How to Stretch Canvas over big Canvas Panels

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Read how cloth can be stretched over big canvas panels?

It's always the same question that occurs, when you want to start painting with big picture sizes: how to stretch the canvas over big canvas panels without the completed image frame will warp after putting lots of paint or just the grounding on the cloth.

Many painters don't buy pre-stretched canvas-panels at their store for art materials. Instead they choose to get laths, wedges and their preferred roll canvas separate. To build big canvas panels it is absolutely necessary to add stabilizing cross-constructions to the panel.

Use a pair of stretch nippers to stretch canvas on a big panel

The bigger all those formats of your painting panels become, the stronger canvas material you have to choose to avoid breaking. Therefore nettle canvas, cotton with linen optic and raw linen are some of the most classic painting grounds for big artworks with oil, acrylic and gouache colors.

An important tool to stretch the cloth on a big panel is a pair of stretch nippers. This is an enormous help to get such a huge area of canvas stretched with constancy and even tensile force.

Also electric staplers are efficient tools to fasten the stretched canvas very quick with staples to the wooden frame. Some modern staplers that come with rechargeable power packs are able to shoot even nail pins to fix the cotton cloth. Rechargeable staplers are more flexible, but sometimes not as powerful than electric cable-attached staplers.

When you stretch canvas panels start to fix at first the middle point of the image from each mid of all four sides. Then support the tension of the canvas center by diagonally attaching the cloth to each corner. The painting ground should be so tight that it's still able to respond to pressure. Pay attention to an even force, but never overdraw the cotton, because during the following process of giving a grounding to the cloth and even later during wet painting, canvas material will contract. The amount of contraction depends on how much fluid the cloth will soak up. Overstretched canvas panels will definitely warp any big and stabile panel construction and it will be impossible to hang that picture flat at the wall.

Next, you start stretching the long-sides of the panel, segment by segment. Start from the center and stretch both sides of each segment between the panel's cross-construction and work towards the corners. While stretching the cloth towards the edge of the long-side, also draw a little bit in direction of the corner.

How cloth can be stretched over big canvas panels?

Besides that it is also very important that you keep a close look at the textile structure of your painting ground. Warp and weft of the textile structure should always be as parallel as possible with the laths of your panel.
Attach the canvas in regular intervals of about 10 cm (about 4 inches) either at the side of the panel or on its backside, so no staples can be seen when you look at the stretched painting cloth. That would give you the great opportunity to present the finished artwork even without an additional decorative frame.

After you have attached the textile to both long-sides of the panel fasten the canvas to both short-sides in the same way, beginning in the middle and working towards outside, segment by segment. Remember to keep even tractive force without overstretching the painting ground. Finally adjust the over stand of cloth at the corners. Spread the material as wide as possible so the multiple layers won't create a thick and ugly looking accumulation of leftover canvas.

Appropriate roll canvas to stretch over large canvas panels is robust raw linen, heavy cotton, nettle and rough sack canvas, which will provide your painting ground with an own individual structure. In case the painted ground of your artwork may start forming waves near the corners, you can re-adjust the tension of the painting cloth with those little wedges each wedge panel has in its corners on the back to re-stretch a canvas even after many years.

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How to Stretch Canvas over big Canvas Panels