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View Full Version : Any tips on stretching dried, painted canvas?


samhill
03-09-2007, 09:07 PM
In the near future I have to ship several of my wife's paintings in order to be photographed. They are too large to ship stretched, so she wants to paint on the un-stretched canvas, then roll it when dry, and ship it.

The question is are there special considerations on stretching this painted canvas once it's returned to us? I have heard, 'stretch it as soon as it's dry to touch', which unfortunately we wont be able to do...in fact, probably wont be able to stretch it till a good 2 weeks after it's dry enough to ship. Is that okay? Oh, and this will not be varnished till after it's stretched.

Any tips or special considerations I should be aware of?

Many thanks!

PS....Should unstretched canvas be temporarily stretched while painting on it? Or is it okay to keep it 'loose'?
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lmcneel
03-09-2007, 11:57 PM
My wife and I have a frame shop and we have come in fairly often with dry canvases to be stretched. They typically are either bought on vacation or they are Chinese paintings that can be bought fairly cheap.

My only suggestion is to stretch them loosly. If you pull too tight the paint film will crack - especially around the stretcher bars. Your wife is probably using good canvas that has been prepared properly so the cracking should be less of a problem than we experience with the Chinese paintings.

The other approach is to use GAC 100 or some other acrylic medium to "glue" them to a rigid backing. Masonite is a good choice, or lately I have been using plexiglass with good results.

gunzorro
03-10-2007, 02:34 AM
I would recommend stretching the canvas before painting, then removing. Afterward, the canvas can be restretched onto the same stretcher bars.
This process will be least stressful to the paint.
I have done it the other way for small paintings with thin paint. Tape the canvas to a board, paint, dry, then mount on proper size stretchers.
As mentioned by lmcneel, mounting on panels is an excellent idea for smaller pieces, but not for large ones.

tach
03-10-2007, 06:33 AM
they all react differently, linen and canvas seem to expand and contract due humidity even if stretched on a board whilst being painted ,depending on if they are thin or thick material. go with the thicker material for stability . pre-primed is best . best of all is stick canvas to a board asap rather than use stretchers .that way its held in place all over .

samhill
03-11-2007, 05:44 AM
Hello to all and I thank you very much for your input!
Just to be straight on this, if it's smaller canvas then one could glue this to massonite. Check. I like that idea. However, I've done the large massonite board thing (aprox 30x40") and it was a nightmare regarding warping.

So then if I have this right, my best bet on dealing with this larger canvas is to:
1) get thick, quality canvas
2) make sure it's pre-primed
3) stretch it onto stretcher bars
4) paint it and let 'er dry, remove it and ship
5) when it's returned from the photographer then restrectch on the same stretchers, but not quite as tight.

Does this sound about right?

Personally I dont like loose canvas, so how about spraying it on the back with water after stretching so that it tightens up?

Thanks again!

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gunzorro
03-11-2007, 12:44 PM
Basically you have it. But when stretching it to the same stretchers after its return, you can stretch it as tightly as it was originally.

Just to confuse things further -- another alternative for a flat piece you want don't want to mount to a board -- you can have your canvas sewn by its edges to a larger piece of canvas/linen/poly, then stretch this new double fabric normally, with only the new fabric backing being stapled or tacked to stretchers. Not hard to do, but care must be taken to do a good job of sewning and removing slack as you go before even attempting stretching.

samhill
03-11-2007, 11:45 PM
Basically you have it. But when stretching it to the same stretchers after its return, you can stretch it as tightly as it was originally.

Just to confuse things further -- another alternative for a flat piece you want don't want to mount to a board -- you can have your canvas sewn by its edges to a larger piece of canvas/linen/poly, then stretch this new double fabric normally, with only the new fabric backing being stapled or tacked to stretchers. Not hard to do, but care must be taken to do a good job of sewning and removing slack as you go before even attempting stretching.

Thank you, gunzorro! Good to know that the canvas can be stretched tight again. McNeel seemed to think this was not always wise (?), and hope he'll be so kind to share any experience he's had along those lines.

I have never heard of the sewing trick - lol. Artists are a very resourceful bunch indeed. I hope to never have to resort to that (sewing) but it's good to know that it can be done.

Hey, thank you again.....

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