DIY Canvases

My sister Zee and I are doing an art show locally in November. The paintings will be based on poems written by our grandfather, who is going to fly to Texas (from the Carolinas) to do a poetry reading the opening night of the show. I’m pretty excited. It’s an opportunity to paint some bigger pieces along a common theme.

Experimenting with art. Yay.

Lately, I’ve been trying to finish up stretching and priming canvases. I wanted big canvases, and they cost quite a bit, especially when I’m looking at buying 8-10. So, instead, I DIY-ed that stuff. It was fun. I learned some things for next time, and I ended up with some big spaces that are already calling to me.

For the frames, I used pine furring strips. They’re remarkably flimsy so next time I’ll factor in some extra wood for bracing.

For the canvas, I used painter’s drop-cloths. That kind of canvas is a pretty wide weave, but it’s coarse threads. It soaks up a LOT of paint (priming was exciting) when it’s raw, but it doesn’t really bleed. Unless I have major issues while painting, I’m gong to stick with drop-cloth (broadcloth) canvas for next time.

I used household (wall) acrylic to prime the canvases. It’s cheaper than gesso, but it remains to be seen whether it was a better choice. Real artists probably NEVER use that kind of paint, but I had plenty on hand so the primer was zero cost.

In total, I now have 83 square feet of primed canvas upon which to create awesomeness. It’s nice to know that the pieces will be all me, from the ground up. It’ll also be good to know that I won’t have to factor in exorbitant canvas fees when I’m pricing this stuff for the gallery.

A 2′ by 4′ gallery-wrapped canvas ended up costing about $7 if I factor in the cost of nails and staples. Like I said, I lucked out on the primer, which would have added about $5 more to each canvas. But even $12 a pop is wayyyyy better than $30 on dickblick or $40 at Michael‘s.



3 thoughts on “DIY Canvases”

    1. bTW “real” artists do use plain ol’ flat acrylic as gesso- artists I’ve taken lessons from recommend it for just the reasons you mentioned. most of them are after all, starving. CANT WAIT TO SEE THE RESULTS. Sorry, didn’t mean to shout. I get excited.

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