What is Gallery Wrapped Canvas?

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We use the gallery wrap canvas technique for our photo prints. But exactly what is gallery wrapped canvas?

Gallery wrapped canvas offers a clean, modern look. The canvas fabric is wrapped over a wooden stretcher frame, and the image extends around the edges, creating a finished effect. This eliminates the need for the external frame you see with many traditional canvas paintings or prints.

We think gallery wrap is the best technique for displaying photo canvas prints – robust in structure, with a timeless gallery aesthetic that looks fantastic in any setting.

When you order a canvas print from MYPICTURE, we print your photo on real archival-grade canvas. Then we attach the printed canvas to its wooden stretcher frame – by folding the edges of canvas round the back of the frame bars. So we literally wrap the canvas around the frame…hence the name “wrapped canvas”!

Read on to find out more.

In this article:

What is Gallery Wrapped Canvas? Gallery wrapped canvas in making.

“So the technique’s been used for hundreds of years?”

Yes! Canvas has been used as a base for paintings since as far back as the 14th century. It’s very strong, but because it’s a fabric it has a supple organic appeal that hard surfaces can’t match.

Of course, this also means that it needs to be stretched tight so that the painting looks exactly as the artist intended. That’s where the stretcher frame comes in.

Once the canvas has been securely fastened at the back of the frame, the painted (or printed) front of the picture is pulled taut like a trampoline. A professionally stretched canvas – like the ones sold at MYPICTURE – won’t have a bulge or ripple in sight.

What is Gallery Wrapped Canvas? Photo of happy elderly couple on canvas.

“Surely there have been a few changes since then?”

Well, there’s been the odd tweak here and there! A canvas print bought at our shop will have the same basic structure as a traditional gallery wrapped picture, but with a handful of 21st-century upgrades:

What is Gallery Wrapped Canvas? Close-up of stretched canvas print.

Note that there’s one way that we HAVEN’T updated the gallery wrap technique – and we’re very proud about it too!

What is Gallery Wrapped Canvas? Stretching canvas over frame.

“How can I spot a high-quality gallery wrap?”

Production models have gone through a lot of changes since the early days of the Royal Academy. Thanks to automation, canvas print providers can turn out gallery wrapped frames at a rate unthinkable in the 1700s.

This has brought prices way down. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes done the same to quality standards. So when you buy a canvas, we recommend sticking to a trusted name in the printing industry rather than choosing your provider on price alone.

What is Gallery Wrapped Canvas? Canvas print with photo of happy woman.

Here’s what to look for if you want to be sure your gallery wrapped canvas print is the real deal:

MYPICTURE canvas prints give you all this and more. Streamlined production means we can keep our prices unbeatably low without compromising on quality.

So if you want to experience a gallery wrapped canvas as it ought to be, you're in the right place.

What is Gallery Wrapped Canvas? Two canvas prints with photo of young man.​​​

“Is a Canvas with Premium Frame different from a gallery wrapped canvas?”

Just to be clear, every canvas print you order at MYPICTURE comes gallery wrapped on a wooden stretcher frame. If you choose a Premium Frame for your print, this will be a second outer frame in addition to the inner wooden frame.

Our Premium Frames are so-called “shadow gap” frames (also known as “floating” frames) which surround the wrapped stretcher frame, leaving a narrow gap between the inner and outer frames.​

We think the gallery wrap effect is an essential part of a canvas print’s appeal. And that’s why we chose the “shadow gap” design for our outer frames – so the neatly-wrapped canvas edges of the stretcher frame remain visible inside the gap.

Unlike the wood stretcher frame, which comes included in the price, you’ll need to spend a little extra if you want a Premium Frame for your print. But we're sure you won't regret it. The frames come in a range of elegant designs – more information here.


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