Canvas Stretchers: Check Out the Different Types

Canvas stretchers are a must for each work of art involving painting.  These tools are responsible for keeping the canvas taut and smooth, allowing the painter to use the surface as he/she sees fit.  Because canvas stretchers literally shape the canvas, it comes in a variety of forms and sizes.  Some of the types of canvas stretchers you can expect to find include:

Rectangular canvas stretchers
Paintings are commonly created using rectangular frames, thus necessitating the need for rectangular canvas stretchers.  These stretchers come in many sizes, many of which are standardized especially if purchased from an art supplier. 

Rectangular types of canvas stretchers can also be custom-made to the artist's specifications.  This happens if the size preferred is not available as a standard size or if the painting is too large.

Oval or round canvas stretchers
These are the types of canvas stretchers that are frequently used for paintings depicting portraits or still life.  Since not every subject for a painting can work well with an oval or round type of canvas stretcher, not many artists use these.  However, they are still being made available by art supplies store and may be purchased in a variety of standard sizes.

Like rectangular canvas stretchers, however, oval and round canvas stretchers can also be custom-made, depending on the size required.

Custom stretcher bars
There are certain types of canvas stretchers that are not easily categorized as rectangular or round.  These fall in the custom-made stretcher bar category, which means they can be made to order to follow the specifications provided by the artist.

Certain designs and built of canvas stretchers also categorize them as basic, standard or professional.  The basic frame consists of the external frame while the standard and professional comes with a supporting cross-shaped frame in the middle.  Professional canvas stretchers also tend to be thicker and more solidly built.

The most common material used for many types of canvas stretchers is wood.  Look behind paintings and you'll find wooden stretcher bars.  The type of wood used for this purpose varies but the most common material on the market is pine, specifically white pine.  White pine is common, produces a clean, fair color and can be smoothed down to a nice finish.  This helps prevent the roughness apparent in some types of woods and allows smoother stretching and attachment of the canvas.

There is another type of canvas stretcher that has also enjoyed some popularity with some artists and that is the aluminum stretcher bar.  Aluminum is a very common material.  It's soft enough to allow itself to be shaped into any form and tough enough to withstand any pressures during canvas stretching.  Furthermore, it is recyclable and does not require cutting down a natural resource to produce – hence its popularity in some artists.

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Whether you are looking for readymade or professionally handmade Canvas Stretchers, you should only look for the top-quality types of this form of artist tool.

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Art Supplies, UK Art, Canvass Stretchers