How to Frame a Canvas

Buying a canvas in a roll is a good opportunity to save on the cost of the product itself and its shipment. You can purchase paintings from us both in a roll and on a stretcher. In the first case, even the shipment itself is much cheaper. But the canvas just like that, without a stretcher, can not hang on the wall. It is the stretcher that holds the canvas in a well-taut state. We suggest using the following instructions for how to frame a canvas not to sag and the picture to retain its attractive appearance.

How to Frame a Canvas on Stretcher

canvas on stretcher

You will need the following materials:

  • rail stretcher;
  • crosses needed to eliminate distortions and deflections of the main bars, as well as increase the strength of the structure;
  • stapler set.

You will also need the following tools:

  • ordinary roulette;
  • hammer (especially if you plan to use nails);
  • wood stapler
  • unique tool for tensioning.

In general, there are two types of stretch, and it depends on you which one you have to give preference to, gallery or classic. The first implies a frameless design when the canvas stretches so that the image continues on the sides. I must say that if it is fixing on the back of the stretcher and neatly wrapped in the corners, then everything looks great, even without a frame. Therefore, today this method considered very stylishly and modern. Such a design can found quite often.

There is also a classic type of stretching when the ends remain white, and the picture is preparing for a baguette frame. Like everything classical, this method will always be popular. In any case, it is essential that the frame make exactly the size of the canvas and that the timber is dry, free of cracks and knots. The fibers must guide along.

Size Matters

In modular versions of the subframe, the slats are moving apart with the help of wedges, which are making from dry hardwood. The main rails have external chamfers, and their internal bevel is approximately five degrees, which protects the image from damage.

The stretchers are reinforcing with crosses, and then, so that the canvas does not come into contact with them, the picture is fastening to the main rails at a distance of 5 mm from the plane of the canvas. The ratio of the thickness and width of the stretcher rails can be different – it depends on the size of the larger side of the picture.

Almost 200 years ago, standard sizes for paintings appeared, classified. All formats are dividing into three groups. For example, the most elongated format is called “marina,” the rectangle that approaches the square is called “figure,” and “landscape” is the middle view of the format.

Some markings depend on the length of the larger side. For example, sizes 16×54 are called 15F, 65×50 are called 15P, and 65×46 are format numbered 15M. In total, 50 international sizes belong to the listed standards. The standard row of paintings also corresponds to the standard dimensions of the stretchers.

Steps by Step to Frame a Canvas

make canvas frame

The step-by-step instructions depend on which subframe is being used. If it is modular, you must follow several steps described below.

  • Measure the diagonals of the subframe. If they are the same, then you can fix the corners with a stapler, using two staples for each corner. For the staples to drive in well, the stapler must press well and then driven in. If the staple is not driven in, you need to turn the round knob on top and thus adjust the stapler. Nails can use instead of staples. Only they can not hammer to the end. It is necessary to bend on the oblique to bend the hat to the side, and then the canvas will not fly off the nails in the future. To make everything symmetrical, after the first staple or nail, turn the canvas upside down, pull it a little and hammer it right in the middle of the opposite side.
  • Position the drawing evenly on the stretcher so that the threads of the canvas are parallel to the edges of the stretcher.
  • Using a special tool, secure the canvas with a stapler from all sides. There is also a faster option: wrap the stretcher with canvas and, pulling it quite tightly, drive in the bracket in the center.
  • Secure the canvas with a stapler every two to three centimeters, moving from the center to the edge. The tool must pull with the same force at the same time. After that, continue to stretch the canvas, gently tucking at the corners and shooting with a stapler.
  • Pull out the brackets that hold the corners of the subframe together. Fold and staple the remaining excess canvas.
  • Insert two wooden wedges into the slots at the corners of the subframe and knock them out with a hammer, but carefully.

If you stretch the canvas on a blank stretcher, you need to do everything as indicated in the first paragraphs for the modular stretcher. The canvas must stretch with a tool with the same force and be quite strong. This is necessary because you will have to drag it again if the canvas sags. At the corners, they also tuck the canvas and shoot the stapler. Then the extra canvas, which you still need, folded and fixed.

The subframe can fix with metal brackets 13 mm wide and 10 mm high. Corners can mount on a subframe or on a frame (depending on whose height is greater – a subframe or a frame). If the subframe protrudes above the level of the baguette, then D-shaped plates can use to secure it. You can also use Z-shaped brackets (for example, for fastening double frames) attached to the baguette with screws.

Simple Wooden Frame

The easiest and cheapest way to make a picture. Such frames come with glass, a backdrop, and a stretcher, but the first option is more common. You can buy this both in the store of goods for artists and in some photo stores:

  • Lay the frame upside down.
  • Bend the metal plates.
  • Remove the back.
  • Lay the painting upside down on the glass.
  • Align.
  • Cover her back.
  • Bend the mounting plates

If the Frame is too Big

It also happens that there is no way to choose a frame strictly according to the size of watercolor or pastel. In this case, you will need a different backdrop. You can make it out of cardboard or paper:

  • Circle the existing backdrop on a sheet of thick paper.
  • Cut it out.
  • Position the picture and try on the frame – the sides of its opening should match the sides of the picture, or at least be strictly parallel.
  • Fix the picture on the other backdrop with glue or double-sided tape.
  • Insert the work into the frame.

Mounting Features

If you are inserting a painting into a frame for the first time in your life, pay attention to a few points:

  • Pay attention to the design of the subframe – its backside has bevels and slightly protruding parts; they are always on the backside, so do not confuse.
  • Regardless of how you attach the picture, it must carefully smooth out and correctly positioned relative to the sides of the frame.

Important! If you have begun to fasten the canvas with staples, do not touch the nails because you only need to use one type of fastener.

Ways to Finally Fix the Fabric

  • The canvas is stretched and fixed with threads.

After stretching, the canvas should protrude beyond the edge on all sides by several centimeters. The edges of the fabric are folding over and sewn together at the corners.

  • Corners should be neatly sewn.

Then you need to stretch the threads between opposite sides in a criss-cross pattern, which will hold the embroidery in place.

  • The canvas is cut to the size of the baguette, not fixed

This is not the best option as the fabric may slip off. This option is suitable if the glass fits very tightly, and between it and the substrate, there is only space for the embroidery itself. You need to trim the fabric around the edges carefully in this case. You can fix them with buttons, a stapler, or tape for additional fixation.

The disadvantages of this method include the future impossibility of arranging the work differently since the edges will cut off.

How to Stretch Embroidery with Double-Sided Tape

First, you need to glue the tape around the perimeter of the stretcher. So that the edges of the embroidery do not go beyond the edge of the tape when folded. Then, in turn, peel off the protection and glue the canvas, carefully pressing it.

Important! In the same way, you can additionally secure the fabric by stitching the edges with threads.

You can also stick adhesive tape on the front side, pull the fabric over and press it. This is a simple way to immediately notice and correct the problem that has arisen (wrinkle or too much tension). For better fixation, adhesive tape can apply along the edges and center.

Stretching and Pinning Embroidery with Push Pins

This is not the best option because the buttons can become loose over time, and the embroidery will “move out.” It is best to use the buttons with a subframe made of plywood or chipboard and squeeze hard, if necessary, bend the ends of the buttons.

You need to work carefully; otherwise, the edges will be visible

The canvas is attaching to the stretcher with a stapler

Usually, embroidery is attaching to a wooden stretcher with a stapler: the embroidery is tucking up and fixed.

Important! We are talking about a large construction stapler, not a clerical one.

It is noted that this method is more suitable for fixing large-sized fabrics and tapestries, batiks, and hand-drawn paintings.

Fastener Installation Procedure:

  • To ensure uniform tension on the canvas, it is best to drive the studs in a certain order.
  • After placing the picture on a stretcher, drive in a few nails in the central part – this is especially true if the picture is large.
  • See how well the canvas stretched.
  • Slightly stretching the canvas, drive in a few more nails on one side and the other from the center, placing them symmetrically.
  • Gradually drive in all the nails, not forgetting to monitor the tension.
  • If the picture stretched evenly at the end of the process, there are no waves or folds along the edges – you did everything right.
  • If folds have formed, alas, everything will have to redone.

Usually, they are hanging in metal frames. Their design is the same as that of wooden frames with glass, so that the work inserted similarly:

  • Lay the frame glass down.
  • Bend the brackets.
  • Take off the back.
  • Insert a photo (without confusing the bottom and top).
  • Cover with back.
  • Bend the staples.

Paintings on the Wall

Putting your work in a frame isn’t everything. It should be nice to place it on the wall. And here are a few rules:

  • The plot should not be aggressive or violent.
  • The viewer should pay attention to the picture, not to the frame.
  • If you want to shade a corner on the wall, place one picture there.
  • You can also compose a composition; moreover, there are many options: small works of the same size can be hung in rows; if there is a large one, it can be in the center or on the side, and small ones next to it.
  • The picture must be well fixed on the wall, and it is best to do this with one or two dowels.

Often, when finalizing a portrait or painting, questions arise: what frame is suitable, where to buy it, and how to insert the work into it.

Indeed, the current range of frames makes you think about the choice of design for your masterpiece: a simple frame made of wood, a modern one made of bright plastic, or a luxurious one made of a gilded baguette. In addition to the problem of choosing a frame, many are faced with the difficulty of how to fix a picture in it.

Where to Hang a Picture?

hang canvas on wall

The great popularity of large open spaces and modern buildings is also the growing popularity of large-sized paintings, photographs, and posters. Large format, however, will play its essential role only if it gets enough space and space to succeed – to stand out, and not the last role in this will be the correct choice of a suitable frame. In modern interiors today, in most cases, abstraction, pop art, but also famous black-and-white and color photographs “hang.”

Unwritten law is that a modern painting should use a simple frame with a smooth, uniform surface finish. The next principle is not to combine different techniques and styles side by side in one point of view but to maintain a single style and ensure the harmony of shapes, sizes, and colors. The composition on the wall, consisting of small images, may seem at first glance quite naturally harmonious. Still, as you understand, this was preceded by considerable thought and trials regarding the hanging of pictures.

How to Arrange a Picture Correctly?

The main rule that should be followed when choosing a passe-partout and a baguette is that the frame should not draw the viewer’s attention to distract from the image. Everything else depends on the picture itself – of course, there are general recommendations, for example, to stay within the framework of a single color scheme and style (the latter refers to the choice of texture and pattern), but there are exceptions to them. Therefore, it is advisable to “try on” a few successful, in your opinion, baguettes on the image or contact a professional designer.

You can choose a passe-partout or a baguette from the widest range of available models. We have a design for every taste: the elegant luxury of touching simplicity, neutral tones or bold, bright colors, timeless classics or trendy avant-garde, economy option, or expensive exclusive.

Experienced graphic designers will help you make the right choice – you need to show the picture, and they will provide you with several of the most suitable framing options.

Which Choice for your Painting will be the Most Suitable?

The leading material for the manufacture of frames is still wood and metal, but the approach to protecting the surface of the image has changed. Classical glass is used mainly for “classic” decorating approaches and is more likely to frame original artwork. However, glass is relatively heavy and brittle and can break easily. For this reason, it is not suitable for children’s rooms. It is replaced by lamination, which will keep the surface in even good condition and protect the image from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. An exciting way to treat the surface of the posters is by gluing them to the canvas and coating the film under pressure; the structure of the canvas remains on the surface of the poster,

Metal frames are available in matt and glossy finishes (gloss prevails with current trends), and we also offer a wide range of frame colors. In their manufacture, high-quality paints are used at the level of automotive varnishes (for example, from Nilsen). Metal frames are thinner, more elegant, and look very good in composition with photographs.

You can choose from a wide range of historical frames with carved cut or handmade ornaments. The most expensive is the gold finish using a metal foil sheet. The quality of the wood and the internal density of the fibers will also affect the size of the baguette (width, height). For example, spruce wood is soft, and large frame sizes will deform the baguette itself.


Frame profiles are semi-circular or square; width and thickness are also adapted to the client’s fashion. Their final processing is mainly done by machine and for more expensive orders by hand. You can also choose different baguette depths. This, of course, along with the type of wood, processing, and finishing technology, affects the total price of the order. We hope you found in this article how to frame a canvas above.

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