Post-processing Printing & Framing

How We Digitally Stretch Our Gallery-Wrap Edges Before Printing

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Edge of Gallery-wrapped Canvas Print
Edge of Gallery-wrapped Canvas Print

As we discussed on the Services page of our website, we digitally “stretch” our image before wrapping it around the edge of our gallery-wrapped canvas images. Here’s how we do that:

  1. Crop Your Image Oversized

    Our gallery wraps are either 3/4” thick or 11/2“. On the thin ones, I usually take the 1/4” strip along the edges and stretch it to 1″, thus having an extra 1/4” to wrap around to the backside to cover for variations in the printing and stretching processes. On the larger ones, I take 1/2” and stretch it to 2″ (thus leaving 1/2” on the back). I wouldn’t stretch the image more than four times its original size, but you could go less. To do that, you would effectively be taking a wider margin to wrap around the side. Before cropping, make sure “Delete Cropped Pixels” has a check.

    As an example, if I want a 12” x 18” image stretched around a 11/2” frame, I would crop the image to 13” x 19”. (If it goes on a 3/4” thick frame, crop to 121/2” x 181/2“.)

  2. Save As …

    Assuming you are starting with your image master file, save with a new name reflecting the new dimensions.

  3. Place Guides

    Put guides 1/2” in from each edge (for a 11/2” gallery-wrap, or 1/4” in for the 3/4” wrap). Put another guide right on each of the four edges of your image.

  4. Enlarge Canvas

    Increase the canvas size 3” in both dimensions to get 16” x 22” with the image centered (or increase 11/2” for the skinnier frame, to bring the overall dimensions to 14″ x 20″).

    To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.
    Click Image ⇨ Canvas Size…
    Put a check in the Relative Box
    Make Width and Height 3 Inches
    Make sure Anchor dot is in center of the grid
    Hit OK

  5. Stretch Edges

    I would then use a distort transform to digitally stretch the outermost 1/2” to 2” wide, filling the canvas.

    To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.

    Make sure Snap is checked in the View Menu

    Use the Rectangular Marquee tool to select the 1/2″ strip between the guides along one of the edges.

    Click Edit ⇨ Transform ⇨ Distort.

    Place the mouse cursor over the little square in the middle of the outer edge of the selected area and drag it to the edge of the canvas.

    Hit the checkmark to finish the transform.

    Repeat all the above with the 1/2″ strips along the other three edges

    Actually, I first do the four corner squares separately using the scale transform (Edit ⇨ Transform ⇨ Scale), but since only a small bit along the edge of those squares has any chance of being seen, you could include them in either the horizontal or vertical strips (or even both).

    Usually, when I stretch the edges like this, Photoshop leaves a thin white line along the inside edge of the stretched region. I fix that with the Spot Healing Brush tool on a separate layer.

  6. Create Extra Canvas

    Now I add a blank (transparent) edge around the image representing the canvas I need for stretching the canvas around the frame by increasing the canvas size by double the required margins in both dimensions, the same way we did above. That margin would be at least the width of the moulding along the bottom (1″ for the 11/2” moulding we are using now) and enough extra to get a grip with the canvas pliers (for me that’s at least 3/4“). That would make the image’s final dimensions at least 191/2” x 251/2“. The skinnier moulding is 11/2” along the bottom, so the final overall dimensions would be at least 181/2” x 241/2“.

  7. Finish

    When I am finished adding canvas, I add layers with cut lines, fold lines, staple lines, positioning marks for the hanging hardware, et cetera, but that is a personal matter beyond the scope of this article. Save your file before exiting.

That’s about it. Feel free to leave comments or questions.

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