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I have a large canvas that I want to stretch, however, the image goes all the way to the edge of the canvas. I don't know how I can stretch it without losing a significant part of the painting (several inches on each side). Should I sew more canvas on with a sewing machine?

Photograph of the painting in question

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  • Not that I have any knowledge about stretching canvases, but a closeup picture of an edge (possibly also showing the underside and frame) would probably help others understand your situation. Does the painting go over the edge and if so, does it wrap around onto the back? – Henry Taylor Oct 27 '17 at 13:42
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You can staple it right at the outer edge of the frame instead of wrapping it over and stapling it at the back. You will still lose some of the canvas, though (if the canvas you are using has clean edges, not prone to tearing, it could take as little as 1 cm on each side). You may want to put some glue (PVA) at the edges of the canvas and where the staples are to strengthen it and prevent tearing of the cloth, just in case. For that option you will need an outer frame, understandably.

If you have no intention to use an outer frame you can actually stretch it as an ordinary canvas but wrap it at the back just enough to be able to staple it (basically the same as the above, just wrapped at the back). Thus you will have your edges as part of the painting, instead of having the whole image at the front.

Gluing the canvas to a panel (which you can frame as desired) may be another option. I’ve never done that, though and I don’t know what the best glue would be for that purpose (it will also depend on the medium you used to paint with).

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    Note that the first two options aren't proper long-term solutions: the tension will increase and decrease due to atmospheric influences, causing the visible part of the canvas to suffer irreparably. Glueing it will worsen this effect. The third option - glueing it to a panel (a.k.a. marouflage) is the only viable option for these cases, as far as I know. – Joachim Aug 23 '19 at 9:08

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