Originally Posted by Jaysen
2. Nice sturdy stretcher bars are very expensive (up to 9-10 dollars a piece and you need 4 of them for a work).
I don't see a flag so I don't know where you live or what "dollars" you're using, but "9-10 dollars apiece" implies you're working in large sizes that require heavy-duty bars judging by prices in USA catalogs.
There are threads in the forums (try Studio Tips) for making one's own stretcher bars, but here is another solution I've used in the past.
For less than you're paying ($36-40 for the stretchers) you can buy hollow-core doors at a builder supply outlet (if you live in the USA). These come in various widths, and the length is easy to adjust by simply sawing off what you don't want and adding a "trim piece" to finish off the cuts. These doors are lightweight and rigid and make excellent supports for canvas in place of traditional stretchers. In fact, you can paint right onto the plywood panel if so desired, without using a canvas. And because the doors are about an inch and a half thick, they make a good-looking gallery wrap presentation.