DIY a GIANT Artist Canvas

How to DIY a GIANT artist canvas | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you ever yearned to own a giant piece of artwork but the cost was prohibitive? Or you knew you could create some awesome abstract paintings, but buying large canvases would cost too much. Well, for those hesitant artists, I have this quick tutorial for building your own GIANT canvas!


How to DIY a GIANT Artist Canvas

  • 2×2″ boards for frame supports (two sides, top, bottom and center support)
  • Kreg Jig and pocket hole screws
  • Drill
  • White fabric (canvas material would be best, but use what you have)
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Paint brush
  • Gesso (if you don’t have gesso, primer would probably work fine)


Cut your 2×2″ lumber down to size. Cut your top and bottom the full widths. Cut the two sides and the center support 3″ shorter to accommodate the height of the added top and bottom pieces. Note, if your canvas is portrait (instead of landscape), your support will be a center horizontal brace instead of vertical as shown.

Use your kreg jig to drill pocket holes in the two ends of the sides and the support piece.


Use your drill and pocket hole screws to secure the pieces together.

How to DIY a GIANT Artist Canvas

Lay your fabric on a clean surface.

How to DIY a GIANT Artist Canvas

Wrap the sides up and secure with staples. If your fabric is thin, you may want to fold over the edges once or twice before stapling.

How to DIY a GIANT Artist Canvas

Continue stapling the top and bottom of the fabric until it is taut and completely stapled around the perimeter of your canvas frame.

How to DIY a GIANT Artist Canvas

Prime your canvas by painting gesso on the entire canvas. This will seal the holes in the fabric and prep it for painting.

How to DIY a GIANT Artist Canvas

When the gesso is fully dried, you are ready to paint!

How to DIY a GIANT Artist Canvas

Stay tuned next week  for a video tutorial on painting your own abstract ocean painting!


You may have noticed it on my Fall mantle.

Autumn Mantle Décor and Vignettes | Pretty Handy Girl

Happy Fall Y’all!

PHGFancySignP.s. As if the planets were in alignment in the blogsphere, Kelly shared this great round up of 36 DIY art projects you can create on your new art canvas!



  1. Great DIY…I have never heard of gesso before your post!

  2. Awesome!!! Truly, I don’t know what else to say.

  3. This is a great tutorial, especially for making a large canvas. Can’t wait to try this!

  4. Ooh that is perfect planet alignment! :) That piece is absolutely STUNNING. Jaw-dropping. Is it okay if I add this to the roundup? It’s too good to miss!

  5. Awesome! I’ve been wanting to put a big canvas in our guest bathroom and this would definitely be a better option cost-wise =)

  6. So easy! Thanks for sharing such a great idea! Those large canvases are super expensive, this is much more wallet friendly!

  7. Love this idea and what a fabulous tutorial. I would love for you to link up to Inspire Me this afternoon. Party goes live at 2:30 PT. Hope to see you there. Hugs, Marty

  8. This is absolutely stunning! The colors are awesome, please do tell us when you post what colors, what paints..etc. I could look at this all day! Beautiful!!!!!!

  9. Great post & love the painting Brittany!

  10. I’ve always had to finagle someone into building one for me. Maybe it’s time to get a kreg jig.

    Hey, little tip: sometimes, depending on the material, the moisture of the gesso can cause the canvas to give a bit, not fit taut. If you take a damp sponge on the BACK side (unpainted), the moisture from the sponge will match the gessoed side and you’ll have a taut fit.

    Everyone once in a while I have a DIY tip. 😉

  11. Yep, it’s that Kreg jig that makes it easy peasy! Great tutorial Brittany!

  12. Harbor Freight sells a pocket jig for much less money than the Kreg. I’ve used and own both and I’d go with the Harbor Freight if this wasn’t something you wanted to invest heavily in. It works just as well with softer woods like pine.

  13. In the future, you should cut a 45 degree angle into the wood that touches the back of the canvas so that only like half a millimeter is actually touching the fabric. The way you’ve done this, while totally fine for your purposes, will give you a visible line in your paint where the edge of the wood is all around the canvas. You can see it starting to show up on your painting even. The middle stretcher should also sit about half an inch back from the canvas.

  14. Curious…do you need to go from side to side in drawing your canvas up to staple in order to bring the right amount of tension all the way around? Or did you simply work your way around the rectangle?

    • Susan,

      Yes, I’m sorry I should have mentioned that in my tutorial. I usually staple North, South, East and West first, then work my way around on opposite sides as I go. Thanks for pointing that out.

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  1. […] the way, here’s a great tutorial from Pretty Handy Girl on how to make your own canvas, which you can then paint following any of the above […]

  2. […] a great project if you want to go DIY all the way! Why not make your own canvas, you can customize it to any size you need. This is a project that I’ve pinned for […]

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