When I started painting, 15 years ago....I would staple the canvas to the edges of stretcher bars.......and I painted over a 100 painting that way before I switched to stapling canvas at the back of the stretcher bars.... Some of the ones with staples on the edge of the stretcher bars, I have in frames. I have been toying around with using dark colored masking tape on the edges of these 5 eighths in stretcher bars.....but I was wondering if there was another tape or product that might be maybe thicker......any ideas?

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  • There is another advantage to using the wood slats. Assuming the stretcher bars are the thin kind….using a wider slat you can make the painting appear deeper, and thus more substantial (improving perceived value in the eyes of the public!). As Michael says, in even in museums you see paintings framed this way. It is unobtrusive and non-distracting as well. The slats are just called lattice or screen wood. I’ve bought it a lot for ordinary household use. If memory serves it is about 1 ½ inches wide and maybe a quarter inch thick. Not hard to cut up with a hand saw (which is all I have).

    It may seem like more work, but if you do a lot, I think you could knock them out pretty fast. Obviously make sure they are really straight and not warped before buying.
  • In all the years I've hung out with painters, the two most common ways of treating an edge of a stretched canvas is either painting the edges black (use acrylic, but make sure it will be OK over oil painting edges) or, as one artist above suggested, buy thin (1/4") slats, nail or staple (heavy duty) them over the edges, then paint them black with a flat enamel paint. You could even pre-paint the slats with Krylon flat or semi-gloss spray paint, then touch them up after installing them on the edges. If you go to museums, look at how painters in the past edged their paintings. I've seen a lot of multi-million $$ works with simple slatted edges, not even mitred, just lapped edges.
    Or you could just paint the image around the edges so that it looks like there is more to the painting, like some photographers do with their canvased photos.
    Just don't use tape! It will eventually come loose or peel with time, temperature and humidity. And you don't want a customer calling you in a year or two with a dysfunctional edge!
  • Thank you so much for your suggestion......I will keep it in mind.

    What I have did before I saw your posting was to order some cloth based gaffer tape.....which is what is used in book binding......5 eights inch to go over the staples.....if it works great....if not there is your idea.

    If anyone wants the name and phone number of the supplier of this tape contact me.....wait about a week to see if I can tell you how well it works.
  • Electrical tape prefers to stick to itself. So overlapping is important.

    I think…electrical tape might come in other colors too now. But if memory serves, they are all pretty bright, like primary colors (I almost said, “electric colors”, ha, ha.). Maybe white too.

    If it were me: I’d experiment with gessoing over the staples to create a smoother surface, then paint over them. There is a thick bodied gesso you can use to build up a surface. I used to coat armatures with it. As long as you are now stapling only on the back, at least when you finished the old side-stapled ones, you’d be done. Plus the results would look more professional than any kind of tape.
  • Linnea....you are good....have enjoyed your posts all over the place.....

    I did try the electrical tape but it fell off......maybe I did not stretch it enough and overlap it....Ill try again

    I did see some high temp masking colored masking tape in the Nasco catologue but like you I think it might fall off, peal, etc....

    I did have a gallery owner to consider painting the staples....may try that....

    Yes I am trying to avoid buying more frames.....but may do that.

    Thanks for your input.....by the way, I did Neenah a long time ago....and it was hot and I sold virtually nothing.....
  • What did you have in mind? Making them look a little more finished before selling them? Saving the expense of framing, so the buyer could frame it themselves in the way they wanted?

    FWIW, masking tape dries out pretty quickly and falls off, sometimes leaving a residue that no one will thank you for. One of my old teachers used electrical tape for this purpose. It’s stretchy, which is a plus.

    When I still painted I couldn’t afford any frames. I quickly went to stapling on the back then just continued to paint around the edges. Maybe if you painted over the staples it would camouflage them enough.

    I have seen other people just nail on a thin painted slat around the edges: not mitering, just lapping the ends.
  • Anything you could possibly need in framing supplies:

    Larry Berman
    Digital Jury Services
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