Friday, July 27, 2012

canvas, forms, and frames...oh my!

I have been busy preparing for two exhibition deadlines. One is today and I can't tell you how unnerving that is to me. I don't usually get in barely under the wire.
It involves filling out forms, making CDs, wiring canvases, and in this case making frames.
I also am working on a commission for a large, 48 x 60 to be exact, painting. I had to order stretcher bars and canvas and put together my own canvas.
Here is a little tutorial, in case you ever have the inclination to make your own.

tongue and groove stretcher bars

Some bars are tongue and groove and others are just cut at a 45 degree angle.
If they are tongue and groove, a hammer is necessary to put them together.

Either type needs special care to be sure that they are square when to join them.

You want to be sure the lip that is only on one side is upon all of the pieces. This lip keeps the canvas off of the wood.
I use an electric staple gun with 1/4" or 3/8" staples. On small or medium canvases I use 3 staples on each side of each joint. more on large ones.

Continue confirming that each corner is square as you go.

Next you want to cut your canvas at least 3 inches larger on each side than your frame.
I get mine from for $7 a yard, use a coupon code and order enough to get free shipping.

If you have ever recovered a simple seat, you will be at home with this step. You put two or three staples in the center of one side and then pull the canvas tight on the opposite side and insert two or three more staples. Next, you do the same on the other sides being sure to pull the canvas tight.

Once the centers are done I continue further down each side staying about four inches away from each corner.

The corners are a bit more tricky to explain. You need to pull the corner up tightly and pleat the fabric at an angle on either side and cut off the resulting point.

Next, fold down one of the pleats, making a right angle as shown above.

Fold the other pleat over neatly, with no over hang as that would interfere with framing later. Once this is done your canvas may seem a bit floppy. Applying gesso will will help tighten and firm up the canvas for painting.

starting to gesso a canvas
Speaking of gesso, I have to get my enormous canvas out to my very hot garage to gesso today.


An Urban Cottage said...

I've always wanted to paint a large abstract. I might just give it try.

Anonymous said...

Nice tutorial on putting together your own canvas. Good luck today! :)

Loi Thai, Tone on Tone said...

You are busy, and that is wonderful!! Thanks for the tutorial! I will share this with Tom, so he can make for me :-)

Nancy said...

love the tutorial Kerry! Miss you on video :)
Good luck with the shows your in, and with your new commission! Can't wait to see it evolve..have a great weekend. Miss you! We're going crazy getting ready for the final ORC reveal Wed.

My Crafty Home Life said...

Good luck, Kerry...I am always rooting for you. This was interesting. Since I don't do any of this type of art, I never realized that people build their own. Not sure what I thought?

The Pink Pagoda said...

Good luck! I'm so excited for you!! Wow, what a gigantic canvas you're doing for commission! Will you have to ship it?