You only need to stretch pre-primed canvas enough to make it gently taut, enough that the canvas has no buckles or ripples. That said, stretching pre-primed canvas is definitely harder than stretching unprimed canvas. Even if you have the tools and the strength to stretch the hell out of the pre-primed canvas, don't.
Unstretched canvases can be framed a couple of different ways. Cut the painting to the size you want, leaving 1/4-inch around the edges where the painting will be covered by the frame. Glue the cut canvas to a stiff backing. Varnish the painting and frame as normal.
There is a risk of paint buckling, cracking, and warping when stretching is done after the fact. You can also pull paint off the surface as you grip the canvas with your hands or pliers, and it's hard to get a painted canvas as tight as one that's been stretched ahead of time.
Canvas stretching is necessary to preserve the canvas and prepare it for framing. It is as simple as that. However, the process of stretching a canvas and adding a stretched canvas frame is not so simple and there are many factors that come into play.
If you've purchased a rolled canvas print or painting, you'll need to stretch the canvas before framing it. Note that rolled canvas paintings should actually be rolled with the paint on the outside, which may seem counterintuitive; however, this puts less stress on the paint and reduces the chances of cracking.
Starting on one side, place one staple in the middle to secure the canvas. Once the staple is in, rotate your canvas to the opposite side. Pull and tightly stretch the canvas using the canvas pliers; place one staple to secure the canvas to that side. Proceed to your third side that has no staples in it yet.
To Prepare a canvas for acrylic painting is a straightforward process. You need to apply gesso normally in three coats, where you sand them in between after they dry out. Store-bought stretched canvases are usually primed with gesso and do not need any extra work before painting.
Although acrylics and dry drawing media can work well directly on raw or unprimed canvas, we recommend a barrier for most applications. When painting with any acrylic paint, medium, gesso, or ground, we recommend applying 2 or more coats of Gloss Medium first to reduce support induced discoloration.
What You'll Need to Frame a Canvas. Spoiler: not much. You'll just need your stretched or unstretched canvas (obviously), a tape measure, level and a hammer (eventually). If your canvas is already stretched (up to 1.5” deep), we'll frame it as is with about ¼” gap to reveal the sides.
Can you hang unstretched canvas? You will need to hammer a nail or two into the wall before hanging a canvas that is stretched over stretcher bars. Depending on how large and heavy the canvas is, a metal hinge clip, Washi tape, a dowel, or pushpins may be used to hang it.
Your cost can range anywhere from $8-$20 per linear foot ($50-$150 per print), depending upon the size of the image and the thickness of the stretcher bar you choose. You will also have the inconvenience of a time delay, as it may take several days before your stretched prints are ready to pick up.
It should be tight enough so there are not any waves in the canvas. Use canvas stretcher pliers to make sure you are getting an even tug. Start tacking canvas onto stretcher in the center on one side then tack on the other side.
Canvas can be stretched by pulling it around the frame using the canvas stretching piles. It doesn't matter if I use pliers or not, I can get the same results. When you are finishing the canvas, be sure to pull it tight. I was using gesso canvas for the first time, and I decided to pull it differently than usual.
You can paint directly on the unprimed canvas because there's nothing in acrylic paint that will damage the fabric. Even though gesso isn't necessary when painting with acrylics, many artist's still use gesso because it offers many other benefits.
What happens if you paint on raw canvas? It will rot! Oil paint should never come into direct contact with the fiber or the canvas will eventually rot, become weak, brittle and crumbly.
A common question regarding acrylic painting is if you need to use a gesso primer. Technically, you don't. It provides you with a nice, slightly more absorbent surface to work on, especially if your working on board or raw canvas, but for a pre-primed canvas it's unnecessary.
Whether you'll be painting with oil or acrylic paint, priming gives the canvas a much smoother texture that's less absorbent and easier to work on that lets your brush move easily across the surface.
White is the worst colour on which to start painting.
In acrylic and oil painting, white is the highlight colour. It is the brightest, purest colour you will put on your canvas, and we generally save our pure white for the very last step to add that pop of brightness.
Use acrylic artist's colors to brush directly on an unprimed canvas without applying gesso. To prevent dirt and mildew from penetrating the fibers of your acrylic painting, coat it with artist's varnish. Make sure the painting is properly protected by applying a coat of gloss or matte medium.
We offer four canvas printing options – thick-wrap, thin-wrap and un-stretched on premium canvas in custom sizes and stretched Value Canvas in limited sizes.
Here are all the tools you need to stretch a canvas: staples, stapler, canvas, canvas pliers, sponge, nitrile gloves (optional), and the stretcher bars surrounding the tools.
Stretch canvas, including neatly folded corners – up to 10 minutes for a small canvas, up to 30 minutes for a large one.
Why are stretched canvases so expensive? Stretched canvas has a significant price difference due to many factors including the weight and quality of the canvas, the weight and quality of the stretcher bar, as well as the quality of the primer or gesso.