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Large-format, Commercial and Industrial Printing Solutions

Stretching and embellishing a canvas print


The HP Designjet Z3200 Photo printer creates exquisite gallery quality prints on over 50 different types of media. Printing on canvas is an exciting application for this remarkable printer. Ramon Barba from HP’s engineering labs in Barcelona, Spain works to perfect new and interesting ways to display the printer’s remarkable output. Today, Ramon will demonstrate how easy it is to stretch the canvas on a wooden frame and then add texture to create an artwork ready for the gallery or living room wall. Please refer to the accompanying PDF for a list of materials and step-by-step instructions. Okay, let’s get started.

This is the print that comes out of our Z3200 printer. Excellent image quality. I like a lot of detail and that’s thanks to the 12-ink system. They are pigmented inks being used here, pigmented inks that gives us excellent durability, more than 200 years of durability. Let’s start removing all the dust from the image. I always like to have very clean images before doing any finishing to it. We are going to add a little bit of liquid laminate over here. I’m going to use a liquid laminate, a water-based liquid laminate from Clear Star. This process is very easy—anyone can do it—and in fact it’s very economical. We just need this liquid laminate and a roller. There are other options to protect the image. Another option which I also use very often is using a hot press. That requires to have a heat activated laminate on top of the image which is then going to be melted on top of the image with a hot press. It’s very important that the print is water fast. If the image wouldn’t be water fast I would be removing the ink out of the print. This is a nice method of protecting an image. Okay, let’s take a final look to ensure that there is laminate all over the surface. Perfect. And now it’s ready to let it dry for about two hours.

So let’s put the stretcher bars together while our print is drying. That’s the fun part because we are now going to hit this structure.

One step which I usually like to do is to ensure that the corners are 90 degrees so I use this corner.

So now the frame is ready to start all the stretching process.

So here is our print which has already been protected and is ready for our stretching process. Because there is an excess of canvas on the corners, we always like to cut this excess canvas. I usually use some guides that will help me to speed up the process. So these guides over here are the ones that will help me to ensure that my frame is centered around the image. So let’s put the frame in the center of our image. We just fold and we make sure that the edges of the frame are aligned. Once I make sure that my canvas is aligned with all the edges, then I am ready to start the stapling. So, I will start here. I will start with just one at 45 degrees. I’m going to rotate it and going to apply a second one. So I’ll take the canvas with the pliers. I’ll make a little bit of tension and then I’ll put a staple 45 degrees at this one.

Okay, so before I continue putting more staples I would like to do the corners, which is kind of the most critical part. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to open this over here and I’m going to ensure that my fold is on the top. As you can see the fold is here on the top. So I’m marking this with my hands because now I’m going to remove a little bit more of canvas. So I will take the scissors over here. I’m going to cut this.

Okay. This is ready for the fold but we’ll do it afterwards. I’m going to do the same thing all over the corners. Here we are in the long sides where I have the folds so I just want to make sure that I have the nice fold over here. Let’s take the staples over here. Okay.

This looks great to me but still there is one difference between this reproduction and the original which is the texture. This one doesn’t have texture so we can have some fun now applying a little bit of texture and we’ll do that with this transferring acrylic varnish. You’ll see that it’s quick and easy and in fact you don’t need to be an artist to do that. It takes between one and two minutes but it’s really worth because the texture gives this final touch that makes it look much more realistic. Don’t worry about this white appearance that the varnish has because once it gets dry this whiteness will disappear. So it’s fun and quick. In fact, you don’t need to go into a lot of details. You don’t obviously need to paint all the details here but you just need to go through all the image. The texturing varnish is now dry so now the image is ready to walk an extra step, an extra texturing step, which is what we call “embellishing” and we can use several colors here. We just need to look for the right colors in the image here. I just chose white because there are some white areas where I can add a little bit of white and this will give us this extra texture that will help to encase the image a little bit more. Beautiful, isn’t it? So now our image is ready to be on display.

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