How to Preserve Your Canvas Artwork

From “Rolled” to “Wall”

Rolling a canvas makes for easy travel…

But how do you display it once you’ve reached your destination?

Step 1: Unroll It

Bring your rolled canvas to your custom framer, or wait to unroll it yourself when you are ready to proceed with next steps.  Though rolling a canvas is a good protective transportation and storage method, it is may not be the best long term solution for your art.  Consider the medium of the artwork and the environment in which you will store it.  Canvas is a natural material and is affected by its surrounding environment, so consider the temperature, moisture, exposure to sunlight and more prior to storing a rolled canvas for an extended period of time.

Step 2: Stretch It

The next step to displaying a canvas is to stretch it.  This means pulling it at its sides to wrap it around a frame, allowing the image can be seen without waves or wrinkles.

To preserve the canvas, a natural material (wood) is used to create a frame, around which the canvas can be stretched.  Once pulled around the wood, the canvas is secured to the frame, usually with staples.

The most popular wrapping styles are a Standard Wrap and a Gallery Wrap.

Step 3: Wrap It

TIP:  Ask your custom framer which wrapping style is best for your canvas. 

THE STANDARD WRAP:  With this technique, the canvas is stretched around the frame such that the full image is visible straight-on.  A standard wrap is best if important details of the image lye at its border.

THE GALLERY WRAP:  The canvas is stretched around a slightly smaller frame, such that the painted area of the canvas is seen on straight-on, as well as the four sides of the frame.  With this style, you may lose up to two inches of front-on image.

A standard wrap is customary.  Go with this style because it will keep your canvas stretched and secure, and also lend itself to a decorative frame of your choosing. 

Do you want to forego a decorative exterior frame?  You may prefer a gallery wrap, which is a good option only if it does not compromise your image.  The gallery wrap will give you a “finished” look.

TIP:  A quality wrap-job is a great foundation.  From here, display the canvas immediately, or continue with an exterior frame to achieve a more refined look.

Step 4: Frame It

Now is the time to personalize your artwork.  Choose a frame style to achieve your vision.  Canvas art allows for a variety of design options, though none of these should include glass.  To avoid rot, let the canvas breathe and do not enclose it behind glass of any kind.  Depending on the artwork and your goals, choose a contemporary, classic or elegant moulding.  Also consider enhancements like a liner to add depth and separation between the canvas and the exterior frame. 

Note: The white border (above) is an example of a liner.

Step 5: Display It

Your custom framer will likely give you a hook and nail for your wall, appropriate to hold the weight of your piece.  Because they require no glass, framed canvases are typically lightweight, making them easy to pick up and hang from any wall.

When choosing a location, take time to consider the details; for example, check for sinks or nearby sources of water to be sure the art won’t be exposed to splashes. Also, remember not to expose your artwork to direct sunlight, as it will cause the image to fade over time. 

To achieve the best result, ask your framer for a home consultation where (s)he can help you identify the perfect location and hang the artwork securely from your wall.  

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