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canvas keys little pieces of wood

I know what those little pieces of wood that comes with canvas are intended for (and that they're called canvas keys), but I've never had need to use them. I keep putting them to one side, sure there should be something I could do with them, other than kindling for the fire.

Stick them onto a canvas for texture or fence posts? Glue them together to create a textured panel? Markers for what I've planted in my veggie plot? They do work for mixing paint and for mark-making, but that still leaves a pile.

What do you do with those little bits of wood that come with a canvas? Leave a comment below to let us know.

Image 2011 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.


March 3, 2011 at 8:14 am
(1) robin says:

Paint them and use as tiles and add mixed media supplies to make each different and then make a mosaic..!

March 3, 2011 at 8:14 am
(2) Lost Painters says:

You stick those little pieces in the corners of the frame. They add tension to the canvas so it does not flubber all the time.

March 3, 2011 at 9:30 am
(3) Pedric Ant says:

I think you Lost the Plot, Lost Painter. Re-read Marion’s first line. We all know what they are supposed to be for. But most modern canvasses don’t need them.

March 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm
(4) murray says:

I put them in the bottom drawer of my desk, I didnt know what they where

March 6, 2011 at 11:59 am
(5) wilt nelson says:

I have a huge bag of these wood “wedges” and never thought that I would ever use them as intended. However, when work started on a 48″ x 48″ canvas, a set was finally needed and used. It was surprising to see the frame corners open up and the canvas tighten. Should glue be added to the corners to keep the frame spread? Some canvas frames are not slotted for the wedges; why?

March 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm
(6) About.com Guide to Painting says:

Wilt, I believe that jamming the keys into the corners is enough to hold it, that you don’t need glue. Cheaper canvasses don’t have slots, and small sizes which would be unlikely to ever need it.

March 7, 2011 at 11:04 am
(7) Molly Nixon says:

I have a drawer full of these little keys..I know what they are for but since I don’t need to use them, and cannot bring myself to throw them away..I am waiting for some ingenious person to come up with a use!

March 7, 2011 at 10:39 pm
(8) Ace says:

Hi, I understand the question, but I keep them for canvases that are not stretched tightly. Gosh, I just ordered some, they are hard to find when you want to buy them. I hate the plastic ones, as they bend, or slip out. Keep them, you will see every once in awhile you will get a canvas that is not stretched very tight, and you will need them. Many painters now a days do not reall know how tight a canvas should be stretched, or how taught it should be. Mine are tight as a drum. Ace

March 8, 2011 at 4:20 am
(9) Marion BE says:

Ace — I’ve often thought that if I threw them all away that would be the day I had a large canvas that needed one. Agree about the plastic ones; they don’t do the job well at all.

June 20, 2011 at 7:03 am
(10) paintpiddlerdlux says:

The canvases I buy do not have wood corner keys anymore. But collecting them, since the early seventies, I put a hand full of them into the fireplace as kindling.
Yes, my grandchildren also use them for small projects. One made a ‘collaged’ picture frame to go on the painting he did for me as a grandparents day gift. We also use them for hopscotch markers and tiny boats to float in the ditch after a rain. I could site more examples but will save them for the book I’m writing.

November 19, 2011 at 8:50 pm
(11) Morgan says:

You put them in the back of the canvas to strech out the canvas

September 2, 2012 at 11:58 am
(12) Ramblin' jack says:

Actually only today I decided to use them, after making more moves than a hare at a course meeting I wandered out of my studio (old shed) muttering’pieces of ply’ ah! I’ve just had an idea for a painting …….

June 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm
(13) paintforlife says:

well I thank you lost painter cause I was clueless as to there original intent…

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