How To Stretch Canvas After Painting

If you have ever dealt with a canvas that was already painted, you understand the difficulty of stretching it without causing harm to the artwork. This guide will lead you through each step, guaranteeing that your masterpiece stays in its original condition.

Materials You’ll Need

  • Canvas pliers
  • Stretcher bars
  • Staple gun and staples
  • A clean, flat surface


Step 1: Preparing the Work Area

Start by clearing and cleaning your workspace to ensure there’s no debris that could potentially harm your artwork. Layout your canvas on the surface with the artwork facing down.

Step 2: Assembling the Stretcher Frame

Next, assemble your stretcher bars into a frame. Make sure the corners are square and the frame is rigid. The size of the frame should be slightly smaller than the size of your canvas.

Step 3: Latching Onto the Canvas

With canvas pliers, latch onto the edge of the canvas. The canvas should be gripped tightly but not so much as to leave a mark or dent on the canvas.

Step 4: Stapling the Canvas

Pull the canvas over the edge of the frame and staple it in the middle of one side. Repeat this for each side, rotating the canvas each time. This is to ensure the tension is evenly distributed around the canvas.

Step 5: Finishing Up

Continue to stretch and staple the canvas, working your way out from the center towards the corners of each side. The canvas should be taut but not overly tight as to warp the frame or damage the painting. Once done, trim any excess canvas.

Following these simple steps will allow you to successfully stretch a pre-painted canvas with minimal risk to your artwork. The key here is to be patient and gentle in handling your canvas throughout the process.


Stretching a painted canvas may seem daunting, but with the right tools and a bit of patience, you can do it yourself without compromising the integrity of your artwork. Remember, the process is just as much an art as painting itself. Happy stretching!