Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Picking Out the Perfect Wood...for your canvas!

As I continue with the "How to Stretch a Canvas Series", Phase 1 is one of the most important stages of the precess. I have broken it down into 4 Simple Steps to Picking Out the Wood. These steps are all you will need for stretching your first canvas and hopefully many more after.

Phase 1: Getting the right materials
Tools Needed: Pen and paper, tape measure, wood, various nails & staples, red marker

Picking out your Wood!

The first step to stretching your on canvases is deciding where you are going to buy your wood as well as the type and size of wood you are going to use.

1) First I decide how many frames I am going to make, get the measurements of each piece. EXAMPLE: If I am making a 2 foot by 2 foot canvas, I will need 4 pieces and 1 brace. I will need 2 pieces that measure 24inches and 2 pieces that measure 21inches (remember the wood is 1.5inches and 21+ 1.5+1.5=24). The brace needs to be 21inches as well. TIP Keep in mind that most of the pieces of wood you are going to buy are 96inches long, so plan each piece of wood to get the most out of it!

2) I have found that Home Depot has a great selection of 2x2s. (That is what I use.) Keep in mind that the 2x2 is really 1.5x1.5 and usually 96 inches long and all other sizes with not measure to what they say. Always measure your wood to be sure. Depending on your style and the size of the piece will determine the wood you use. I have found for all intense and purposes the 2x2s look the best after it is stretched and painted. It is thick for a gallery wrap, but not too wide or heavy. Choose what works best for you!

3) Once you pick the type of wood and size you plan to use, then you need to pick the straightest and most blemish free pieces you can find. If they are warped your canvas will suffer. I have spent as much as 3 hours picking out my wood. Once I find what I think is a fairly straight piece, I will eyeball it (put 1 end on the ground and your eye up to the other and look down it to check for bends, warped areas, and knots in the wood). I then, put in on the ground and roll it on the floor to see how it rolls from side to side. Check for rises in the piece or it not lying solid. Take your marker and tape measure and mark the wood where it will be cut. Remember if it is not as straight as possible it won’t hang correctly on the wall!

4) Always look at each piece after it is cut and make sure it is the correct measurement you asked for. TIP If you have the employee cut 2 pieces at the same time, then they will match. You want to get as close as possible to the original dimensions. Don’t be afraid to have the employee fix the piece or correct the mistake if it happens, but don’t be too precise. They do the best they can and a little smile and a “thank you so much” go a long way!

Once you have chosen the wood and had it cut, you are ready for the next step. Choosing your nails will follow. Stayed tuned.............

Until then, Enjoy the process!

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