How to Stretch Your DIY Canvas

Let's be honest, there is nothing quite like the feeling of DIY the Canvas after you paint the picture yourself. 

Stretching your own canvas is actually pretty easy if you follow these steps! More of a visual learner? (Here is a video for you) :


1. Assemble The Frame

The first rule: Make sure they're square and snug. Use your carpenter’s square or a T-square to square them just right, you can also attach them just with your hand carefully.

If they're too tight to assemble with only your hands, you can lightly sand the tabs (not too much — you want them to stay together) or brace them against the wall and tap them together with a rubber mallet.

2. Fold and Staple

Fold the canvas over and put your first tin-tack in the center of one side of the stretcher frame.

Rotate your stretcher frame 180 degrees. Pull the canvas taut and place a tin-tack on the opposite side from the first tin-tack. 

Do the same for the sides, rotating and pulling the canvas tight each time.

3. Add More Tin-Tacks and maintain tension

Add tin-tacks to each side of the initial staple, pulling tightly across the frame and away from the innermost tin-tack.

Continue working from the inside tin-tack out, rotating as you go to keep consistent tension on all sides until your tin-tacks are about two inches from the corners. Your canvas should already be nice and taut, except in the corners.

4. Secure the Corners

To fold over the corners, first, pinch and pull a bit the canvas from each corner and fold it tightly against the frame at a 45-degree angle.

Then, while holding your first fold down with one hand, pinch and fold the excess fabric so it lines up along the edge of the frame. Now staple it down with the tin-tack.

Do the same for all four corners, and you'll have a tightly stretched, wrinkle-free canvas that should spring back when you thump it with your finger.

Also, if you can’t get the tension you want in your canvas just by pulling with your fingers, you can use the canvas pliers to hold your canvas taut against the frame while you staple.

Hot tip: Using the pliers is also easier on your knuckles. This is not a no-pain-no-gain situation. Save those hands of yours for the exciting job you're about to do as soon as you prime the canvas: painting your own spectacular artwork.

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