A stretched canvas is a piece of canvas fabric that has been stretched over a wooden frame (called stretcher bars). It is commonly used by artists as a surface on which to paint.
Canvases are typically made from cotton or linen fabric. The fabric is stretched tight across the frame and stapled into place.
Once the canvas is stretched, it can be primed with gesso, a type of paint primer. The primer is used to give the canvas a white, smooth surface that the artist can paint on.
What Is Meant by Gallery-Wrapped Canvas?
When you see canvas wall art online or in stores, you’re most likely looking at prints or paintings on gallery-wrapped canvases.
A gallery-wrapped canvas is a type of stretched canvas that has been wrapped around the sides of a wooden frame (called stretcher bars), with the staples or tacks hidden on the back. You can see examples of gallery-wrapped canvases on Amazon.
Before gallery-wrapped canvases became popular, the staples could be seen on the sides of the stretched canvases.
There’s a common misconception that gallery-wrapped canvas must have sides that are 1.25 inches or more. But that’s not true!
Even the standard stretched canvases, which are typically 0.75 inches thick, are gallery-wrapped canvases if the staples or tacks are hidden on the back.
The depth of the stretcher bars has nothing to do with whether or not a stretched canvas is gallery-wrapped or not.
Gallery-wrapped canvases have a clean, finished look and can be hung without framing. This type of canvas is also easy to care for, as it does not require glass or matting.
Gallery-wrapped canvases also allow for the artwork or photo to be painted or printed on the sides of the canvas since there are no staples.
Is Gallery-Wrap Better?
When it comes to stretching a canvas, there are two main options for where to place the staples. The first is on the side of the canvas, and the second is on the back (gallery-wrapped canvas).
So, which is better?
Generally speaking, it is better to get a gallery-wrapped canvas with the staples on the back of the canvas. This provides a cleaner look overall, as well as makes it easier to hang the canvas on a wall.
However, there are some instances where having the staples on the side of the canvas may be preferable. For example, if you are working with a very thick or heavyweight canvas, it may be necessary to put the staples on the side in order to get a tight stretch.
Overview: What Is the Difference Between Stretched and Gallery-Wrapped Canvas?
In a nutshell, a stretched canvas is a type of canvas that is stretched over a frame, typically made of wood. The frame gives the canvas its shape and support. The staples or tacks can be on the sides or back of the canvas.
A gallery-wrapped canvas is a type of stretched canvas, in which the staples or tacks are hidden on the back of the canvas. When the staples are in the back and hidden from view, it’s much more aesthetically pleasing.