SOLVING THE GAP PROBLEM WHEN USING TRADITIONAL FRAMES WITH STRETCHED CANVAS
This content was written by ChromaZone Ink, Melbourne FL
Don’t you just hate that big gap between the back of a framed canvas and the wall, that is created when you use a traditional frame with canvas artwork? We do too! So we came up with a solution that looks phenomenal!
You Can Do It Yourself!
At ChromaZone Ink Canvas Printing we like sharing tips and tricks on fine art giclée printing finishes. Giclée printing on stretched canvas can present some problems if you want to display your art or photography in the standard frames that are found in most big box stores. Additional hardware is needed to secure the canvas to the inside of the frame and it can also stand out away from the wall as much as 3-4 inches depending on the depth of the stretcher bar frame used. Environmental changes are another factor to consider if you are an artist vendor selling at art shows. Canvas can loosen and sag due to temperature and humidity changes. There is a simple solution to both these issues that creates a more stable and economic approach to finishing your canvas, and it looks great!
In this article we will show you how to mount canvas to hardboard that will be recessed in most any conventional frame found in your local art supply or department store. No more having to put up with the wall gaps as shown in this image. Pictured here is a giclée on canvas stretched on 1.5″ deep stretcher bars, then framed. Note the distance the frame is offset from the wall due to the thickness of the stretcher bar frame. Even the 3/4″ deep stretcher bars would not allow a standard frame to hang flush to the wall.
Here is a list of the supplies needed to solve this problem:
- Neutral pH Fabric Adhesive. We used one by LINECO. If you can’t find some at your local art supply shop, you can get it online.
- High density foam roller kit
- Sandpaper or sanding block
- Hardboard or Masonite cut to the appropriate frame size
- Double-sided industrial tape
- Small rubber roller
- Straight edge
- Cutting mat
- Razor knife
- Dull pencil or embossing tool
- Your image printed on canvas. NOTE: For this project, the image should be approximately 1/4″ bigger on all 4 sides to allow enough image to wrap over the edges. So if your frame fits a 16″ x 20″ piece of hardboard, then its best to have your image printed at 16.5″ x 20.5″ size to allow for this.
1. Sand the face of the hardboard
This makes the surface more porous allowing the canvas and glue to bond better to the surface of the hardboard.
2. Wipe the hardboard clean with a damp towel
This cleans away the dust created by the sanding thus opening pores created on the surface.
3. Apply double-sided tape to the back of the hardboard
Use industrial grade tape acrylic adhesive tape. It needs to be strong enough to adhere the excess canvas to the back of the hardboard after it is folded over. You don’t have to worry about pH-balanced or acid free tape for this part since it’s on the back, but it certainly won’t hurt if you have it! Don’t remove that tape release paper from the tape yet!
4. Locate the Corners for Placement
This is an important step, as you need to identify the four corners on the back side of the canvas. We have a funny story about a team of engineers who developed formulas and grids to locate the precise corner location on the back of a canvas. Then we showed them this method. They didn’t like us for a short time, but then they were pretty happy to adopt our technique. Grab a sticky note pad, a pencil and a dull pencil or an embossing tool.
Center the board over the face of your canvas as shown. The canvas should be right-side UP so you can align it properly. Position the hardboard inside the image so there is approximately ¼ inch of image around the perimeter. This will be for overlap. You’re going to mark the backside of the canvas, to indicate the location where the 4 corners of the hardboard are in reference to the printed corner. If you have carbon paper, use it. We just make our own using a graphite pad using a pencil and a sticky-note pad.
5. Place Graphite Pad Under the Canvas
Center the middle area of the graphite pad under the canvas where the corner of the hardboard is. Using your dulled pencil, embossing tool or something that will not puncture the canvas, apply pressure at the point of the hardboard, and hold the point in place while you slide the pad out from underneath. This will leave a corner mark on the back side of the canvas. Repeat this step for all four corners of the hardboard. The result will be 4 graphite dots on the back of the canvas.
6. Begin the gluing process
Pour a generous amount of the pH fabric adhesive into the paint tray and evenly soak the high density foam roller. Apply liberal amounts of adhesive to the hardboard spreading it evenly with the high density foam roller. Be sure to coat the entire surface and eliminate all pooling. No need to hurry, the working time for this glue is several hours.
7. Place the canvas atop the glued hardboard
Align the corners of the canvas that you marked earlier to the corners of the hardboard making sure to maintain that ¼ inch border part of the printed image so it will overlap the hardboard when folded over. Place the canvas over the hardboard and roll out evenly with a rubber roller. If you would prefer to work from the back of the canvas you can do so by aligning the corners of the hardboard to the marks previously applied with the graphite or carbon paper.
8. Expose tape and cut
Turn the canvas over and remove the release paper from the tape. Begin the corner trimming process using a straight edge ruler, cutting mat and a razor knife as shown below. Repeat the trimming procedure for the remaining 3 sides.
9. Fold the sides
Pull the first edge inward and press firmly from the edge of the hardboard toward the center in order to prevent air bubbles. Adhere the full length of the canvas side to the tape adhesive. Repeat this for the remaining three sides. Expect the hardboard to bow due to the moisture created by the glue. Don’t worry! It will flatten after drying has completed.
10. Cover & dry
Place a slightly oversized weighted board over the top and let dry for 24 hours. The canvas is now ready to place in a traditional, standard size frame of your choice!