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Rolled canvas is a painting that has not been stretched yet. People generally choose rolled canvas over stretched canvas for the sake of affordability. When someone purchases an artwork, it normally comes in the form of a roll and then the buyer has to organise and pay for stretching themselves. Rolled canvas can also be ideal for projects that don’t require an immediate set-up, for travelling and/or for easier storage.
A stretched canvas is when the rolled material has been mounted onto a wooden frame. Normally, people get their canvas stretched because it can be a better visual display, and protect the artwork or print from dust and damage.
There are two types of stretched canvas:
Traditional Wrap: This is when the material fits ¾ of inch wood stretcher bars, so that the canvas can then be framed. We suggest only getting a traditional wrap if you are framing your canvas, because otherwise there will be visible unpainted edges and staples.
Gallery Wrap: There is no framing necessary when you have your canvas stretched as a gallery wrap. The canvas wraps around the bars, hiding the staples. The sides are then completely painted and it comes with a wire on the back, making it ready to hang straight away.
If you get your canvas stretched, we would suggest going to a framer with experience in the area. This is because if canvas stretching is done incorrectly, it can cause wrinkles in the material or the bars can be too dainty.
In our very simplified overview, the first step of stretching canvas is to measure the material and determine whether it needs to be cut to fit a traditional or gallery wrap. Then, the stretch bar is laid on the canvas and each edge of the material is folded up. The canvas is then stapled into the the stretcher bar on each side.
Although it might sound easy, canvas stretching requires precise measurements and expert skills. Otherwise, your artwork can end up damaged, not preserved properly and be displayed with imperfections.