I’ve stretched my own canvas for years and even used to teach an art class where the students would stretch their own too. It saves money big time and you have control of the dimensions. With just a few supplies, you’ll be ready to build one for yourself.
Here’s what you’ll need:
2×2’s: these come in 96″ lengths, so buy according to your dimensions. these are less than $3 a piece and I used two for mine that measured 30″x16″.
staple gun + staples
canvas : you can find this as “duck cloth” at the fabric store.
screws and screw gun
Make sure your saw is at 45 degree angle and cut each side of your 2×2 to the dimensions you’d like. the cuts should look like this below, on all 4 pieces, tapering in from top to bottom of cut.
Notice the angles on this next picture and how they all fit together.
Also note: because my frame is so small, there is no need for a middle brace. Anything bigger and you’ll need to cut a 2×2 bracing piece (just straight squared ends, not 45* mired) with the length of the distance from side to side to side measured on the inside.
Now you’ll screw it all together by off centering the screws so that you’ll get 2 screws in each joint. The below photo will illustrate this.
Once its all screwed together, lay out your canvas and put the frame over top.
Tack down one entire side before moving onto the others.
Now, move onto the opposite side. This next step is very important, try and pull as tight as you can exactly below the middle staple on the other side. You’ll see your canvas start to smooth out and stretch over the frame. get all the wrinkles out!
Once you have 1 or 2 staples on the opposite side, move to the next side and staple 1 or 2 directly in the center, pulling as tight as you can to release the slack in the canvas.
as you see in this next image, 1 side is completely tacked down and the other 3 sides are just pulled tightly in the middle. after this is complete, start pulling and stapling all the way around leaving some room at the corners.
Now cut down your canvas so its easier to work with. on to the corners!
Like you’re wrapping a present, pull one side into the other pulling it tight as shown below.
and then tuck up with the rest of it and staple (kind of hard to explain this step, hopefully the photos come across better.)
pro tip: Use 1×2’s to frame it! You can keep the wood natural, stain it or paint it like I did with this gold one back in 2015.