220 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60604 (312) 431-9588
An Oversize Canvas Solves A Framing Dilemma
Our client came in with a problem we had never seen before: She was a huge Star Wars fan and had acquired, at a Star Wars Convention, a print that contained a collage of images of all the characters and their depiction in all of the Star Wars films. It measured 12 feet, 2 1/8" long x 16" tall. She had talked to a dozen and a half frame shops and got the same answer from them all: "We can't frame it, since you cannot get plexiglass that is long enough or a frame that is long enough."
Luckily for her (and us), we had a solution: A client of ours, about 2 years ago, was curating a collection of art for a new apartment building in Chicago and had obtained a paper print of some artwork. Only problem: It needed to be a canvas. So, we contacted a printer nearby our shop, with whom we partner a lot, and asked if he could scan the print and output it on canvas. "Yes, I can" was the answer, and so we obtained the image on canvas and framed it for the client. Fast forward to this project: We asked our printer the same question about something this long. The answer was, again, "Yes, I can." He has a continuous feed scanner that allowed him to scan all 146 1/8" of the signed print and, then, output it onto canvas. Once on canvas, it did not need to be covered in plexiglass, unlike artwork on paper, which needs the protection of glass or plexi to keep from deteriorating.
He ran some tests, showed them to us, and then proceeded to print the canvas to the full size we needed. Once we got it, we gave it 4 coats of Krylon Crystal Clear protective spray, since it is just ink sitting on top of canvas and might get abraided.
Then, we ordered in a custom-cut hybrid stretcher by Richeson Art of Kimberly, Wisconsin, to the size we required. They offer a canvas stretcher bar that is a hybrid blend of aluminum and wood. It allows us to splice two of the stretcher bars that, when bolted together, form each of the two long dimension stretcher bars. They were, both, cut to 73 1/16" long so that, when lap-spliced, became 146 1/8" long. Also, we ordered 4, 16" crossbars to give the stretcher stability. and rigidity when stretched. These are the same type of bars we used to stretch the 10 oversize canvases for Anne Imhoff's exhibition, in 2019, in the Modern Wing of The Art Institute of Chicago.
Once stretched, we designed a spliced, matte black floater frame by Evald Moulding that went all the way around the canvas with a splice on each long side, though we put the splice in two different spots on each long frame rail, so as not to create a weak spot in the overall length. Once glued together, screw reinforced and touched up,the splices were barely noticeable.
The splice was cut at a 45 degree angle. Each half of the frame had one short rail and one longer rail. The other end of the frame was the mirror image of this one.
For hanging, we attached 2, large, 3-hole D-rings, one on each end of the frame and a slightly smaller one in the middle to prevent sagging.
It all went together beautifully. But there was one small problem that needing an additional solution: getting it up into their apartment on the third floor of their building. Our client already had a solution. Since the fully boxed frame was too long to fit in the elevator or a stairwell, they figured out that, if we roped the box up, they could haul it up from outside the building onto their balcony. After wrapping the whole framed canvas in foam, and creating a corrugated cardboard skin for the whole thing, we ran two lengths of heavy sisal twine all around the box the long way, first. Then, we ran smaller loops of twine around the shorter circumference of the box, tying them to the long cords. We did this every 2 feet the entire length of the box. This gave the client more than enough to tie their rope onto. Suffice to say that the box made it up to the 3rd floor balcony without mishap and they were able to unbox and hang it right away. It looks great on their wall!
One final note: This work of art is, probably, covered by a copyright. It was reproduced solely for the purpose of being able to frame it, not for multiple copy reproduction for commercial purposes. If you want us to do the same for you, you will have to buy your own, original copy of the paper print.
Framing design, project management and photography by Brian D. Flax, CPF Photo of art on wall in client's home provided by Emily Herrington. Frame, stretcher construction and final fitting by by Dana L. Fisher, MCPF and Kelly Spruth, CPF Images shown by kind permission of our client, Emily Herrington
M-F 9:00am - 5:30pm SAT 10:00am - 5:00pm SUN Closed