Choose a category

All the classics 

How to stretch a canvas painting on a wooden frame?

23 January, 2021
If you are a minimum handyman, a canvas can be mounted on a wooden frame in 5 minutes watch in hand. This is how to do it with a simple method.

It is clear to me that many people have no idea how to mount a painting on canvas on a frame, and that to do this they go to the skilled person (says a framer) who, he does his job: he frames the canvas. You will also find a list of framers in France, in your region, here: Framers in France.


You will need the following materials:

1. The above painting on canvas, purchased at our workshop or any canvas.

2. The 4 uprights of the frame (see 5 if the canvas is larger).

3. A good stapler (or a hammer and small upholstery nails).

4. A clamp to pull the canvas (not compulsory, but more practical).


Mount a canvas painting on a wooden frame

The first step is to collect the amounts. Position the flowerbeds so that the 4 uprights of the future frame form right angles; it seems logical, but hey ... To do this, use a square, or an object that has a right angle, such as a book for example.

Put a double staple gun on each corner, where the frame uprights meet, in order to assemble it. It is best to keep an angle of 45 degrees with the edge of the frame.

This rolls out your canvas, which you received in its secure cardboard tube. Place it face down on a protective surface so as not to damage the paint (a blanket or a tablecloth will do), and adjust the previously stapled frame to the square with the painted edges of the table turned over; there is usually an overhang of 5 to 10 cm on each side.

The most important thing to staple the canvas to the frame is to proceed in the right order, in order to acquire optimal tension. We start in the middle and continue with the opposite face (see diagram). So, starting from either side, fold the canvas over the frame and put 3 staples 2-3 centimeters apart. The first few times it is better to use more than necessary, with practice you will use less.

Now stretch the canvas as hard as possible, with the help of a third person or using pliers, and staple the opposite side in the same way. Do the same for the other two sides, then go to the interiors, following the order shown in the diagram. If you are stretching a very wide canvas, take more steps to stretch the canvas properly.


Once the canvas is stretched, fold the corners and staple them to the back of the canvas as in the photo above. 

Once this is done, do not hesitate to add staples between the various points previously fixed, in order to complete the tour of the frame, and thus to consolidate the table.


And there you have it, your painting on canvas is mounted on its frame, all you have to do is hang it on the wall!


To do this, provide yourself with (...)

Maintenance of your canvas


Retension a canvas mounted on its frame

Your canvas will relax over the years, this due to several factors: relaxation of the fibers of the canvas, the wood will play depending on the humidity, etc.

It is then enough to retighten it thanks to the small keys located behind. A frame key consists of 2 small pieces of wood located at each corner of the board.

Take a small wooden mallet, or a small hammer, and lightly tap each key, corner by corner. Dose your effort, and take it easy, taking care to distribute the tension, the keys, once fitted, cannot be removed. When the canvas is sufficiently stretched, stop. It is neither necessary nor advisable to give too much tension to a canvas, otherwise it could deform the frame.

Note: there are inexpensive keyless frames. You cannot re-tension the canvas with these, except by taking it apart and stapling it again.


Clean up your board

You should know that the most resistant part of your painting is… the paint. Cleaning a painting because it has gathered dust, the humidity in the room has caused foam to form or for any other reason is not a problem.


Bring: a small bowl of lukewarm water, a clean white cotton cloth, and Marseille soap. Lightly dampen the fabric, and rub it a little bit on the Marseille soap - the painting is not there for taking a bath!


Then gently rub the areas to be cleaned, without pressing, and let dry.


Maintain your table

The method which is in my opinion the best is the one used by painting restorers. However, do not use it more often than necessary.


Make a mixture of 50% rectified linseed oil and 50% turpentine. Linseed oil revives colors and nourishes the painting while gasoline cleans paint without damaging it.


Apply the mixture to the canvas with a cotton cloth, rubbing gently, without pressing. Once the mixture has been applied to the entire canvas, dry it with a very fine and very dry cloth, always cotton, and always carefully.

© Copyright 1996-2023 Paul Oeuvre Art inc.
Votes: 4.8 / 5 based on 9383 comments.