How to Attach Canvas to Foam Core Boards


Attaching canvas to foam core boards is like stretching canvas over stretcher bars. Foam core board comes in thicknesses from one-quarter inch to one-half inch, found in most craft stores, or it can be specially ordered to thicknesses of four or five inches. It can range in size from as small as 8 inches by 10 inches to a full 4-foot by 8-foot sheet. For home projects, a one-quarter, three-sixteenths, or one-half inch foam core board makes a firm foundation for stretched canvas

Things You'll Need

  • Foam core board
  • Scrap piece of cardboard or self-healing cutting mat
  • Box cutter knife
  • Canvas
  • Scissors
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Multipurpose spray adhesive
  • Decide on the thickness and sizes of foam core board needed for the project. Cut the foam core board to desired size using the box cutter. Lay it flat on top of a self-healing cutting mat or a scrap piece of cardboard to protect the cutting surface from damage.

  • Using scissors, cut a piece of canvas 2 inches larger than the foam core board it is to cover.

  • Protect your work surface with plastic sheeting. Place canvas right side down on a table or other flat service. Make sure it is smooth and wrinkle free.

  • Lightly spray the foam core board with the adhesive. Wait 30 seconds for the adhesive to become tacky, and then lay the board onto the canvas, centering it visually.

  • Flip the project over so the canvas is right side up. Begin in the center of the board and gently smooth the canvas outward to the edges to get rid of wrinkles and air bubbles.

  • Wait 10 minutes. Turn the project over so the foam core board is showing. Spread the excess canvas flat on the work surface.

  • Spray one short edge of the foam core board with the adhesive, enough to fold the canvas over onto the board. Repeat at the other short end.

  • Fold over one long side of the canvas onto the foam core board. The peak of canvas at the corner will be too bulky to lay flat. Hold the peak straight up and clip away the fabric a little at a time until it can be folded one-quarter inch under into a clean, tight miter. Repeat for the other corner.

  • Spray the long side of the foam core board with adhesive and fold over the canvas. Fold corners one-quarter inch under and stick to the adhesive.

  • Repeat steps 8 and 9 for the other long side.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a multipurpose spray adhesive because it sprays on tacky before setting permanently, allowing time to adjust the fabric or smooth out wrinkles. A permanent adhesive is unyielding and will damage your materials if you do not get it right the first time. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using a spray adhesive and use in well-ventilated areas. The back of the project does not need to be perfect. Tack the excess canvas down with duct tape or two-sided tape if the back of the project is not going to be displayed.
  • Protect surfaces from damage from the cutting knife. A craft store that carries quilting supplies is a good place to find a self-healing cutting mat. If the cutting is done outdoors on top of cement or a wood deck, a piece of cardboard under the foam core board will prevent the blade from dulling too quickly. Do not use staples to secure your fabric unless the foam core board is thick enough and the staples will not punch through.

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