How To: Stretch a canvas

Stretch a canvas

It's no secret, artists are broke. That's why they're referred to as "starving artists". One day these artists will achieve unimaginable success, but for most of their lives, they'll be struggling to survive… struggling to keep their vision alive. That's why they need to work cheap. And that's why they stretch their own canvases, not buy pre-made ones or have the hobby shop do it. If you're a starving artist, save a few bucks, hone your carpentry skills, and stretch your own canvas.

Fact: The famed Austrian painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser almost always stretched his own canvas.

You Will Need
* 1x2-in. lengths of wood long enough to form the perimeter of your canvas
* 1/4-round lengths of trim
* 1/2 to 5/8-in. carpentry staples
* A staple gun
* Wood glue
* Finish nails
* A hammer
* A miter saw or box saw
* Raw canvas
* Medium grit sandpaper
* A carpenter's square
* A damp rag
* Scissors or a craft knife
* A large, wide, and flat work surface, like a clean floor

Step 1: Pick a size
Step 2: Cut wood to size
Step 3: Cut trim to size
Step 4: Sand pieces
Step 5: Join two pieces
Step 6: Mop excess glue
Step 7: Repeat for all corners
Step 8: Fasten joints with staples
Step 9: Glue trim to canvas
Step 10: Nail trim to stretcher bars
Step 11: Push nails below surface
Step 12: Set aside to dry
Step 13: Set canvas face down
Step 14: Put stretcher bars on top
Step 15: Pull canvas up
Step 16: Repeat on each side and corner
Step 17: Repeat above staple
Step 18: Pull material on corner to side
Step 19: Fold material down back
Step 20: Fasten material
Step 21: Repeat for corners
Step 22: Cut excess canvas

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