How to Display Unstretched Paintings on Canvas

By Bill Brown ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Binder clips
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Masking tape
  • Push pins, silver or clear

Displaying an unstretched painting on canvas is not an ideal way to hang a painting, but it can be done by using a method generally used for work on paper. It will make the painting look more like a tapestry and will give it a more sculptural and casual look than you would see with a work that has been stretched and framed. This method uses everyday materials, looks disarmingly simple, and has a studio-to-gallery look—you will see it used sometimes in contemporary art galleries.

Hanging the Painting

Lay out the unstretched painting on canvas on the floor or a table next to where you wish to hang it.

Mark the wall in light pencil at the height you wish to hang the painting, at the center point of the where the painting will hang.

Hold the binder clip so the steel wire flaps are flat against the angled sides of the clip and lips of the clip point down. Measure the distance on the binder clips from the tip of one of the steel flaps to the upper side of the clip.

Measure up from the pencil mark on the wall the distance measured on the clip, and make a light mark.

Using a level, work your way horizontally, to the left and right, and make a light mark on the wall where the left and right edges of the painting will hang.

Place a strip of masking tape on the wall at the level of the marks. The marks should be visible. This creates a level line across the wall.

Place a push pin an inch in from the left and right side of the painting, and insert more push pins in the wall at even intervals.

Place the binder clips on the top edge of your canvas, estimating where the push pins will fall. The binder clips should be in the upward position, with the wire flaps against the clip, not downward and touching. Attach the clips so they touch only raw or primed canvas, not the actual painting.

Lift the painting and hang binder clips on push pins, sliding them to the left or right as necessary.

About the Author

Bill Brown has been a freelance writer for more than 14 years. Focusing on trade journals covering construction and home topics, his work appears in online and print publications. Brown holds a Master of Arts in liberal arts from St. John's University and is currently based in Houston.