Design

DIY Large Stretched Canvas

June 15, 2015  —  Written by Julia 

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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.

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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
L-Brackets
Flat brackets
Screws
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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