Make Your Own Art Canvases




About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

How about up cycling some old sheets or other linen like material into very useful and cost effective art canvases!  If you like to practice your painting a lot, but worry about the expense of store bought canvas, here's a fun and frugal alternative.

Step 1: Getting Started

To make the canvases gather up these materials:

Wood of your choice, I used pine I had on hand. To be cut for stretchers.
A Nail gun or finish nails or screws.
White glue.
Some cotton sheet or linen material.
Chipboard, available at art stores or online.

Step 2: Cut Wood to Size

Pine is ripped to 1 inch width on table saw.

Step 3: Join Stretchers

Simply butt wood together with fasteners of choice. Pieces are glued as well.

Step 4: Cut Chipboard

From large piece of chipboard, cut pieces to 11 x 14 inches.

Step 5: Assemble Pieces and Glue

Apply ample glue to stretchers to cover all wood. Then lay chipboard on this glue to assemble canvas.

Step 6: Cut Material to Size

I used scissors but a fabric cutter would be more efficient.

Step 7: Stretch and Glue Material to Chipboard

Glue is spread onto chipboard with a brush.  It helps to slightly dilute glue with water but don't overdo it.

Step 8: Make Canvas Boards As Well

A simpler but effective canvas can be made by cutting chosen chipboard to size, covering with glue and attaching material to this surface. These are sold as canvas boards by art suppliers.

Step 9: Put Your Project to a Good Use!



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    22 Discussions


    11 months ago

    Thank you for this. I didnt realize it would be that simple.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    is there any chance to make a canvas using less materials?


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I agree that your artwork is brilliant! And thank you for this tutorial! I am very often on a tight budget, and have wondered about using different fabrics. Love it!


    i wanted to know your opinion about using polyster cut to size thencovered with fabric


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Is it a photo you glued on the pastel drawing on the last three images ?…
    I am somewhat lost (not about the tutorial though)


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    All of the painting is mine, thank you very much! It's a fun art project and I do enjoy painting and drawing when I find the time. So many things, so little time. The story behind the building (the garage, storage bldg.) is interesting to me. I grew up on the ranch that this building was on and I used to play in it, and parked my first car (a 49 Chevy) in it, etc. The last time I was there, it was as it appears in the photos above. So lots of nostalgia and memories. That's about 55 years ago. Thanks for asking.

    Phil B

    5 years ago on Introduction

    A friend asked me about making a canvas stretcher for him similar to this. We talked about it, but never got it done, and I have moved since. Did you use a canvas stretcher like the one I linked, or did you use another approach? Thanks. 

    2 replies
    shazniPhil B

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I make my own canvases too. I have never bought it :-). You do not need that tool...simply make a frame like in this instructable. stretch your fabric and stapler it ( that is if you are not using a board to glue the fabric on this instructable. doesn't have to be too tight. Once you apply gesso ( or wall filler with a little white glue mixed in) it would automatically stretch tight. let me know how it goes :-) good luck.

    CreativemanPhil B

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    That's an interesting tool, but no, I didn't use that. I find that just pulling the material across the surface tightens it sufficiently and no staples or other tools are necessary. The glue instantly holds the material yet allows for further stretching if needed. My goal was to be able to make these canvases quickly, simply and with as little "skill" as necessary. Thanks for your comment.