How to Choose the Right Stretcher Bars for Your Artwork

Your Guide to buying the best Stretcher Bars


Stretcher Bars are an essential tool for any artist who wants to frame their own artwork. They are a great way to create gallery-style stretched canvases, as they provide the support necessary to keep the canvas intact and free from sagging. This buying guide will provide detailed information about the different types of Stretcher Bars on the market, explain how to measure them correctly for your canvas, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using different types of Stretcher Bars. With this guide, you will be able to find the perfect set of Stretcher Bars for your artistic needs.

Key features

  • Size - The size of the stretcher bar should match the size of the canvas or surface to be stretched.
  • Material - The material of the stretcher bar is an important consideration. The material will determine the strength and stability of the bar.
  • Depth - The depth of the stretcher bar is important to consider when purchasing. Deeper bars provide more stability to the canvas.
  • Joints - The joints of the stretcher bar should be secure and tightly fitted. Loose joints may result in a weak canvas.
  • Hardware - Stretcher bars require the use of hardware such as screws and brackets. Make sure the hardware is strong and compatible with the bars.
  • Price - Price is an important factor when purchasing stretcher bars. Higher quality bars may be more expensive but are often worth the extra cost.

See the most popular Stretcher Bars on Amazon

Important considerations


  • Versatility - Stretcher Bars are highly versatile and can be used for various types of canvas stretching and support.
  • Durability - Stretcher Bars are known for their sturdy and durable properties, allowing for a long-term use.
  • Cost-Effectiveness - Stretcher Bars are often quite affordable, making them a great choice for budget-conscious buyers.
  • Variety of Sizes - Stretcher Bars come in a variety of sizes to accommodate a wide range of canvas sizes.
  • Easy to Mount - Stretcher Bars are easy to install and mount, and can be done quickly and efficiently.


  • Price - Stretcher bars can be quite expensive, especially if you are purchasing high-quality bars.
  • Size - Stretcher bars come in a variety of sizes, so it can be difficult to find the size that is right for your project.
  • Material Quality - Cheap stretcher bars may not last as long as more expensive bars, and may not be as strong or sturdy.
  • Difficulty of Use - Stretcher bars can be difficult to install and use, so they might not be suitable for an inexperienced user.

Best alternatives

    Stabilo Bars - Stabilo bars are an adjustable alternative to stretcher bars. They are designed to offer a secure and adjustable tensioning system for canvas stretching, allowing artists to control the tension of their canvas. Canvas Clamps - Canvas clamps are a simple and versatile alternative to stretcher bars. They are designed to grip around the edges of the canvas and securely hold it in place. Tension Clips - Tension clips are a quick and easy way to stretch canvas. They are designed to attach to the corners of the canvas and create tension on the surface of the canvas. Canvas Stretching Pliers - Canvas stretching pliers are a great alternative to stretcher bars. They are designed to be used with canvas stretching pliers to stretch and tension the canvas. Stretching Clamps - Stretching clamps are a great alternative to stretcher bars. They are designed to be used with stretching clamps to create tension on the canvas.

Related tools, supplies, and accessories

  • Stretcher Bars - Supports used to stretch canvas over a frame
  • Stapler - Used to secure the canvas to the stretcher bars
  • Tacks - Alternative to the stapler, used to secure the canvas to the stretcher bars
  • Stretcher Strip - Used to join multiple stretcher bars together
  • Brush - Used to apply paint to the canvas
  • Primer - Used to prepare the canvas before painting

Common questions

  1. What are stretcher bars? Stretcher bars, also known as picture bars, are thin strips of wood or metal used to frame and support a canvas for painting or other artworks.
  2. What sizes do stretcher bars come in? Stretcher bars come in a variety of sizes, usually measured in inches, and can be custom-made to fit any size canvas.
  3. What type of material should be used for stretcher bars? Stretcher bars are typically made of either wood or metal, though there are a few other materials that can be used such as aluminum or PVC.
  4. Do stretcher bars come with accessories? Yes, stretcher bars often come with accessories such as corner braces and corner keys to provide extra support and help keep the canvas in place.
  5. What is the best way to mount a canvas onto stretcher bars? The best way to mount a canvas onto stretcher bars is by using special glue designed specifically for canvas stretching. As an alternative, you can also use staples or tacks.
  6. Are stretcher bars easy to install? Yes, stretcher bars are fairly easy to install if you follow the manufacturer's instructions. Be sure to use the correct tools and take your time when assembling the stretcher bars.


An interesting fact about stretcher bars is that they have been used as far back as Ancient Greece and Rome, where they were used to stretch thin cloths and leather over wooden frames. Stretcher bars were also used to hold up canvas for paintings by famous artists such as Rembrandt and Rubens in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, stretcher bars are still used to stretch canvases for painting, but have also found a new use in framing and mounting of other artworks. This is an excellent way to display your artwork, while preserving it for future generations. Source

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.