A tropical location is a great idea for a summer wedding. Destination weddings work best for smaller wedding parties, as it can be difficult for guests to travel to exotic locations. But, for those who can attend, it can double as a vacation for them and the perfect honeymoon spot for you and your new spouse. If you aren’t familiar with the area, you will definitely want to work with a local planner to make sure things flow smoothly. A tropical location means your venue will be marked by natural beauty so you can focus on other details. Depending on your location, you might want to serve local cuisine, maybe luau-style if you are in Hawaii. For this inspiration board, I’m loving the use of local florals, focusing on brilliant pink blooms paired with lush greenery. A flowy beach dress with flower necklaces for you or your party would add a nice touch to the event design. Check out my full inspiration board on Pinterest.
The obvious difference between cotton and linen canvas is in the raw materials, but how does that affect your painting?
Linen is the more traditional option used by artists and its use dates back to the Renaissance. This type of canvas is made from fibers of the flax plant. Advantages to using linen canvas include that it is stronger, thicker, and more durable than cotton. Although specialty art supply stores carry some pre-stretched linen canvas options, it typically comes in rolls to be stretched on a frame by the artist. But keep in mind, since it is very thick, linen can be difficult to stretch if you are inexperienced. Linen canvas can also have an imperfect weave that adds texture to a painting, which may or may not be a feature you desire. Ultimately, a main disadvantage to linen canvas is that it is more expensive. The raw material is not as readily available, as most of the high-quality flax comes from Belgium, but cotton grows almost world-wide. And here’s a fun side note: some oil painters choose linen because the binder in oil paint (typically linseed oil) derives from the flax plant just like linen does, creating a nice harmony between the materials.
Cotton canvas as a painting support is a twentieth-century idea. It is lighter, more cost effective, and has a more consistent weave than linen. It is also stretchier, making it easy to prepare yourself if purchased in rolls or sheets. But one of the advantages of cotton canvas is that it is widely available pre-stretched in many standard sizes, which can save you a lot of time and effort. One downside to the stretchiness of the cotton is that over time paintings can sag on their frame. This is not likely to happen if you use a thick, professional-grade canvas (12 oz and up). Cotton canvas comes in different levels of weight and quality, so check carefully when purchasing. If you are buying a pre-stretched canvas, inspect it for imperfections and make sure the canvas is stretched tight.
So what should you use? Really, it comes down to artist’s preference, but here are some things to consider when choosing your canvas. Weight: How durable do I need my canvas to be? Will I be working with thick layers of paint, or is my technique lighter? Texture: Will canvas texture matter (keeping in mind some of this will be covered and smoothed with primer)? Will it remain visible in the finished work? Finally, Cost: How much can I afford to spend on art materials? Should I spend less or more on pieces I know will be experimental or perhaps shown in a gallery?
Hopefully this guide helps you to understand some of the differences between cotton and linen canvas. Ultimately, both will make excellent painting supports if you choose high-quality materials and prepare and prime them well.
Pulling off a formal garden wedding depends greatly on the venue, which of course will need to capture the theme. Look for a botanical garden and inquire about the peak blooming season for the perfect wedding date. An arbor with climbing roses or pedestals overflowing with flowers will really create a statement for the ceremony. Throughout the venues for the ceremony and reception, include lush florals in blush and white wherever possible. Gold accents and elegant details, like vintage china and antique furniture, are other ways to bring this look together and create a pretty yet sophisticated theme. Check out my full inspiration board on Pinterest.
Don’t be intimated by framing art on canvas yourself. Here’s some tips on how to frame paintings on canvas based on the painting’s profile size.
Canvas with a Traditional Profile (thickness of 1 inch or less)
There are two main options for framing a canvas with a traditional profile: a standard frame or floating frame. Standard frames can be purchased prebuilt or if you are framing an odd size you can buy individual pieces and assemble the frame yourself. These options are available for both metal and wood frames. Many artists work with pre-stretched canvases, which means there is a good chance that if the work is a standard size a prebuilt frame can be used. Once you have your frame, pop the painting in from the back and secure with either the packaged hardware (metal frames typically will come with this), or for wood frames you can use offset clips (which are screwed in) or a point driver (which shoots metal points into a wood frame to tightly hold a work in place). The second framing option is to use floating frames, which is my personal preference. I find them to have a more modern look and you can still see a some of the painting’s edge while giving a canvas with a thin profile some bulk. Attach the painting from the back with hardware screwed through the floater frame and into the stretcher bars. Floating frames typically come in smaller, standard sizes, so they can’t be used for all works. But they can really set off a painting, especially small paintings that need a little more body.
Deep Canvas (thickness of 1 inch or more)
If the canvas has a “gallery” or “museum” profile (thick canvas bars that are usually 1.5 or 2.5 inches), it doesn’t necessarily require a frame. These paintings, especially abstract works, are deep enough to stand on their own without a frame. Ideally, the artist has painted the edges solid or allowed the painting to flow over the edge. However, if you are interested there are frames available from online sellers that accommodate deeper profiles.
Unstretched Canvas or Paintings on Paper
There are a couple of options for paintings on unstretched canvas. One is to stretch the work on stretcher bars. If you are going to stretch the painted canvas, you might want to ask the artist if they are able to stretch it, take it to a framer, or follow my tutorial here. Once it’s stretched you can frame it as described above. Another option is to mat and frame it like a work on paper (see my blog post on how to do this). You might also choose to mount the painting, in which case I would use PVA glue to adhere the canvas to an archival support such as mat board or a wood panel. If you are matting or mounting within a frame, leave at least several inches around the painting so it has a little breathing room.
Finish It Up
You can now add your hanging hardware (more details in my blog here). I typically use screw eyes and wire. Pro tip: If you want to finish your work like the professionals, glue a sheet of butcher paper to the back edges of the frame and use a razor blade to trim it to the exact size. Then add your hardware. Now your painting is ready to hang.
A black and white themed wedding is elegant, stylish, and easy to pull together. Just check out some of these ideas here: mixing a white cascading garland, flowing dress, and oversized balloons with a touch of black as an accent. You could go all-in for a true black-tie wedding or you could keep things more casual. This color palette is more versatile than it might initially seem. One benefit to using such a limited palette is that is makes matching all of the details a breeze. Plus, when you look back at your wedding photos, your event will always seem timeless and sophisticated, not trendy or faddish. Check out my full inspiration board on Pinterest.
You’ve poured your heart and soul into a painting. Now what should you do to get it ready to display? If you’ve created a painting on paper, it’s ready to frame. Read about framing options for works on paper in my blog post here. If it is a painting on canvas, there are just a few more things to do to get it ready to hang.
Varnish the Painting
There are different formulas of varnish for oil and acrylic paintings, so choose the right one for your work. There are many brands out there, but I personally like Gamblin for oils and Liquitex for acrylics. Varnishes have different finishes (gloss, matte, satin) to fit your taste. I prefer a gloss or semi-gloss finish, because I like the painting to look like it was just finished and it prevents the painting from looking dull. Make sure your painting is completely dry before varnishing, not just dry to the touch. For an acrylic painting this will probably be a couple of days, and for an oil painting a couple of weeks or even more depending on the thickness of the paint. Always read the instructions on your particular varnish, but the technique is essentially this: using a wide brush, sweep the varnish back and forth quickly on the surface in thin layers. Apply several very thin coats, drying completely between each. You will want to work in a dustless room if possible, as dust will settle into wet varnish and stick.
Add Hanging Hardware
The most user-friendly and cost-effective option is to use screw eyes and wire, available at any craft or hardware store. Screw eyes come in different sizes, so choose one that seems appropriate to the size of the art (smaller screw eyes for smaller projects, larger for larger – you want the screw to grip into the stretcher bar securely). Twist screw eyes directly into the wooden stretcher bars about a quarter of the way down the sides of the painting. Cut the picture hanging wire several inches longer than the width of the art and thread it through the screw eyes. Loop the wire ends around itself to secure. Don’t leave too much “slack” in the wire or the painting will sag on the wall, and never let the wire come up past the top of the painting when pulled taut. You can also frame your painting (read my canvas framing tips here), which I like to do if the canvas has a thin profile (an inch or less).
Sign Your Work
Add the finishing touches to your work by signing and dating your painting. You may also want to title the work and photograph or inventory it for your records, if that’s important to you or if you are selling your art. I prefer to sign the back of the work so my signature doesn’t distract from the art, but that is a personal preference. Now your work is ready to hang. For hanging tips, read my guide here.
The approach here is to keep everything simple and use elements that are minimal in their design. The neutral color palette I’m using consists of bridal white (for her dress, linens, flowers, etc.), natural greenery, and black details. To further emphasize this limited palette, avoid anything heavily textured. Stick to fabrics, including dress material, that are sleek and have few embellishments. Bouquets and centerpieces should be greenery-heavy, and paper items will look their best with basic, black text. These elements together create a kind of understated style that will be endlessly beautiful. A venue with modern architecture and bright natural light will also help to bring this look to life. Check out my full inspiration board on Pinterest.
Matting and framing art yourself is a great way to save on costs and it’s simple if you know how to choose the right materials. Here are a few expert tips to make this process super easy.
Choosing the Mat Board
Artworks on paper (this includes paintings, drawings, pastels, prints, mixed media, photographs, etc.) are best displayed by matting them within a frame. The colors and textures of mat board are endless, but to get a professional look I suggest using a neutral color (soft white or cream is universally flattering) and a smooth surface that compliments the work. Choosing a colored mat that “matches” the work will actually distract, and doesn’t convey a sense of professionalism. A neutral ground helps the art to stand out, and ultimately, you want to notice the art – not the mat and frame. I love pairing a white mat with a black frame for a simple and high-quality look. This combo works with almost any work of art.
Sizing and Matting
You can cut mats yourself or you can have someone cut them for you (at a framer or even craft stores like Michaels). The easiest option is to purchase a pre-cut mat, which comes in a range of standard sizes. Whether cutting it yourself or buying a pre-cut mat, you will want the mat to slightly cover the edges of the work (about 1/4 inch on each side). Adhere the work on the back with tape (preferably archival tape, but masking tape works too). Use just enough tape to hold the work in place in case it ever needs to be removed from the mat. Keep in mind if you are cutting your own mat to leave plenty of breathing room around the art, at least 2 inches on each side. The larger the art, the wider the mat should be. Never skimp on the mat width. A wide mat has a way of setting off even a small artwork and making it look impressive.
Frame Your Matted Work
The next step is to assemble your frame with your matted work. For ease, I recommend buying a readymade frame with hanging hardware. These come with a removable backing that allows you to insert and secure your art. Like with the mat, I suggest choosing neutral colors (black metal or wood that has been painted black or stained). Again, you want the frame to support and show off the work, not distract. You will also want to choose a style of frame that matches the work. A large, floral work might stand a more ornate frame, while a small, minimal work might be best in a thin, simple frame. When in doubt, a plain black frame always looks great. Once your work is in its frame, you can add the hanging hardware that came with it or you may need to add screw eyes and hanging wire, which can be found at any craft or home improvement store. For tips on how to hang your art, read this blog post.
A brunch event is a great idea for a cost-friendly wedding. Venues can be cheaper because of the earlier hours (they can still host an evening event after yours), and breakfast foods are typically more affordable. If you are having a small gathering, check with your favorite local café or consider hosting it at your home to save on additional costs. This is also a wonderful idea for a bridal shower or for a morning-after brunch – something my husband and I did for our out of town wedding guests. For the event, bring out all the breakfast goodies: a mimosa bar, lots of coffee, and donuts. I suggest using warm colors (think: yellows, oranges, and the popular living coral) with gold accents. A few flowers on the table and some balloons in the same color scheme can tie the space together on a low budget. Your celebration will feel cozy and cheerful and will leave your guests feeling bright-eyed and caffeinated. Check out my full inspiration board on Pinterest.
Stretching a canvas is a simple process. You just need raw canvas, stretcher bars, and a staple gun. The biggest thing to remember is to keep the canvas square to the stretcher bars and pull tight. Follow these simple steps to stretch your own canvas.
Choose Your Materials
Begin with raw, unprimed linen or cotton canvas. Linen is the more traditional painting surface, particularly for oils, but cotton is cheaper and more commonly used today. The type of canvas you use really comes down to your personal preference. You will also need to choose your stretcher bars, which will determine the size of your painting. Typically, stretcher bars are purchased in individual lengths by the inch. These will need to be fit together and attached with wood glue and a staple gun at the corners. Keep in mind that you may need cross bars to support your stretcher bar frame if you are creating a very large painting.
Measure and Cut the Canvas
Lay out the canvas under the assembled stretcher bar frame and cut the canvas to the correct size. You want the canvas to be about 2 inches wider than the stretcher bars on each side. Make a small cut with scissors into the canvas and then rip the canvas the rest of the way. Ripping the canvas instead of cutting it prevents future fraying and actually makes a straight line because it follows the fibers of the canvas.
Staple the Canvas
Center the stretcher bar frame over the canvas. On one side, pull the canvas up and over the back of the stretcher bar and secure in the middle with a staple gun. Do the same thing on the opposite side - pull the canvas tight and place one staple through the canvas and into the middle of the stretcher bar. Repeat for the other two sides. Now starting at your first staple, pull the canvas tight and staple about 3 inches to the right of the first staple. Rotate the canvas 90 degrees, pull tight, and staple again about 3 inches from the previous staple. You may want to use canvas pliers to help you get a tighter pull. The canvas should be tight like a drum. Continue this process of rotating, pulling, and stapling. As you work, you will see a diamond shape form in the canvas. This is a sign you are getting the canvas tight. As you work toward the edges, the diamond shape will disappear. When you get to the edges, fold the corners over neatly, and staple several times on the back until secure.
Prime the Canvas
Prime the surface with gesso. (You can read my step-by-step guide on how to do this here.) Gesso primes the surface by making it a uniform color, but it also helps tighten up the canvas even more. I like to use Utrecht acrylic gesso under both oil and acrylic paintings. Once you do this, your canvas is ready to paint.
Additional Tips on Stretching a Pre-Primed or Painted Canvas
To stretch a canvas that has already been primed or to stretch a painted canvas, keep in mind you will need to pull extra tight as the canvas won’t have as much “give” because of the layers of paint. You can also add canvas keys to tighten the stretcher bars if necessary. Canvas keys are oddly-shaped pointed pieces of wood that often come with your canvas or stretcher bars. Carefully hammer them into the inside corners of your stretcher bars to slightly expand the width of the bars and thus pull the canvas tighter. Also, if you are stretching a finished painting, keep checking as you stretch to make sure it remains square on the frame.