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How to Stretch and Frame Canvas Oil Paintings

Stretching Tools

In order to stretch a canvas, you'd better have two tools:

  1. One is Stretching pliers:
  2. Another is heavy duty clipper:

They all could easily be bought from art stores like Michael's, or home improvement store like Home Depot.

Make a Frame with Stretcher Strips

  • To stretch a canvas, you need four wood strips(also called stretch bars), they can be easily found at art store like Michael's Art Store, you can also make them by yourself:

  • Join these four strips together can form a wooden frame called a stretcher:

  • Put 3 or 4 staples on each corners to fasten the stretcher - better also put staples on back side of each corner:
  • Now the wood frame is ready ...

Mount the Canvas on Frame

  • Spread the canvas painting across a clean, flat surface and lay the frame on top of it, make sure that the frame is at the center of the painting. Carefully check each side to see whether the frame position is centered:

  • Start with the longest side of the canvas. Fold it over, and plop down three staples with your heavy duty stapler near the center of that stretcher bar.
  • Go to the opposite side and pull the canvas tight with pliers, fold the canvas over the frame, and put down three more staples near the center of that stretcher bar:

  • Continue with the following orders:

    Remember always working from the center staples outward toward the corners, place the staples an inch or so apart. Stretch as tight as you can and staple as you go, smoothing out the wrinkles in the painting as much as possible.
  • Now need to handle the corners. First, fold the corner of the canvas over the frame and make the fold run straight up the corner.

    Then staple on back of the fold:

  • Now we have a finished one:

  • More oil painting stretched samples can be found here.

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