A step by step, easy tutorial for how to frame a canvas.
I recently completed a little art project with a large canvas and some spackle art. If you need some giant art on the wall, this a really cool and inexpensive way to do it! But, it didn’t quite feel complete without a wood frame around it. So today I’m walking you through exactly how I framed this 30×40 inch canvas using cheap wood.
Let’s get started.
Things You’ll Need
- 1×2 furring strips long enough to cover each side of your canvas, plus scrap pieces for the support
- Miter Saw with ability to make 45 degree angled cuts (see note for another option)
- Wood Glue
- Tape Measure (how to read a tape measure)
- Brad Nailer with 18 guage 1-½ inch brad nails (you can also use a hammer and nails)
- Wood Stain and old rags or brush to apply
- Square and/or Right Angle Clamp
- Orbital Sander with 180 grit sandpaper
- Wood Filler (optional)
Note: Instead of making mitered corners, you can also just attach the wood on top of one another in each corner. I prefer the look of mitered corners, but this is definitely another option if you don’t have a miter saw and it will work just the same.
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How to Frame a Canvas
How to Make a Floating Wood Frame for a Canvas
Total time: 2 days
Measure and Mark Wood and Make Wood Cuts for Frame
This part is pretty simple because you can use your canvas as a guide here (or you can use your tape measure the old fashioned way). Here’s how I did it. I held the 1×2 wood piece up against the side of my canvas, and made a mark in each corner where I needed to make my 45 degree angle cuts. I used my miter saw to make 45 degree angle cuts at these marks on each end in the opposite direction (like a trapezoid shape.) Make sure your wood is standing up in the saw when you make your cuts. I followed this step with the other three sides. So I basically measured and cut each piece one at a time.
Glue Wood Frame Together
Using wood glue, we are going to attach the canvas frame together. I used my right angled clamp for this to ensure each piece was at a 90 degree angle. You can also use clamps and a square to do this. This part was not hard, just long because I only have 1 right angle clamp. So I had to wait until the wood glue dried in each corner before moving on to another corner. Make sure the wood glue is dry before moving on to the next step.
Brad Nail the Corner Pieces Together
Use your Brad Nailer to pop a couple nails in each corner for extra stability. You can also use a hammer and nails (carefully) if you don’t own a brad nailer. If you find that you have small gaps in the corners, you can use a bit of wood putty to close it up.
Sand and Stain Frame
Since your canvas sits inside the frame, you want to sand and stain the frame early so the stain has enough time to dry and won’t get on your canvas. Sanding your frame will even out the wood putty, if you used, and also make the nail holes from the previous step almost non existent! Make sure to apply wood stain on the inside and outside of the frame. I used the stain Provincial. You can also follow up with a coat of polyurethane at this step to protect your frame, walls and also further strengthen the frame.
Cut Frame Supports
Using scrap pieces of 1×2, we are going to cut 4 corner braces. These are the support pieces that will hold up the frame from the back. This time, we are cutting them at a 45 degree angle with the wood laying flat in our miter saw. It doesn’t really matter if these pieces are all perfectly even, since they will sit behind the canvas and you won’t see them.
Attach Supports to the Frame
Lay your canvas frame down on the ground, insert the canvas, and then attach the angled wood supports in each corner using wood glue. I opted to insert my canvas in first so I could see how it would lay inside the frame. I used clamps in each corner to tighten the canvas to the frame, and this pulled each corner brace support in tighter while the wood glue dried.
Attach Corner Supports to Canvas
Optional: Brad Nail Canvas to Frame
If you really want to make sure your canvas is secure, you can pop a few brad nails in the top where the frame and canvas meet. I would nail while you have the frame clamped to the canvas so it’s a tight fit. You can also repeat this step for the bottom. This way, you won’t be able to see the brad nails on the sides.
Additional Tutorial Photos:
And that’s essentially it for this DIY! This is not perfect by any means, in fact, I realized after the fact that I had cut one of my corners too long and so there is a little too much float space on the one side of my canvas. But I think I can cover this up by painting the wood support piece black or navy to match the wall and I don’t think it will be too noticeable from the front once it’s hanging on the wall.
How do I hang this?
You might be wondering how you will hang this since it’s a homemade frame. I think you have a number of options, but here is what I did. I really didn’t want to hang it from the top since that would pull on the top frame piece and potentially cause it to break over time. So I screwed two D rings on either side of the canvas frame – about 1/4 of the way down the frame. Then, I tied on two pieces of heavy duty picture wire to the D rings and hung it up with a picture hanger rated for 50lbs. Finally, I used a level to make sure it was nice and straight.
Can I just buy a frame?
Yes, you can look at purchasing a floater frame for your canvas. I know places like Michael’s offers custom framing as well as pictureframes.com.
Go here if you want to make this DIY Spackle Art!