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How to Stretch Your Canvas

You can purchase canvas already stretched if you work in the stock sizes (8 x 10, 9 x 12, 12 x 16, 16 x 20, 20 x 24, and 24 x 30 inches).

If you want a special size, or prefer to do your own stretching, the process is fairly simple I will assume that you want to stretch a 20-x-24-inch canvas for the purpose of this guide.

Cut a piece of canvas 22 x 26 inches, which will give you a working edge of 1 inch all around the stretcher strips.

The strips are placed in a frame position, as square as possible.

Place the canvas so that the even 1-inch margin appears around the stretcher frame.

Ham­mer a tack partly in the center of each of the four sides.

Then, gripping the 1 inch edge with the pliers, hammer a tack on each side of the center (about 2 inches apart).

Re­peat this procedure until all four sides have three tacks.

Then keep adding more tacks, working from the center toward the corners, alternately on each side.

Gradually the canvas will be tacked along the side of the entire frame.

Until you get the knack of exactly how hard to pull the canvas with the pliers, just hammer the tacks in lightly.

Then if you should get any unwanted wrinkles you can easily remove the tacks, tighten the wrinkled area, and retack.

The wedges that come with the wooden stretchers can then be hammered into the corners to take up the slack.

Rokeby Venus, by Velazquez


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