My First Art Opening

The painting continues...time is moving quickly these days...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Making a Canvas

Well, it has been a while since I have posted. This past weekend I got a bee in my bonnet about making a large canvas.
To buy a 4' x 4' canvas would cost me over $100 and I wanted to do it for under $20.
I purchased a 5' x 6' piece of unprimed canvas for $11 at a local art store. The wood stretcher bars that you can buy cost around $15 for each 4' section, which would cost $60 just for the stretcher.
That was too much bread so I went over to the Portland rebuilding center and found some wood trim that makes a nice stretcher edge (I have done this before). The salvaged wood only cost me $6! Nice, but I will need to fabricate the stretcher.

Here is the profile of the wood trim. It has a nice edge that the canvas can stretch over without making too much contact. The trim is also real wood, which makes it lighter and stronger than MDF.
I cut the trim into 4' sections using my chop saw.

I used by biscuit cutter to joint the pieces together. The biscuit cutter is a power tool atht can cut slots into adjoining pieces of wood to allow a wood "biscuit" to fit into each slot, joining the pieces together.

I used glue to hold the pieces together. A metal square is used to true up the frame.
The wood trim that I used has a big cross section and probably would work without braces, but since I had all the equipment out, I figured it would be better to be safe than sorry.
I had some extra wood pieces in my garage that I cut with 45 degree angles and again used the biscuit cutter to join them to the frame. Now I have a solid stretcher frame to stretch the canvas over

The camera makes the frame looked bowed, but it is very true and square.
Then I waited for the glue to dry and stretched the new canvas over the frame.
Then a prime the canvas with three coats of Gesso and I have a big 4' x 4' canvas for less than $20. Ok, so I have all the tools and some extra primer, but I still think that this counts as a money saver. I did spend about three hours making the thing. I did have enough wood to make an extra 2' x 2' stretcher. I should have thought ahead and got one more yard of canvas, but I can get that anywhere for a low price.

Hmm, now I have to find something to paint!

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