Who has decided not to buy his canvases ready, but to build them himself, must also cover a stretcher frame with a canvas. It takes some routine before it runs smoothly, but the principle is always the same. The following video describes the process: covering a stretcher frame with canvas takes only a few minutes:
Material and tools
You need the following materials to build your own image carrier:
- an assembled stretcher frame (see the instructions here)
- a sufficiently large piece of fabric: canvas, cotton, nettle, jute, etc. -> approx. 6-8 cm overhang, i.e. approx. 12 - 16 cm larger than the frame
- a tacker with corresponding tacker clamps
- If necessary, a special collet ("screen collet") - if you don't have so much power in your fingers.
The procedure for mounting the canvas on a stretcher frame is very simple:
- First place the frame in the middle of the canvas / fabric
- Then staple to the middle of one side (only one parenthesis)
- Turn the frame around and tack the opposite side under some tension (only one clamp).
- Then turn by 90° and proceed in the same way.
- When all four sides are fixed, place further brackets on the left and right.
- Basically work from the middle to the outside.
- Always fix the opposite side as well - the tension should be distributed as evenly as possible over the stretcher bars.
- Turn the corners on one side inwards - and on the other side upwards and staple.
- The exact procedure is shown in the video above.
How to proceed will be explained in the instructions: priming the stretched canvas.
Is it worth covering the stretcher frames yourself?
Now many questions will arise: Is the effort worth it? What is the advantage of buying the stretcher frames as strips and covering and priming them yourself after assembly? After all, there are a lot of material costs involved:
- Wedge frame strips
- Canvas / Cotton
The answer depends on the amount you need. Because only at a certain quantity can the purchase prices of the individual cost factors be reduced to such an extent that it pays off. In my experience, it is worth it with an average image size of about 50 x 70 cm from about 12-15 image carriers. If you paint less anyway - or if you don't have enough storage possibilities, then building it yourself doesn't really pay off.
Irrespective of the price, the question of quality naturally arises: if you buy covered and preprimed stretcher frames in specialist artists' shops or even order them online, you hardly have any real insight into the quality of the materials used. There is usually still some information about the fabric, but how long the stretcher frames have dried through, or which primer has been applied, is usually a secret of the manufacturer.
Therefore: if you want to have full control over your work, you organize everything yourself. And this also includes the picture carrier or the primed canvas.