Stretching and framing a painting on canvas.

Many people bring souvenirs home from a holiday in the form of a painting on canvas.

In this article, we would like to suggest the best way of framing your canvas to ensure you get many years of enjoyment from your chosen piece.

The first thing to do is to explore having your canvas stretched. This involves your framer making up a square / rectangle frame from a specially manufactured "stretcher bar". The timber is finger-jointed in stages along the length of the bar to provide stability and strength under pressure.

Finger Joints                                                     Canvas wrap                                                              Float frame

The canvas is then stretched around the frame using a special tool which grips the edge of the canvas and exerts an even pressure on the canvas all the way around. Then the canvas is stapled at the back of the bar where they are unseen from the front.

Once this stage has been completed, you may like to hang it on the wall just as it is, or you can go ahead and put a frame around it.

There is a special frame available called a "float frame". This is a moulding specially manufactured to accommodate your stretched canvas. It fits around the outside of the stretcher and provides a small gap between the canvas and the inside of the frame, so that the visual effect is one of the canvas "floating" within the surrounding frame.

Another feature of this style of framing is that the canvas is not closed across the back, but rather, it is left open to the air in order for the canvas to breathe.

Allowing the canvas to breathe minimizes the growth of mildew and mould and the main reason not to generally put canvas under glass.

This treatment adds another finishing layer to your piece, whereby the sides of the canvas are not left exposed, but covered by the frame, which gives a more refined effect when hanging on the wall.

Some tips when buying a painting on canvas on your overseas holiday;

1 Ensure that the painting is on real canvas and not on thin cotton calico. Calico will tear when stretched and the paint is liable to crack due to the fact that the fabric has not been primed before painting.
2. Look for a sufficient border around the sides of the image to provide enough canvas to wrap around the sides of the stretcher. About 60mm on all sides would be sufficient to accommodate any size of stretcher bar.
3. Ask if the artist has primed the canvas before painting, as this step helps with the stability of the paint-work and its ultimate longevity.
4. On returning home bring your souvenir to us for professional advice and treatment, and enjoy the memories of your holiday for many years to come!

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Thank you for completing yet another 'superb' job.

Katrina Anderson
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