Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You think you are ready to stretch? I'm ready to show you!

You’re almost finished!

Phase 3: The Canvas

Tools needed: Canvas, scissors, razor blade, red marker, Canvas Stretching Pliers, Hammer, staple gun with staples, tape measure, and flat-head screw-driver

Cutting the Canvas

First you will want to decide if you want a gallery wrap or not. A gallery wrap is where the canvas stretches around to the back and stapled. The other way is where the canvas is just stretch to the sides and stapled. This way is harder to stretch as the wood frame cannot be laid flat on the floor and canvas pulled around. The gallery wrap is much easier as you can use the back to help brace while you are stretching and attaching the canvas. I find the gallery wrap is not only be easier but, looks much more professional and finished out. That’s just my opinion though. Do what works best for you and your art!

1) Now that you have decided whether you like gallery wrap or wrapped just to the sides. Roll the canvas out enough on the floor to be able to measure and cut it. Remember to always add a little extra canvas to be for sure. If you chose the gallery wrap, you will need extra to go around to the back and attach. EXAMPLE: If your wood frame is 24 inches and the wood used is 1.5 inches, you will need to cut the canvas to at least 28-29 inches. Beginners add a little canvas. If you choose the side wrap, you won’t need as much, because you just need enough to go along the sides to attach.
2) Now that the canvas is cut, place the canvas (side you will be painting on) front side to the floor and position the wood frame evenly on top of the canvas. It is best to measure around so that it is pretty much the same amount of canvas on all sides. TIP* Look at the wood frame and make sure the best side with no holes, knots, or blemishes is face down. You always want the best side touching the canvas. The side that you will be painting should be as perfect as possible.

3) Take your Canvas Stretching Pliers, hammer, and staple gun. Start in the middle of 1 side of the frame and attach the canvas to the wood. Put at least 2-3 staples (or whatever you are using to attach the 2 together) in the center. Then, go to the opposite side and do the same. Here you will need to use the pliers to pull it tight prior to attaching. Next do the other 2 sides using the pliers from now on through the process.
4) Once you have continued to work your way out to the edges, you are now ready to do the corners. TIP* Leave enough room that is not stapled down to do the corners properly. You will want to have to opposite edges that go under the other 2 opposite edges.

5) Go to the edges that will go under the other two and continue to staple them all the way to the end. TIP* If there is too much canvas once you get to the end, you can cut some of it. It will fold better for the corners.

6) Fold the end of the canvas down the side, then fold it over and make the crease as close to the edge without going past. When you are ready to staple it down, take the pliers and pull it as tight as possible before stapling it down. This makes for a much neater corner. If you are having difficulty with this, think of wrapping a present, and do the same. It may be awkward at first and not be exact, however; be patient with yourself and keep working at it. It will get easier and look better the more you do it.

7) Continue to the other side, and the other 2 ends, and WALA you have a completed stretched canvas that you did for a fraction of the cost!

I think I have covered everything, if I have left out anything or you have a different and easier way, please let me know. Any ideas on the topic, I would love to hear them.
I hope this will inspire you creatively as much as it has helped me. I love stretching my own canvases. I find it very meditative and motivating. As always...Enjoy the Process!

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If you just popped in on this blog, you might enjoy the entire series on canvas stretching.

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