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How to stretch and frame a paint by numbers canvas

Posted by Anne Mills on

Welcome to Paint Plot, we get so many requests about how to stretch and frame a paint by numbers canvas.  We have put together a step by step guide to help with this.

Feel free to bookmark this page so you can come back to the tips once you receive your paint by numbers kit.

We find the term ‘pre-stretched canvas’ can be a little confusing. If a canvas is pre-stretched that means that it is already on the frame. The process of folding and pinning the paint by numbers canvas to the frame is stretching and framing your canvas.

The frame is optional but we highly recommend purchasing it. Our kits arrive with your canvas rolled, not folded and a DIY frame, which you can put together using the instructions below.

Many customers have reported back to us that they were glad they chose to order the wooden frame as it gave them the opportunity to hang and display their amazing artwork.

A very important note, which we have included in our best paint by number guide for beginners.  Your canvas comes rolled and should be quite flat however, sometimes it can get wrinkled during shipping etc. 

If this happens, before starting turn your canvas face down, place a light cloth over it and with a warm iron, iron over it very lightly to diminish the wrinkles.

Please view our video first and then we will go through the process step by step with you.

Step 1. Gather everything you need.  Canvas, wooden frame, thumbtacks, scissors, tape measure and marking pen.

 framing step 1

Step 2. As you can see we have already painted the canvas.  You can choose from a few options.  From our experience stretching and or framing the canvas before painting is best if you are using an easel to keep it steady. 

This makes the canvas a little easier to relocate if you decide you want to work indoors somedays and outdoors on others. 

Painting the canvas first and stretching/framing later means you have a flat, hard surface to work on. If you do decide on this option, make sure you tape the corners with masking tape onto a flat clean surface, to keep it from moving.

Alternatively you can tape or tack your canvas to a piece of foam board. This gives you the option of framing/stretching later, using a table or hard surface sometimes or the choice of painting on an easel as well.

Step 3. After unwrapping the frame and thumbtacks put the tacks to one side. The frame has four pieces, two long and two short. 

The frame is pre-cut with groves to make it easy to assemble without the use of glue or nails. Take one short piece and one long piece and push together, then repeat the process until the frame is complete.

framing step 3

Step 4. Place the canvas face up on a flat surface and manoeuvre the frame to required position on the canvas. Using a tape measure, check diagonally from outside corners of the frame and then check the opposite diagonal to make sure the frame is square.

framing step 4 framing step 4.2

Step 5. Lift each corner of the canvas and mark where the four corners of the frame are located on the canvas.

framing step 5 

Step 6. Remove the frame and turn the canvas face down, then align the frame with the marks from Step 5.

framing step 6 

Step 7. Starting from the centre of the longest side of the frame, lift the canvas over the frame and anchor with thumbtacks. Repeat on all sides with three thumbtacks in each section.

framing step 7

Step 8. Using a sharp pair of scissors make one cut in each corner. Make sure you cut in the same line as the frame (check video). Then fold over and tack the two corner pieces together.

 framing step 8.1framing step 8.2

Step 9. Your canvas is ready to either start painting or hang on the wall.

framing step 9 

We hope these instructions on how to frame and stretch a canvas have been helpful. Our favourite thing is to see your artwork displayed, so don’t forget to share with the Paint Plot Community.

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