain consistent force on all sides. Take care of your skin and fingers by making sure that you are using the staple gun correctly to prevent injuries.

Secure the corners of the stretched canvas

At this point, you should already have your stretched canvas, but it is not over yet. Next, you will have to fold over the corners. Squeeze and draw a little canvas from each edge and also fold it securely against the frame at a 45-degree angle. While holding your first fold down with one hand, squeeze and wrap the excess textile, so it lines up along the side of the frame. Staple everything down.

Do the same for all four corners. Check that you have a tightly stretched, wrinkle-free canvas that bounces right back when you press on it slightly with one finger.

If you still see creases or the tension isn’t high enough, you can utilize the canvas pliers to hold your canvas tight versus the frame while you staple.

So, there you have it — some general instructions on how to make your own stretched canvas. As you might have already realized, there is no need to buy stretched canvas for art projects and going DIY is relatively straightforward. All it takes is a bit of time and effort, and you’d be saving a significant amount in the process.