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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Martinez

DIY: How to Stretch a Canvas

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

Alison Wong, the mastermind behind Butter Projects in Royal Oaks Michigan, leads us through the process of building a canvas.

You'll need:

  • a table saw

  • a miter saw

  • stretcher bars

  • glue

  • clamps

  • a screwdriver

  • screws

  • raw canvas

  • scissors

  • a staple gun

  • gesso primer

Step 1.) On a table saw, rip lumber at a 15 degree angle down the length of board.

Step 2.) On a miter saw, make 45 degree cuts on the ends of your framing pieces.

Step 3.) Glue, clamp, and screw together all four sides of your stretcher bars.

Step 4.) If necessary cut, glue, clamp, and screw cross braces on the interior of your frame.

Step 5.) Measure and cut enough raw canvas to wrap around your stretchers.

Step 6.) Stretch and staple canvas to the frame – beginning in the center and working your way around, alternating from opposite sides. Fold corners and staple.

Step 7.) The canvas is now ready to be primed with gesso.

Step 8.) Once the primer has dried, you're ready to start painting.

Several years ago, Alison was on a mission to expand her art studio in the Detroit area, and soon realized how many empty store fronts were available. This opened her mind to the possibility of finding a location to accommodate her needs and then some.

That’s when Butter Projects began. It’s a place for Alison to do her own work, host exhibitions, events, discussions, etc. This open door to the community has done a great deal of exposing the area to the arts. The Butter Projects has sparked dialogue and brought folks together.

Alison's detailed paintings and drawings revolve around love. She incorporates “imagery of animals, environments, and objects from popular culture that are suggestive of and stand-ins for two lovers.” Love drives Alison’s artwork and the artists outreach she does in her community.

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