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Need Advice On Mounting/stretching A Canvas Painting

Posted by: Jim Hughes on 04/21/2013 - 5:49 PM

A friend recently went to Havana and bought a painting from an artist on the street, which he gave to me. It's an unstretched/unmouted canvas which was just rolled up for transit. I know nothing about paint but I assume it's acrylic.

While this painting probably isn't very valuable, I like it and want to hang it - but simply, and without spending much money. What should I do? Make a wooden frame and staple the painting to it, stretching it enough to make it flat? Or is there some easier mounting/framing system?


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Michelle Calkins on 04/21/2013 - 5:52 PM

Have it mounted to gatorboard at your local's a stiff backing that is light like foamcore, but won't bow like foamcore's a great way to get something on the wall without spending a ton~

Gatorboard is not archival, but is much more firm than foamboard and is ideal for mounting art that will be displayed without a frame or in an uncontrolled environment.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 04/21/2013 - 5:57 PM


You can make your own frames and then staple the canvas and end up with a "gallery wrap" which I what I usually do or buy these sides from any art supply store:

They just snap together and so you buy a pair of 16" and a pair of 20" sides and you're done. The better ones have a wider profile on the sides, maybe 1 1/2" or so. For larger stuff, I use the white "brick moulding" from Lowe's or Home Depot, 26 x 40 or bigger,



Posted by: Jim Hughes on 04/21/2013 - 5:58 PM

@Michelle Thanks for that tip. By 'mount' you mean the shop would literally glue it to the gatorboard? Would that necessarily be permanent? I wouldn't want to limit its future value - who knows, the artist might become famouns :-)


Posted by: Jim Hughes on 04/21/2013 - 6:01 PM

@Rich If I do that myself can I safely 'hand stretch' it to get it flat?


Posted by: Michelle Calkins on 04/21/2013 - 6:02 PM

At my frameshop we use an archival tissue which is placed between the painting and the is then put into a vacuum heat press. It is a reversible technique. We have found that many time these type of paintings don't have enough canvas left around them to restretch and MANY times they are not even close to being in these cases the gatorboard is a good way to go. But stretching it around stretchers would be prefered if it can be done.

You have to find the proper tension when pulling it tight so as not to crack the paint, but that is tight enough to remove the wrinkles/waviness.


Posted by: Jim Hughes on 04/21/2013 - 6:15 PM

It has a half inch border, is roughly 16x20 and close to square, but not perfect. Not sure I want to risk stretching it and maybe not getting a good result. But if it's mounted on gatorboard, I'd have to cover the half inch white border somehow. I don't know where to get frame moulding with a rabbet that deep so I'd need to mat it I guess.


Posted by: Michelle Calkins on 04/21/2013 - 6:27 PM

we would sometimes cut the gator to the image size and then after mounting wrap and tape the rest of the canvas around the edge of the gator to the's kind of like a mini gallery wrap.

you could then mount a wood block or wooden frame cut smaller than the 16x20 (that wouldn't be seen from the sides) to the back to get a cool floating look off the wall....


Posted by: Jim Hughes on 04/21/2013 - 6:40 PM

@Michelle Yes, something like that would be good. I'll ask at a shop. I think if I tried to stretch/staple it to a frame myself, I'd probably get a mediocre result and even if it looked ok intitially it would loosen up over time.


Posted by: Michelle Calkins on 04/21/2013 - 6:43 PM

yes, that happens with re-stretched canvases...


This discussion is closed.