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What Is A Stretched Canvas Print?

stretched canvas prints

Two Ways To Stretch A Canvas Print - Which Method Do You Choose?

It’s a wonderful feeling when you’ve sent your image files off to the printers & you receive a package with a canvas print inside.

It’s like Christmas! The excitement of seeing how your photograph is going to look up on your wall.

There’s different print mediums you can choose & canvas being one of them.

Depending on the print house, a canvas print can be ordered rolled, mounted or stretched.

What is a stretched canvas print? It’s simply a canvas that is mounted in one of 2 ways to a pre-assembled wooden frame, also called stretcher bars. One method pulls the canvas completely around the frame & secures with staples on the rear side. The other method stretches the canvas to the edge of the frame & secures with staples along the outside edges.

Stretched blank canvas is also available for painters & artists.

Two Types Of Stretched Canvas

As explained above , there’s 2 ways you can stretch a canvas print.

1. Gallery Wrap

A canvas print that has been stretched all the way around the timber frame is referred to as a gallery wrap.

These are very popular as the printed image is visible on the side of the frame.

But some printers will also offer white or black edges, thus the whole image is seen from the front.


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2. Staple Mounting

This method allows the whole image to be seen from the front & the canvas is secured by stretching & stapling to the edges of the frame instead of the back.


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Framing Stretched Canvas Prints

The great thing about printing on canvas is it’s affordability.

This allows you to splash out & buy a nice frame.

Framing A Gallery Wrap

Floater frames, sometimes known as shadow box frames, are the most commonly used choice & look great & are very popular for this reason.

stretched canvas in floater frame


Printers usually offer the choice of framed or unframed.

Obviously if you’re choosing a frame, they won’t print a gallery wrap all the way around the edges, as they won’t be seen.

So if you’re ordering a print to frame yourself or send out for custom framing, remember the entire image will need to fit on the front viewing side.

Box frames are also available or can be made up for you.

These types of frames are custom sized to fit to the depth of the gallery wrap.

The print fits from behind & a front lip keeps it from falling forward.

There does seem to be some confusion over the names for these frames, as a quick Internet search will show.

Some companies are calling their floating frames, box frames.

But they are different.

A print mounted in a floating frame will have a gap between it & the frame, hence the print seems to “float” in the frame.

With a box frame, there is no gap as the front of the print sits flush against the overhanging lip.


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Framing A Staple Mounted Print

These types of prints will work in a box frame or other custom made frame.

They won’t work with a floater frame as the stapled edges will be visible.


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DIY Framing Solution

If you’re a creative type & good at making things, there’s a simple DIY framing solution.

This can be applied to either gallery wrap or staple mounted.

Although with staple mounted, you may want to make sure the staples are sitting as flush as possible.

You can use any timber of your choice or other material & attach it directly to the edges of the print.

If you want to look real professional, dovetailing the frame together will really impress your friends!

Hanging Stretched Canvas Prints

Sturdy, but lightweight timbers are used for making the stretcher bars.

So hanging a canvas print is a breeze, even extra large sizes.

When ordering a stretched canvas print, your hanging hardware will be provided.

This is usually a wire or string attached to the back.

Simply bang a nail or screw into the wall. Using 2 nails will prevent the print from moving out of horizontal alignment.

Floater frames can be made from lightweight timber, aluminium or various coloured plastic.

But again, the appropriate hanging hardware will be attached to suit the weight of the print.

Are Stretched Canvas Prints More Expensive?

Canvas prints are still the most popular & widely used form of wall art, as well as being super popular for displaying family photographs & memories.

This is because of their price point.

Even extra large prints deliver amazing value for money when compared to mounted photographs, metal or acrylic printing. (Although metal & acrylic does offer jaw dropping quality).

Every supplier will have their own pricing, but print capabilities & flatbed printers have come a long, long way.

With a well taken, high definition image printed to canvas by a reputable print lab using quality inks & materials .. the result will speak for itself.

A rolled canvas will be cheaper, but then it will need mounting & framing or stretching in order to be hung.

A mounted canvas will also need a frame before it can be displayed.

Whereas a stretched canvas wrap is ready to go .. straight out of the packaging & up on your wall!

On a scale of 1 to 10 for value for money, I feel stretched canvas prints rate an 11.

Final Thoughts

Canvas prints are a versatile & affordable way to present your photographs.

With stretched canvas, especially the gallery wraps, you have a wonderful piece of wall art that can be displayed straight out of the box.

They’re also practical if you’re someone who is renting or moves around a lot.

Lightweight, easy to pack & store, you can take your favourite images & memories to wherever you may find yourself.

Did you find this article helpful? I hope so .. please feel free to share.


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