Friday, 31 January 2014

Canvas Printing


Ever since I made my version of one of Sam Lauren Smiths inky drawings, it has been stuck to our kitchen wall, waiting for me to get a much bigger laser so I could cut one at the size I wanted it (1.2m long). The more I looked at it the less I liked the burnt wood on wood effect until finally one day I decided that I should just go ahead and get a proper black and white canvas job done. I contacted the artist again but still didn't hear anything so I went ahead and used my own scanned images of the postcard.

This is where Chris Braunston of Braunston Ltd printing company comes in. He's my guru for all things print related and he's help me make custom Tshirts and vinyl Wall stickers before. They do canvas printing and were happy for me to go down and watch/help the whole process.


A big print job requires a big printer and this one prints directly to the canvas. It was fairly straight forward, a program adds some margin around the edge of the image to wrap around the block (particularly helpful in this case as the image has it's own white margin). It also adds some alignment marks on the very edges because most of the time the image is face down. 



The print was cut off the roll and trimmed down ready to be put on the frame. The frame typically started life as 4 planks of wood. The four planks were cut to size with 4 degree angles on the corners. The shed is a great idea, you don't want to get sawdust all over the office so Chris installed an actual shed in the car park. Some beefy staples were gunned in at the corner leaving me a little sceptical but after looking at the frame it really was solid. The frame was then ready for the canvas. 


Wrapping the canvas round the frame is when the real skill comes in. Knowing how to fold the corners is a great start. The canvas is cut into the corner, folded as shown and then stapled down, a matching 45 degree fold is made on the remaining tab and that side is (eventually) stapled down too. The tensioning tool is the specialised tool on the job and it definitely made things easier. They're like a pair of pliers which grip the canvas but they have an extra bump which allows can be levered against the frame to pull the canvas type, another staple keeps it tight. That's about it, a dozen staples all round the frame keep everything in place and the canvas print is done (and looks amazing)


When I got it home I set about hanging it straight away. The intention was to put two nails into the wall and hang the frame up on them. I made sure they were level and hung the picture but it just didn't look straight. Turns out our ceiling isn't level and the canvas just didn't look right until the two lines were parallel. I should put some wire on the back to allow for that kind of adjustment but I'll need to go out and buy that. In the meantime I laser cut a doughnut to go over the nail, lifting the right hand edge by 15mm and making it all appear level. Let's face it it just wouldn't feel right if one of my projects didn't have a laser cut part in it somewhere.