- 4 wooden stretcher bars
- Raw unprimed canvas
- Staple gun
- Wood glue
- White gesso
- Large clean paintbrush
Do It Yourself Steps
1. Glue Stretcher Bars Together
Align your 4 wooden stretcher bars properly, making sure they are facing the right side up. Add a small dab of wood glue to each end of your stretcher bars and fit your pieces together.
3. Measure and Cut Canvas
Cut your canvas to fit the frame, leave about a 3 inch border of excess canvas around it.
4. Staple Canvas to Frame
Begin by folding your canvas over on one side of the frame. Staple it right in the center.
5. Repeat on Opposite Side
Next, go to the opposite side of your frame. Stretch your canvas tightly and fold over the side of the frame. Again, secure it with a staple in the center.
7. Rotate and Staple
Continue the above steps by rotating your canvas, stretching and adding a staple about every inch apart. If your canvas is very large you can add a staple about every 2-3 inches). You want to make sure you are always stretching and stapling opposite sides of the frame and that you are working from the center out. This ensures the tension of your canvas remains even and that you don’t get any wrinkles or folding. (If unclear, follow the numbers in the diagram)
8. Canvas Drum Test
When you are finished stapling, flip your canvas over to see if it is tight enough. Test it by tapping your fingers on it lightly, it should echo like a drum. It should be tight and not floppy.
9. Remove Excess Canvas
If you have a lot of excess canvas on the back of your frame, use your scissors to trim some of it off.
10. Make Corners Neat
Tuck and fold the edges of your canvas to create a neat corner. Staple it in place. Repeat with all your corners.
11. Coat Canvas with Gesso
Use a large clean brush to coat your canvas with white gesso. Apply the gesso in a smooth up and down motion to create an even surface. Paint the sides of your canvas also. Allow to dry.
12. Let Canvas Dry and Sand it
Once your canvas is completely dry, gently rub your sandpaper over the painted surface to rub off any uneven textures.
13. More Gesso and Sanding
Rotate your canvas 90 degrees and paint a second coat of gesso using your smooth up and down motion. This ensures the paint is applied in even criss crossing layers. When dry, rub your sand paper over the surface. Repeat this process one more time so that you have 3 layers of gesso in total.