How to Stretch a Canvas using Stretcher Bars

Learn how to stretch inkjet canvas using stretcher bars. Using high quality slotted Stretcher Bars or Stretcher Profiles in Lengths can make canvas production more efficient and helps you to deliver a consistently high quality finished canvas. Carefully selected timber and sophisticated processes used by our manufacturer means that our bars slot neatly together and our profiles in lengths are straight and knot-free - giving minimal wastage.

Watch the video guide here.

  • How to stretcher a canvas with stretcher bars

    1) Assemble four stretcher bar pieces by pushing the corners together and knocking them into place with a soft headed hammer.

  • Measuring the diagonals of the stretcher bars

    2) Make sure the frame is square. Measure from corner to corner, the measurements of both diagonals should match. If not, tap the corners slightly, measuring as you go. Continue to tap the corners until the measurements match.

  • Canvas alignment gauge

    3) If using a canvas alignment gauge to help you position and mark out a printed canvas ready for trimming and stretching gallery style onto stretcher bars.

    Cut from notch 1, then notch 2, then cut along the diagonal.

  • Remove the excess canvas

    4) Repeat step 3 for each corner then remove the excess canvas. Flip the canvas onto its front, locate the small cuts made in step 3, and draw lines between the cuts. This will help to align the stretcher frame.

  • Staple along the canvas to fit into stretcher bars

    5) Place the stretcher bar frame down on the back of the canvas, aligning it with the lines drawn in step 4. Fold one end of the canvas over the stretcher bar and use a staple gun to fire staples to fit the canvas in place. Start with the middle area and fire staples at a 45° angle. Don't fire staples too close the stretcher frame corner, keep them central.

  • Secure the canvas to the stretcher bar frame

    6) On the opposite side, grip the canvas in the middle with stretcher pliers. Pull down to tension the canvas, then staple as before. Repeat this process for all edges.

  • Grip and tension the print canvas

    7) Grip and staple the canvas between the middle and sides. Space the staples approximately 50mm apart, leaving 70mm space at each end. Continue this process for all sides.

  • Hold the corners of the stretched canvas

    8) Stretch the canvas over the corners by pulling down on one edge while holding the other against the frame. Fold the canvas in half and pull it back around the back of the stretcher frame.

  • Staple along the canvas

    9) Keep the corner fold tight and staple the canvas to the frame. Take care not to staple over the join of the stretcher bars. By stapling the join it removes the option of retensioning of the canvas. Repeat steps 8 & 9 for all 4 corners.

  • Fit CWH Hangers to the back of the frame

    10) Finish the back of the canvas by trimming away the excess and applying brown self-adhesive tape to the back. This makes the back neat and tidy, covering staples and folded corners.

    Apply CWH Hangers to hang the canvas.

  • Fit wedges to retension the stretched frame

    11) Add Foam Bumpers to the bottom corners of the stretched canvas. Push wedges into the corners of the stretcher bar frame, these are used to retension the canvas in future.