What you need

Staple Gun (with ¼ staples)
work area (Large TechShop table)
Extra pair of hand (if need be)
Canvas Stretching Pliers (if you want)

Once you have your frame built, you need to stretch the canvas. I used per gesso canvas, which I do not recommend. With the per gesso canvas you can really get a good pull.

Step 1: The Canvas

Tear your canvas about 3 inches larger on all four sides. Lay your canvas down (gesso side down) on a clean work area. TechShop has large work table that work out wonderful for stretching your canvas and the area is nice and clean and that is not on the ground.  Put the frame on top of the canvas, with the top of the frame point down.
Yes, I have managed very well without using pliers. I have only used pliers once, and I did not like them. I made this for other friend and they wanted me to use the pre-gesso canvas which is harder to pull. For cotton canvas, which I normal use. After you pull the canvas and apply the gesso to the canvas; the canvas will get a tighter. I have made stretcher frames that are 8 x 6 and 4 x 6 for a friend and for a frame that size, it takes both of us to pull that canvas that are that size.
It appears you pulled the canvas with only your hands. A friend is wanting a stretching tool. He asked if I could weld a short rod onto the bill of sheet metal pliers, but he has not found the pliers he wants to use, yet. Do you manage well without stretching pliers?

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