Artwork for the home  can get pretty pricey.  The bigger the painting or mural the more you can expect to pay.  A lot of times you have a certain space you are trying to work with as well and finding an exact size for wall decor can be troubling.  Making a frame and stretching a canvas isn’t all that difficult.  When it comes to having to paint a design is most people think they can’t do it or they are not an artist.  This just isn’t true.  You don’t have to be born in the south of France to create artwork the looks great.  Some simple sample colors from the home center and some masking tape and you are half way there.  Right about the same time I began woodworking I also got into art.  I would have to say my favorite thing about art is the freedom for expression.  That being said, I don’t think art needs to pretentious and overly in depth.  I can simply be something you enjoy to look at.  In this project I show how some simple 2×4’s and masking taped rectangles go a long way to achieve basic visual interest.

 

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Chop and rip some 2×4’s to size.  If you have never done a stretched canvas painting before, start with something a bit on the small size, maybe 20″ x 20″ or so.

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Cut a blade width (usually 1/8″) rabbet on what will be the inside edges of the frame.  Leave the blade height 1/8-1/4″ below the material to create a lip.

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Routing the inside 2 edges is not necessary, it only cleans up the frame.  Hand sanding each edge will do just fine to eliminate splinters.

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Here is the finished profile.  The lip we created keeps the stretched canvas off the frame just enough so the frame won’t show through.

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Using a speed square clamped to two pieces helps ensure the frame is built nice and square.  A little bit of glue at the joint and one screw pre-drilled complete the joint.  Offsetting the screws keeps them from getting in the way of one another.

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A couple extra chunks of 2×4 for corner bracing get toe-screwed into place.  These are not needed on smaller frames.  These braces should be slightly narrower than the outer frame as not to interfere with the canvas.

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Make sure and place the completed frame upside down centering it on the canvas.

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Start by wrapping the canvas around to the back of the frame and stapling from the center outward.  Put 2-3 staples in on one side and switch to the other side pulling tight and then driving in a couple staples.  Keep alternating sides all while pulling the canvas tight and removing all the wrinkles.

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Staple within 6-8″ from the corners.

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Corners can seem intimidating, but if you take your time, the fabric almost finds the way itself.  No way is the wrong way, so however it ends up is how it was supposed to be.

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Staple it down and trim off the excess with a sharp knife.

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I like to apply a coat of gesso as a primer coat but even a base paint color would work just fine.

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Start anywhere and with any size and just start taping out squares or rectangles.

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Alternating between colors and dry locations, start building a field of colorful shapes.

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You can add a few drops of paint to matte medium or white school glue to achieve a more transparent overlapping look.

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A couple “eye” screws and some wire across the back makes a great way to hang it on some hooks on the wall.

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The painting in it’s final resting spot.  Thanks for checking it out!  Questions and comments are always welcome.


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