A Helpful Guide to Canvas Stretching

NH art gallery

A Helpful Guide to Canvas Stretching

If you’ve ever visited a NH art gallery, you’ve seen hundreds of unique paintings displayed on the walls. Whether these paintings were framed or stretched, they were created upon canvas. Canvas is the surface of choice for many painters as it supports a wide array of media from oils to acrylic, gesso to varnish. However, what many people overlook is the care that is put into the foundation of the painting. Stretching canvas is an essential skill for any artist. This guide will walk you through some of the most important pieces of information when preparing your canvas.


Tools are a necessity

One of the first steps taken when attempting to stretch canvas is gathering the proper tools for the job. With the following items, you’ll have all you need to begin the process:

  • Wooden frame, or stretcher bars
  • Canvas
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Canvas pliers
  • Sponge or spray bottle with water


Cutting your canvas

Once your frame is constructed, you’ll need to cut the canvas. Make sure to leave an additional 6 – 8 inches on each side of the frame to allow for proper stretching, folding, and stapling. Once the canvas has been cut, center your frame onto the flat canvas surface. Taking the time to smooth out wrinkles will make for a cleaner finished surface.


Long sides first

Now that your canvas is cut and frame centered, it’s time to start stapling. Start with the longest side of your frame. Folding the canvas towards the back of the frame, you’ll begin stapling the material into place. Remembering to secure the canvas from middle to corners will help eliminate twisting. After your long sides are stapled, move onto the two shorter ends of the frame. Spraying the canvas with water along the way will create a tighter bond once it dries.


canvas stretching


Going back to the side you started, pull the loose canvas, stretch, fold, and staple. Go slowly and continue pulling around the entire frame, working in opposites. Sometimes it’s helpful to make small slits in the corners to help pull the canvas tighter.



Now that you have the know-how to get it done, the team from Frame Depot wants to remind you that we’re always here to help! Here at Frame Depot, we offer an array of services from traditional stretching to canvas dry mount and gallery wrapping. Whichever technique you choose, we’ll have your artwork looking like it’s ready to hang in any NH art gallery! Visit us today at our location in Milford, NH, and display your painting the way it was meant to be seen!