Friday, January 27, 2012

Easy stretching

I normally like to paint on a flat surface, but sometimes stretching the fabric is the best option.
It can be super easy & cheap to make a frame that's easily adjustable and can work for a lot of sizes and any material.
Get 2 pieces of wood (these are 1x2's)- length needs to be longer than your biggest fabric measurement- and lay them parallel to each other- as far apart as the shorter measurement of your fabric.
In the photo, these are the east to west pieces.

 Lay 2 pieces of wood on the top to act as crossbars- these are actually plant stakes, you can use 1x1's or more 1x2's.......these are NOT going to be under the fabric, so make sure they are further apart than your widest fabric measurement.

 screw them together in all 4 corners, 2 screws are good to have to prevent the thing from tweaking.
 ok, now flip it over- we are going to attach the fabric to the 2 long sides.
It's good to rinse out your material and let it dry first, any organic material will absorb water and then shrink as it it dries- even PFD.
 ok, now staple your material to one long side, then stretch it over to the other long side and staple it.
Notice how the crossbars underneath are outside of the fabric area.
 I put the staples in loosely, it's a lot easier to remove them when done.  There are special long metal silk painter push pins that they use that are worth getting if you do this a lot.
If you need additional stretching on the ends, it's easy to pin a piece of scrap material and then loosely staple it to the crossbars.
ready for painting!
 BTW, elmer's blue glue gel works great as a resist.  Just remember to let paint cure before rinsing out, a week is ok, 2 is better.
I usually do the painting outside with the stretcher on a couple of sawhorses.  If you're using a table, remember to prop it up at the corners to prevent the middle from sagging and touching the table.
It will most likely drip in the middle, be prepared.
happy painting!


  1. that probably woukd have been the better solution.....definitely cheaper and quicker. i ended up with pvc that i cut in 2' lengths and then butted them with couplers, elbows in the corners. the fabric is strteched in the middle of the frame (in this case 4'x8') and held with alligator clips on elastic. on the plus side, it breaks down to 2', so its easy to pack :)

  2. Nice neat solution to the problem and it is great to have it so adjustable too.