How to Make Your Own Eco Artist Canvas

By Natural Earth Paint ~

How to stretch, prime and find sustainable materials to make an eco-friendly artist canvas!

Plus a Bonus: 7 More sustainable surfaces to paint on (below)



Certified Organic Cotton Canvas

Stretcher Bars (options): 

Hire a local woodworker to make your stretcher bars with recycled or FSC certified wood OR find old paintings in yard sales and re-use those stretcher bars OR find pre-made sustainable bars at

- Eco Gesso Kit 

- Paint brush 

- Staple gun

- Staples




1. Place assembled stretcher bars on canvas. Measure 3-4 inches around the outside of the bars and cut off extra canvas.


Note: Cut fabric wide enough so there's room to fold over and pull on while you staple.


2. Edges:

Staple one staple on one side; pull canvas taut and then staple one on opposite side; then one staple on the next edge and then again on the side opposite of that edge. Continue on stapling once on each edge in an even, balanced way.

Continue until staples are spaced about 2 inches apart, but don't staple all the way to the corners - leave room for folding the corner fabric.

Note: Don't worry if staples don't go all the way in, flush to wood; you can always hammer them in later



3. Corners: 

Make 2 folds by sticking finger in. One starts from bottom of corner.

One starts from top of corner.


Fold over and staple in place several times until secure.


Note: Fabric will tighten on stretcher bars after gesso has been applied (don't worry about wrinkles)


4. Mix up a batch of Eco Gesso


5. Apply Gesso starting from the center of the canvas and moving outwards. Be sure to paint edges.

Apply 2-3 coats, letting each dry between.



BONUS: More Sustainable Surfaces to paint on.


  • Recycled Fabrics
  • Hemp Board: a type of medium density fiberboard made from the inner woody fibers of the hemp plant. It can be found at
  • FSC Certified Wood Panels
  • Bamboo
  • Reuse: Paint over an old painting with gesso and start fresh
  • Local & Handmade: Hire a local wood worker to make your stretcher bars with recycled wood
  • Hemp Canvas: As soon as it becomes legal to grow hemp in America, this will be a more affordable and wonderful option.