Producing the Canvas

The Nguni Story
June 2, 2015

Producing the Canvas

This article will deal with the process of manufacturing the end product/canvas that hangs from the wall.

It’s quite simple, really. It all begins with choosing the perfect image that has to go to canvas. Most importantly, the resolution of the digital image has to be big enough to fit the intended size of the canvas. For example, a 5MB image will fit an A0 and a 1MB image will fit an A4 canvas. I simply zoom the image to the intended size and judge the pixels: is it still clear or is it already blurring?

Because the canvas has a texture, it is far more forgiving than photo paper when printing sharp images. With photo paper you need to go as high as 300dpi (dots per inch), whereas with canvas printing the resolution can sometimes go as low as 100dpi to still get a good clarity and finish.

Once the image quality is sorted, it can be edited to create some digital effects. I do this in Corel Paintshop Pro x7. It is simpler to use than Photoshop and I like its features. Simple editing like cropping, colouring, object removal etc. can be done quickly. More advanced editing can also be done, like removing the background to focus on the subject. There are other interesting ways of changing the image, like taking a greyscale image and colouring the subject in any colour that is needed to fit a specific interior design or look.

I recently did four images for a company boardroom. The company specialises in road accident fund claims, and the pictures they requested needed some purple colouring added. The subject chosen was vintage cars with ladies dressed up in hats and formal dresses. I changed some of the cars and some of the ladies’ hats to different shades of purple. In the same way, you can have a greyscale image with a bright red rose, standing out and catching all the attention!

After choosing and editing pictures it’s off to the printer, where the image is printed in vivid colour on the Picasso canvas. The maximum print width is 1280mm and the length is only limited by the roll of canvas, which comes in 15 metre rolls. The images to be printed for the day are loaded into the printing software, allowing for gaps in between and making sure that there is enough canvas around the images on all four sides. This is to ensure that the canvas can fit around and over the frame for it to be stapled at the back. The prints take a few hours and up to a day to dry properly.

The frames are made up to size for all the different orders. They are made of 40 x 22mm supawood, which is easy to work with and does not warp or shrink. Long sections are simply cut to size and mitred on the corners, glued together with a belt clamp until dry and then stapled for extra strength on the joints. Then a centre cross brace is installed to keep the frame rigid. The front end, or face, of the canvas frame is pre-cut at a 10 degree angle to ensure the canvas doesn’t touch the front face of the frame, as that will be visible as a line on the image. Once the frame is complete, all the edges are sanded slightly, taking off the sharp edges.

Then it’s off to the canvas stretching part. To achieve a good end result, I designed a stretching clamp that grabs the ends of the canvas as it wraps around the back. It’s then simply tightened by a long threaded rod, pulling both edges towards the centre. Once it is tight, the two edges are stapled into place and the clamp released, to do it all over again on the other two edges. The corners are neatly cut and folded away, then stapled into place. All the excess canvas are trimmed away with a sharp knife and voila: the finished product is revealed!

The canvas is then wrapped in bubble plastic and sent off to the client to be hung on a wall with a simple nail or two, changing the whole look of the room in an instant!

Panoramic images are also done, as well as any custom sizes needed. Call us today on 0624838925 or send us a mail to arno@kenaicanvas.co.za to discuss your special canvas needs!

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