If you’re like us here at Breathing Color, you’re very hands on with your fine art business. With everything from printing to framing, you’ve seen and done it all.
And yet, mistakes are made.
One of the most common areas of frustration for printmakers is canvas sagging, either during the framing process or weeks or even months later.
We’ve addressed these concerns so many times, we thought we’d compile our best lessons into one post. This post.
Here’s a handy guide to canvas stretching that will help you avoid canvas sag.
1. Pay Attention to the Weave
Horizontal sag is most common, typically across the canvas weave.
For example, a 17″ x 30″ printed with the weave going across (horizontal) can tend to sag in the 30″ direction. So take note of the direction of your weave when framing.
2. Staple the Long Sides First
Staple a clean line on the longest side and then move to the opposite side and staple a clean line. This will help spread the tension evenly.
In a 24″ x 48″ piece, you would start with the 48″ side, then move to the OPPOSITE 48″ side, not around the edge of the frame.
3. Add Cross Bars After Wrapping
Instead of adding cross bars (B) as you frame and tighten, or adding a single bar, a good way to avoid sag is adding these after the frame is fully wrapped, stapled, and glued.
This will force the last little bit of loosened canvas to pull in and keep tight.
Also, tapping in corner keys (A) very well after framing will add even more tension.
4. Use Archival Glue
Putting a bead of archival glue on the stretcher bars as you set that edge on the frame helps to keep it all even and flat on the front of the frame.
This does depend on the type of stretcher bars you use, if there’s an inset lip (see image above) then it should work.
Consider adding this to your workflow if you don’t already.
5. Work in a High Humidity Environment
If you can stretch/frame in a humid environment, the canvas takes in this humidity and relaxes even more.
This will then give you an even tighter stretch as it’s moved into drier environments and shrinks up again.
We are here to help
Now that you’ve looked through our tips, don’t forget our tech and color support specialists!
Let us help you deliver the best experience with your stretched canvas prints! Learn more about your options for stretching canvas prints