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What’s The Difference Between A Gallery Wrap & Stretched Canvas?

stretched canvas wrap

Canvas Art Prints - Gallery Wrap vs Stretched

When it comes to printing out your photographs, be it family snapshots, holiday memories or an amazing landscape, canvas is a wonderful medium for amateurs & professionals alike.

But sometimes terminology is used to describe the various options that can be confusing.

So what’s the difference between a gallery wrap & stretched canvas? Firstly, both canvases are stretched, but the gallery wrap uses thicker stretcher bars & the canvas is wrapped all the way around the frame & stapled on the back. Stretched, sometimes referred to as a studio wrap, uses thinner stretcher bars with the staples being visible around the edges. The wrap is ready to hang, whereas the stretched canvas will require framing.

Advantages Of A Gallery Wrap

The great thing about a gallery wrap is it’s ready to hang & can be displayed as is.

The most popular style of wrap is when the image bleeds all the way around the stretcher bars.

But black or white edges can also be a choice offered by some print labs. ( including mine! )

Even a large canvas wrap is still lightweight & not requiring a frame means they’re easy to hang. Normally just 1 or 2 nails or screws in the wall is all that’s needed.

But it’s possible to frame a gallery wrap.

Floater frames are the most widely used method as the print appears to “float” inside the frame.

It’s a great look & is very clean & modern too.

Advantages Of Stretch Or Studio Wrapped Canvas

Due to the staples being visible, a floating frame can’t be used.

So this method is ideal if you’re going to be using a custom frame.

You’ll have more choice of frame styles, although custom framing can be more expensive.

Box frames can be made for both a wrap or a stretched canvas print.

Hanging Gallery Wraps vs Stretched Canvas Prints

Gallery Wrap

A wrapped canvas print is ready to hang straight out of the box.

Usually a wire or string is attached across the back to be easily hung on a nail or hook.

For larger prints, using 2 nails or hooks will keep it horizontal on the wall.

Floater frames can be made from metal or wood & can add some extra weight, but again, the appropriate hanging hardware will be supplied.

Usually lightweight wood is used or aluminium. On an extra large print, the weight still isn’t going to require any special hanging methods.

Stretched Canvas

Hanging a studio wrap will depend on the size of the print & the material used for the frame.

But realistically, because the canvas print itself is lightweight, it’s no different to hanging any large framed picture.

The hanging hardware itself will be attached to the frame, not the stretcher bars.

The wrap is placed into the frame from behind & a front lip prevents it falling outward. If you have a standard size print, it may be easy to find one online or premade.

Standard picture frames can be used. Just be sure it’s chunky enough so the wrap doesn’t protrude when viewed from the side.

Offset or frame clips will keep the print in place & are easily ordered online or found in a framers shop.

Again, a standard size print will be easier for finding a frame that fits. Charity shops & garage sales may be the go if you're looking to save money or want something original & unique.

You can also make a simple frame by attaching wood or any other material that takes your fancy, directly to the edges.

You can experiment with different thicknesses & materials to create a rustic style, shabby chic, modern or whatever you please.


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Cost Of Gallery Wraps vs Stretched Canvas Prints

When it comes to having your photographs printed to canvas, prices can vary between print labs.

But there’s no huge cost margin between a wrap & a studio wrap.

The price is affected by the quality of materials used.


A professional & reputable print lab may be more expensive than a cheaper budget printer, but they’ll use a high quality wood for the stretcher bars so as not to warp over time.

Also, better grade inks & flatbed printers ensure a quality final image that isn’t going to fade over time.


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If you're looking for ready to hang canvas art, Canvas Cultures have a fabulous variety of museum quality prints created by independent artists ... that's why I'm happy to support them.

Which Should You Choose?

This comes down to personal preference. There’s a few factors to consider though.

  • What is the final look you’re after? Gallery wraps, either framed or unframed, offer a modern & clean appeal. An unframed gallery wrap can fit with any décor, whereas the style of frame may not suit certain spaces.

  • Does it compliment the photograph? A studio wrap will need to be framed, so it’s best to find a frame that suits the image. A golden ornate frame won’t match a modern city scene for example, whereas it may work with a certain style of portraiture.


Further Related Articles To Explore:


Final Thoughts

Now you know the difference between a gallery wrap & a stretched canvas, you’re able to choose the option that will best suit your needs.

Either way, canvas is a wonderful print medium that is super affordable.

To learn more about this popular print medium, check out my complete guide to canvas prints.

Providing the photograph being printed is of a high enough quality & a reputable print lab is used, you won’t be disappointed with whichever style of canvas you choose.

I hope this article was helpful & please feel free to share.


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