Here at long last (without any real desktop publishing tools) is my response to the request for more visual material on how to stretch your silk painting onto a canvas frame. As many of you will know I have already published an article which describes this process. However, a picture speaks with such clarity, doesn’t it? So here I have a small tutorial for you with pictures and words.
To get started you should have the proper tools at hand so that the process flows as easily as possible. This is what you need: a large board or surface to work on, a roll of masking tape, a stapler (not the small sort you use in the office), a measuring stick or tape, a sheet of paper to protect the silk when working, a chunky artist’s frame of your choice which should be a approximately 15 centimetres smaller than your silk painting in both width and breadth, a Stanley knife and of course, last but not least, your beautiful work of art.
As you can see we are busy framing a one million dollar note reproduced in silk. If you’re at all into Feng Shui, then you’ll know that this is ideal for the prosperity corner.
Step One: Place your board on the floor or table, lay the sheet of paper on top of this and finally place the artist’s frame on top. . Now lay your silk art face up around the canvas frame. Lightly fold it over the edges. You don’t need to worry at this point to centre it as you are only taking the measurements. Now lay your measuring stick across the top surface to measure both the height and width of your picture.
Step Two: Now remove your silk painting again and lay the frame to one side. You will be needing it again in a moment so have it to hand.
Step Three: Lay your silk painting face down on the paper and using the measuring stick and masking tape, measure out the dimensions of the frame. If your frame is 50cm wide, then make sure that you have an equal amount of background both left and right of your image, and mark these with the masking tape, so that the frame will sit nicely centred. You can see from the photo that our picture had 4cm on both sides. Do the same for the top and bottom, placing pieces of masking tape to show the outer edges of the frame.
Step Four: Now take your canvas frame and gently lay it down on the silk, taking care to align the masking tape with the edges of the frame.
Step Five: Now you’re going to start the actual stapling of the silk onto the wooden frame. You can see quite clearly why the silk needs to be a few centimetres wider than the frame for the wrap around. Start in the middle of the edge nearest to you and pull the silk firmly up and over the frame. Holding it down flat, staple the silk firmly in place. Proceed with the opposite edge. Repeat this for the remaining two edges. If your work is on the floor, it’s quite easy to move around in a circle. Next add staples halfway between all the ones you have already attached and repeat this process until the silk is snugly stapled all the way around the frame. Don’t staple too close to the corners.
Step Six: Next you’re going to attach the silk at the corners. Tuck the excess silk underneath and fold an edge to make a 90 degree angle, with the fold of silk lying along the edge of the frame (see photos 6a and 6b). Firmly staple the silk in place.
Step Seven: The remaining excess silk gets folded back in the opposite direction (to the outer edge of the frame). Fold so that the silk is flush with the corner of the frame (Step 7) and on the top tuck the last silk in diagonally towards the middle of the picture. Firmly staple in place on top. DO NOT staple where the silk is visible. Repeat on all four corners.
Step Eight: Lift the picture up to check that everything is nice and straight from the front. The million dollar note needs to be very straight due to the straight edges in the painting. You may get away with less precision with other images. Should you decide that anything needs altering, ie. the image is a bit squint, then carefully turn your picture back over, undo the staples and readjust your silk.
Step Nine: If you are satisfied with the result, place your measuring stick along the four edges and trim the excess silk off with a Stanley knife. Please only do this if you are wide awake. 🙂
Step Ten: Your picture is now ready for hanging. The beauty of this method is that you only need 1 nail as the picture is so light-weight compared with a traditional frame. You may need 2 for larger pictures. In this case we used two. Knock in the first one, hold up your spirit level and mark where the second one goes. Knock it in too. And now you can hang your picture.
Eh, voila. You have a beautiful work of art, framed to perfection which shows off your artwork wonderfully and it hasn’t cost you a fortune to do it either. Enjoy.