My first canvas stretching

Friday, 31 July 2009 18:07 by salim

Shobha has been bugging me to stretch one of her paintings for sometime now. Actually, more than one. But since I have not done that in my life before, I was a bit apprehensive. Even though she loves me dearly, tearing or damaging one of her favorite paintings could be intense.

She is getting ready to go to Virginia for a show and I had no excuse for procrastinating it further. So, today evening, I mustered all my courage and started on the painting.

The stretch bars were already here, we bought it a few months ago. I was actually trying to find something very thin to stretch, but apparently there are no such products readily available. Bob The Builder, my remodeling contractor (more about him in another post) suggested some weird contraption using steel or aluminum bars and channels etc. But, i was not convinced.

So, the first task was to assemble the frame. It was funny and a bit frustrating. Since I did not want my first frame should be crooked, I started carefully making sure that the corners were perfect 90 degrees. However, like any other frame, the moment I got one corner right, all other corners would become crooked, almost defying laws of geometry. Finally I got the trick. I just made sure that one corner is nicely flushed, got a square, made sure that there is no space even for a hair between the square and the frame and splasch. There goes the stapler. Guess what, it went in smoothly.

The first time I used that stapler for fixing my rig table, I had hard time pushing the staples through the wood. This was an old kitchen counter and probably had a harder wood. The frame was, on the other hand quite soft. The staple went in like knife in butter. (Every time I hear that saying, I think about cutting butter that I just took out from the freezer. Since we shop at BJs, and we are not Buttertons, we have to keep our butter in the freezer).

To my utter amazement, the rest of the corners behaved so well once I stapled the first one. May be they realized that resistance is futile.

Now comes the stretching part. I am well versed in the theory of the process, but it is always hard to translate it into practice. Following the instructions, I finished the four points, and then eight. Just to check it, lifted the painting and it is sagging like… something that sags liberally. That is when I remembered. There is a pliers that is specifically designed for stretching canvas. Shobha of course had it. So, I started stretching and stapling. Naturally, i had to take out the original staples as they were causing wrinkles. It was easy at first, but towards the end, the stapler was getting harder and harder to press.

I had no idea how to fold the corners correctly. So Shobha like a master showed me how it is done. I still dont know how, but I will call her again the next time we do it. She will be our official Corner Folder.

After the final staple, I attached the hanging hooks and wire and lifted it up, expecting something to horribly go wrong. It was perfect. Taught, crisp… beautiful painting. Here is it


It is called the Three Singers. I love the painting, especially the singers. I definitely scored a point today!

If you want to see more of Shobha’s paintings, visit her online galleries here and here.

Tags:   ,
Categories:   Shobha
Actions:   E-mail | | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed