Building Your Own Stretched Canvas Prints

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Building Your Own Stretched Canvas Prints

Building and designing your personal space involves a lot of ingenuity, confidence and research, not to mention the monetary or time expenses involved and when canvas prints are involved, there are definitely numerous ways to create outstanding pieces. In general there exists two options, the quick and laidback online route which brings with it a lot of options and services at competitive costs or the more hands-on approach with its somewhat competitive cost, time consumption, relative ease (with the internet to help) and the “looming fear of failure”

There are no right or wrong routes with respect to designing your personal space; should you belong to the category of people that are constantly on the move; at work or at home with little or no time to spare for such luxuries as DIY projects; the first route would definitely be more appealing as it shifts all the burden of designing, materials purchase and production to the “professionals”, thus allowing for little or no room for errors. In contrast, should you be a more relaxed person, constantly seeking ways to leave a personal mark on your space or personally design and produce admirable products, the DIY route is definitely for you, therefore we at believe we should support your design interest by providing you with an in-depth article on how to create your own stretched canvas print art.

To begin with as you know, a canvas print or canvas prints is basically an aggregation of two words, namely the canvas (the stretched material held in place by a wooden frame, on which the print lies) and the print (the graphic image that is to be reproduced or represented on the surface of your canvas). Over the years, various forms of canvases have been developed with varying functionalities, however they each serve the same purpose and for the purpose of our article, you can either create your own canvas, or you can walk into a departmental store such as Goodwill and buy one of (16 X 20) for about $10, however endeavour to purchase UV resistant canvases

To create your own DIY canvas, you need some basic tools and a nice guide such as this.

Tools: 1/2” Nails, 1X1 Wood (length dependent on your expected frame perimeter), hammer or electric nail press, piece of thick matt cotton cloth, Pencil,


1) Measure two (2) lengths of your desired frame length on the 1X1 wood and cut using a saw.

2) Measure and cut two lengths of your desired frame width minus two inches (width – 2) to serve as your width.

3) Using your try square to ensure accurate right angles within your frame, place the end of one width stick against the end of one length stick, fasten this joint axially using a nail and hammer

4) Fix the second width in a similar manner to the opposite end of that same length piece. Fastening all edges securely with nails.

5) Placing the canvas matt over the surface of the frame, use your discretion and a pencil to mark out the amount of area to effectively cover the entire frame surface and create a wrap behind.

6) Fastening and stretching one neat edge of the cloth unto the corresponding edge of the frame with gum, wrap an inward fold, avoiding all wrinkles along the edges, repeat the process for the entire frame.


The next phase of your DIY project is deciding what type or technique of canvas printing you require. The general tools needed are: Mod Podge, Soft Brush, Canvas Foam rollers, neat piece of cloth and image to be transferred.


Common Techniques

1) Mounting an Image on canvas (with optional texture)

This is the easiest technique as it involves little or no technical capabilities, basically it has the following steps:

  • Choose the image to be mounted while in the soft format, ensure the image is as professional as possible and has been retouched to attain high contrast level and image quality, for better aesthetics when printed.
  • After image selection, proceed to printing and be sure to print the images on photo lab paper and not on banner paper, to allow for better transfer. Also, print the image to a size that is slightly larger than your canvas.
  • Apply a layer of mod podge to the canvas top surface, and while wet, place your photo top side up on the wet mod podge imbued surface. Centre and straighten the image to align with the frame using the foam rollers to allow all air bubbles escape from the edges.
  • Place the canvas-photo setting upside down on a flat surface and place some smooth surfaced materials on the inside of the frame to allow easy setting and adherence.
  • After this setting is dried and using your scissors, trim away all excesses photo, then flip the image to its front surface.
  • At this point, you should apply a thick layer of Mod podge to the surface of your photo, using your soft brush to make long neat strokes across the surface.
  • To add texture to this art, you would place the neat piece of cloth over the surface of the mod podge wetted photo, smoothening out all wrinkles. After a few minutes, remove the cloth briskly before the podge cures to reveal an artificial texture on the canvas surface.
  • Hang your beautiful piece conspicuously.


2) Transferring a print to canvas.

For non-commercial DIY canvas prints, transferred print canvases are a viable option as it can be achieved via using readily available resources such as a regular inkjet printer image and the same set up in 1) above and the steps involved in its production are stated chronologically below:

  • After selecting the image to be printed and the gathering the required tools, it is needful to ensure the image is retouched to allow for high contrast and photo quality.
  • The next step is to coat the top surface of the canvas in a layer of Mod Podge using your foam brush.
  • With its face downward, gently place the printed image on the Mod Podge drenched surface, centring and adjusting the image to allow for utmost alignment and adherence.
  • Afterwards, use your hand to gently smoothing the image out, trying to eliminate all errors or air bubbles. Then wait for the image to dry.
  • After drying, use a damp sponge or the tip of your fingers to gently remove layers of the paper that exist on the canvas surface. Repeat this process till all the pieces of the paper is removed.
  • Apply an additional layer of mod podge to the surface of the revealed canvas to protect it from decomposition and fading.
  • Once dry, carefully hang your artwork to reveal its beauty.


3) Canvas printing

This form of printing is more commercial in nature, and although the global supply outweighs demand due to the low entry cost and relative ease owed to the internet. This form of printing involves huge equipment and expertise, such as Photoshop, Lightstudio, and quality control capable of replicating images with laser sharp precision. If you do not have a minimum of $1000 to invest in a printing machine and or the necessary Photoshop and printing expertise to pull this off, it is professionally advisable to outsource printing to online sites like, however should you be interested in making such huge commitments, here are the procedures:

1) Select the right Printer

There are specific printers that have been designed to handle printing on canvasses, with sharper cutters and the ability to handle such heavy duty jobs on a commercial scale. The ability to select the right printer ensures the right print quality is attained, although they are designed to produce images on canvas that are highly visible from a great distance, they aren’t dpi (dots per inch) specific. It is also important to choose the more renowned and trustworthy brands like Hp and Epson that already have established reputations and support networks.

2) Select the right inks

Most canvas print inks are pigment based and have been specifically designed to offer amazing features such as water resistance and UV resistance, thus ensuring the images remain visible years after printing, some even go as far as offering perpetual resistance to UV radiation (sunlight).

3) Select your photo

The picture selected should have effectively illuminated details that would appear conspicuous on large prints and not pixelate when enlarges. It should preferably be professional shots to highlight the

4) Retouch your photo: Using suitable software, ensure the pictures are retouched to conceal flaws, blur out distractions and highlight prominent details, while achieving aesthetic balance and brilliance.

5) Using the computer, adjust the properties to coincide with the preferred size of the canvas.

6) Appropriately feed the canvas fabric into the printer; this should be in tandem with the print direction of the printer, whether it prints topside up or otherwise.

7) Wait for the canvas to dry, while prepping your hardware resources to incorporate your frame and canvas fabric together.

8) After drying, stretch and fasten the fabric to the frame, using the steps sated similar to those in creating your own canvas. The stretching should avoid all signs of sagging and all forms of wrinkles and the image should be centred to avoid waste.


Considering the amount of information presented in this article, we hope it is easy to ascertain what form of canvas print technique appeals to you personally. All these prints can be completed in a little less than a few hours, particularly the photo mounting technique because it involves fewer and easier processes. For the full-blown canvas printing, it should be note that innovative firms such as have taken it upon ourselves to cater for the growing need to immortalize our experiences, events and loved ones through canvas prints, offering various range of solutions to meet this demand. Our range of products run from table top sizes to over 30X30 sizes that would effectively create a presence in any room it is mounted. We also help our clients boycott all aspects of the production process such as retouching, selections, printing and logistics, thereby easing their artistic projects and we look forward to working with you.

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