The Acrylic Painting Academy – Stretching Canvas

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"The Acrylic Painting Academy" is designed to provide beginner and intermediate artists with a complete learning experience on painting with acrylics through "easy to digest" modules consisting of video demonstrations and accompanying ebooks.

Description: A step by step look at stretching and preparing canvas for painting.

Suggested Materials: Unprimed canvas roll, stretcher bars (4), Gesso, Gesso brush (polyester fibers) or sponge, staple gun, staples, scissors.

Next Module: Direct Painting Part 1


Every demo above is included (and more not pictured.)


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The Acrylic Painting Academy – Stretching Canvas — 7 Comments

  1. matt,
    1.what unprime canvas recommended (cotton,linen-white/gray,)and from company? many layers of gesso recommended? do you recommend sanding inbetween?
    3.generally,about how large a frame you recommend the use of stretching plyiers?

    • Hi Linda and Raquel,
      Sorry I missed this one before…

      1. It depends. If you want a textured surface that will accept the paint a little easier, then go with cotton. If you want a very smooth surface, perhaps for a portrait, then go with the linen. For most raw canvas, I haven’t found a huge variance in quality, so any brand will be fine.
      2. I would suggest applying as many layers as it takes to cover the raw canvas completely. Depending on how thinned the gesso is with water, it may take just a few or several layers.
      3. This also depends. If you can stretch things by hand then you don’t need the pliers. If it is difficult to stretch the canvas effectively, then pliers may be used. For me, anything above 18″ by 18″ or so and the pliers come out. Since I don’t usually create paintings that are large, I rarely need the pliers.

  2. This is exactly why I have stayed away from painting! If I don’t plan on selling paintings or becoming another Kahlo, is there anything really wrong with using already stretched and gessoed canvas?

    • Hi Maureen,

      No, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using pre-stretched and gessoed canvas. In fact, most of the surfaces that I use are purchased “pre-made” from an art supplier.

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