Stretching Your Canvas Print

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Materials Needed

  • Printed Fredrix® Canvas
  • Canvas Pliers and Ruler
  • Heavy Duty Staple Gun
  • 3/8” Stainless Steel Heavy Duty Staples
  • Fredrix Stretcher Strips: 2 equal horizontal & 2 equal vertical sizes


  1. Assemble the frame by fitting together the tongue and groove ends of stretcher strips. Measure across the diagonal corners to make sure the frame is perfectly square. Attach cross bracing if needed.
  2. Cut the canvas 4” longer on all four sides than the assembled stretcher frame. Center the canvas face down on a clean, flat surface.
  3. Fold one side of the canvas over the longer stretcher strip and staple into the center of the back of the stretcher strip.
  4. On the opposite side, grip the canvas with canvas pliers and stretch tightly until a straight crease runs across the canvas. Maintain tension and staple
    into the center back of stretcher strip. If the staples are not flush with the wood, maintain tension with the pliers and hammer the staples until flush. Do not overstretch.
  5. Stretch and attach the canvas to the centers of adjacent stretcher strips in the same manner. The canvas will now have a diamond-shaped wrinkle.
  6. Stretch and staple 1 1/2”-2” to the left and right of center then repeat on the opposite side and adjacent sides. Continue to work from the center toward the corners. Pull tightly using canvas pliers but not so much that it will wrinkle the canvas between staples.
  7. Stop 3” from the corners. Double fold the canvas at the corners so the final fold lines up with the edge. Staple through the folded canvas into the back of the frame while holding tightly.
  8. Leave excess canvas if you want to be able to re-stretch it in the future. If the canvas is trimmed flush with the frame, remounting to the same size will be more difficult.

Helpful Hints

  • Pull the canvas horizontally toward the corners while stretching (Step 6).
  • Indentations or ripples may occur due to uneven tension between staples.
  • Larger stretcher frames require heavier-duty stretcher strips. If the stretcher frame is not strong enough it can break or warp.
  • Fredrix Standard Stretcher Strip frames 24” x 36” and larger may require cross bracing. Fredrix Gallerywrap™ or Heavy Duty Stretcher Strip frames 36” x 36” or larger may require cross bracing.
  • Wrinkles can usually be pulled out with a little extra effort when stretching.
  • Sagging and puckers in a stretched canvas – remove the staples in the area of the problem (or all the way to the corner if necessary) and re-stretch the canvas. For small puckered spots, take a damp cloth or spray and lightly wet the back of the canvas in the area of the pucker and allow to dry. If the pucker remains, the canvas should be re-stretched.
  • Rolling canvas – roll canvas around a large diameter cylinder. Always roll print side face out. Do not place regular paper over the printed surface. Use glassine paper.
  • Storing stretched canvas – Store in a vertical position. If stored horizontally, canvas will sag over time. Avoid placing canvases against each other. If canvases must lean on each other, lay same size canvases face to face or back to back. If stored face to face, place glassine paper between canvases. If canvases are different sizes, place a sheet of cardboard between the canvases.

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