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If you’ve decided you want to stretch your own canvas, you’ll need to select your materials. The bars you stretch the canvas on are just as important as the canvas for determining the final product. You may wish narrow bars so that the painting is easier to frame or deep bars so that it looks good unframed. If you are planning a very large canvas then you will want to consider the tension that all that tight canvas will exert on the bars – your canvas could be pulled out of shape – so stronger bars (thicker or with aluminium) would be appropriate. Here are some things to consider when choosing your stretcher bars.

What are Stretcher Bars?

All stretcher bars differ from plain timber in that they are shaped to have a flat back and a slanted front that has a higher edge along the outside of each bar length. This may be accomplished with bars that slope downward toward the centre of the frame or by adding a raised lip around the edge. You staple on the flat, back side and the canvas is stretched so that it floats over the slanted front and only touches the outer rim. This is to prevent a ridge of paint forming when the canvas comes in contact with the bar when the brush pushes the canvas towards the bar as you paint.

Stretcher Bar

The BESTON’S Professional Range

wooden in 3 depths – 16mm, 36mm, or 4.2 mm or customized size

  • Strong – but for larger canvases where the canvas tension will be greater, the thicker mm bars will be stronger than the narrower.
  • The 16mm depth is available in inch sizes, in 2-inch increments up to 40 inches. These 2 inch size bars (and the 21mm bars as well) are for artists who might need to match an inch-sized frame or an existing inch-sized painting where cm-sized canvases would be in partial fractions of inches, or for those who prefer Imperial measurements.
  • The 36mm depth is available in inch sizes, in 2-inch increments up to 54 inches. These two narrow bars are not available in as long lengths as the deeper bars because they are not strong enough to be be that long without warping.
  • The 42mm depth is available in 10cm increments up to 200cm long.
  • Strong interlocking corners and a space for a wooden corner wedge.
  • Made of wood – PEFC Certified kiln-dried pine