DIY Large Stretched Canvas

June 15, 2015

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You may have caught that we moved the painting that was originally on the entry wall into the study a few weeks ago. It fit the vibe so well in there and the size was perfect for above the couch. I broke my rule of No taking items from one space to decorate another, but in this instance, it was worth breaking. It found its home.


While things are dandy in there, the switch did leave us with a rather large blank wall in the entry and it is just the push I need to finally pull me out of my painting drought. I have been feeling a little less inspired in the past few months, compounded by all the other work and life stress–I haven’t picked up a paintbrush in too long.

I checked out a few pre-stretched canvases, but for the size we wanted, the shipping alone was astronomical. So we decided to make our own. It’s a cheap and relatively easy alternative if you want a larger canvas in your home. (Smaller sized canvases are generally cheaper to just buy, in my opinion.) Here’s how we did it:

Materials Needed:

Pine 1x4s
Flat brackets
primed canvas roll
Staple gun

Originally we made a HUGE 48″x72″ canvas frame. Even though I swore we measured the wall three times, after we made the frame, it looked too big, so we modified it.


But the first thing you need to do is make a frame, maybe measure your wall FOUR times and tape it off if you need to. And cut your wood to make the outside frame. The corners should be cut at a 45 degree angle and the outside points are equivalent to your full length/width.


To secure the corners together, we used an L-bracket (it doesn’t have to have the extra flat support on the front–this is just what we had on hand) in each corner.


Almost any canvas frame (maybe starting at 24×30?) needs some sort of supports. Using the leftover board length from making the outer frame, we angled the scraps at a 45 degree angle and slid them into the frame until they sat flush and secured them with flat brackets.


When we initially made the 48″x72″ canvas frame, we added one more straight center support, but when we modified it to a 48″x48″, we no longer needed it–the diagonal supports made the frame plenty strong.


At this point, it’s time to stretch the canvas. Now, disclaimer. This is not the professional way to do this. They make canvas stretchers and everything. BUT, this is a great DIY way to get the job done. You’ll need an extra set of hands to ensure you’re pulling it as taut as possible. Chris was at work, so I had my mom come over and help me. Contrary to popular practice, I wouldn’t recommend pulling and securing the middle of each side and then going back and filling in. Secure one whole side first. I like starting with the beginning of my canvas roll because I know it’s nice and straight. I secure it completely with a staple gun (I love this one!) and THEN move directly across from that side and pulllllllllll and staple a few times and then go to the remaining two sides and eventually back to fill in.



That’s it! I decided to try out black-primed canvas this time (since I typically find myself painting my whole canvas dark to start anyway), but a roll of white primed canvas is quite a bit cheaper and you’ll likely get several big paintings out of it.



I am still mapping out what I want to paint and gaining inspiration. So, now we just have a great big black square hanging in our entry, but as soon as inspiration does strike, I plan on doing a time-lapse video of the whole thing since I’ve received a few requests for that. Can’t wait to dive in!

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What do you think?

  1. LateToTheParty says:

    Researching how to make canvases. I see this one does not have beveled edges. Was that on purpose?

  2. Scott Zunx says:

    Really love the article! Thanks a bunch!

  3. Whatever you do will be amazing, I’m sure.

  4. Theresa says:

    Can’t wait to see the process !

  5. Heather says:

    Not sure if you are aware, but your side bar is not working properly. It is now located at the bottom of the page and overlaps some of your site. I am on an iPad if that helps.

  6. Corine Pugmire says:

    A time lapse of the art process! Yes! Yes! I’m so interested in this. Especially when this painting is for your own home. I think it makes it so special. What inspires you?

  7. Evelina says:

    I had no idea that this was possible to DIY! Great way to get a custom size

  8. Meagan Briggs says:

    Ok–that pic of you is adorable, and TOTALLY you. Love it. And I can’t wait to see what you come up with for that black canvas. I wish I had your artistic abilities!

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