How to Stretch Your Own Canvas

A cheap and easy DIY to stretching and priming a canvas.

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How to Stretch Your Own Canvas
29 Steps
Supplies
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1
Your will need an canvas frame, canvas by the yard to fit,scissors, and a staple gun. I am replacing the canvas of an old painting. you can also build your own frame with molding and L-brackets.

Your will need an canvas frame, canvas by the yard to fit,scissors, and a staple gun. I am replacing the canvas of an old painting. you can also build your own frame with molding and L-brackets.

2
Lay the frame on your canvas, about 2" from two adjacent edges of the canvas.

Lay the frame on your canvas, about 2" from two adjacent edges of the canvas.

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3
Pull the canvas up around the edge of the frame and make sure there is enough room for stapling. Roughly 2 inches should work.

Pull the canvas up around the edge of the frame and make sure there is enough room for stapling. Roughly 2 inches should work.

4
Cut excess canvas off the opposite two edges. Make sure not to cut too much!

Cut excess canvas off the opposite two edges. Make sure not to cut too much!

5
Two inches all around. My frame is only 3/4 inch deep, so this measurement will vary depending on your frame.

Two inches all around. My frame is only 3/4 inch deep, so this measurement will vary depending on your frame.

6
Staple once in the center of one edge. Pull the canvas firmly towards the opposite side and staple in the center there. You do not have to pull too tight, just firm.

Staple once in the center of one edge. Pull the canvas firmly towards the opposite side and staple in the center there. You do not have to pull too tight, just firm.

7
Repeat on other two sides.

Repeat on other two sides.

8
Here's how it looks.

Here's how it looks.

9
This is the rotation for each time you add staples. You don't staple all down one side because the fabric could get crooked. Add two staples on each side at a time, working outward towards the corners

This is the rotation for each time you add staples. You don't staple all down one side because the fabric could get crooked. Add two staples on each side at a time, working outward towards the corners

10
Pull the canvas away from the last staple and inward as you staple so there will be minimal wrinkles. Do this about 3 inches from both sides of the center staple then repeat on opposite side of frame.

Pull the canvas away from the last staple and inward as you staple so there will be minimal wrinkles. Do this about 3 inches from both sides of the center staple then repeat on opposite side of frame.

11
Repeat on other two sides. Do this step one more time working on opposite sides at a time.

Repeat on other two sides. Do this step one more time working on opposite sides at a time.

12
Continue working around canvas until you run out of room.

Continue working around canvas until you run out of room.

13
Now the pesky corners. Staple the canvas on one side, I stapled the bottom one here.

Now the pesky corners. Staple the canvas on one side, I stapled the bottom one here.

14
This is similar to wrapping gifts. Pull the corner piece toward the center of the canvas till it makes a fold from the corner of the frame and staple it into position.

This is similar to wrapping gifts. Pull the corner piece toward the center of the canvas till it makes a fold from the corner of the frame and staple it into position.

15
Use your finger to fold the remaining canvas down creating a crease at the very corner on the frame. Then staple that down.

Use your finger to fold the remaining canvas down creating a crease at the very corner on the frame. Then staple that down.

16
The cease is even with the corner.

The cease is even with the corner.

17
A couple staples. Ta Da!

A couple staples. Ta Da!

18
Repeat on remaining corners.

Repeat on remaining corners.

19
All done. Well, almost.

All done. Well, almost.

20
Next, let's get rid of those pesky wrinkles.

Next, let's get rid of those pesky wrinkles.

21
Spritz with water. A spray bottle works well too.

Spritz with water. A spray bottle works well too.

22
Now let dry. This shrinks the canvas to the boards so it fits nicely and tightens the wrinkles away.

Now let dry. This shrinks the canvas to the boards so it fits nicely and tightens the wrinkles away.

23
I've decided to go ahead and prime my canvas while it's damp, but you can wait. I'm using watered down white acrylic and a big brush.

I've decided to go ahead and prime my canvas while it's damp, but you can wait. I'm using watered down white acrylic and a big brush.

24
Mix a small amount of water to loosen up the paint. Or use house paint, it's usually thinner.

Mix a small amount of water to loosen up the paint. Or use house paint, it's usually thinner.

25
From the center, paint in a circular motion to work the paint into the fibers.

From the center, paint in a circular motion to work the paint into the fibers.

26
The thin layer of paint may soak in a little, but your ultimate goal is that the painting you apply later will not soak into the canvas.

The thin layer of paint may soak in a little, but your ultimate goal is that the painting you apply later will not soak into the canvas.

27
Circular motions help work in the paint while preventing brush strokes.

Circular motions help work in the paint while preventing brush strokes.

28
Back in the Sun to dry! This doesn't take too long.

Back in the Sun to dry! This doesn't take too long.

29
Ta Da! Nice and white and wrinkle free. Your ready to paint a masterpiece!!!

Ta Da! Nice and white and wrinkle free. Your ready to paint a masterpiece!!!

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