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How To Frame Canvas Art

You don't need to pay top dollar to frame your DIY art. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to build your own wood frame for your canvas art.One of the challenges of creating DIY art on canvas is in deciding how best to display it – namely, whether or not to frame it. It’s easiest not to frame, of course, and this can often make a great statement displayed on its own or as part of a gallery wall. But seeing that the piece I had in mind was a mid-to-large-scale canvas (2′ x 3′) and seeing that all of my art and mirrors on the main floor of our bungalow are framed, I decided to have my DIY art blend in with what I already have (see ‘8 Wall Decor Ideas’ to catch a glimpse). In fact, it was after sharing this tutorial on How To Create Whitewash Art on the blog, that I decided to frame the piece that I had painted.  And with some help from my husband – my own personal instructor on how to use power tools 😉 – I had it framed and hung in no time.

So, if you’ve got a canvas art piece that you’ve been wanting to frame – on a budget – I’ll be showing you all the tricks and tips below on how to do this at home.

First, I’ll cover building the frame. Then I’ll tackle how to attach it to your canvas art.

MATERIALS – Building The Frame

How To Frame a Canvas - materials - building the frame

  • 4 pieces of wood
  • miter saw (or miter box and hand saw)
  • wood filler
  • putty knife/plastic scraper
  • sandpaper
  • woodworker’s triangle
  • wood glue
  • pencil
  • spray paint (with primer built in) (not pictured)
  • 4 weights of some kind (cans of paint, bricks, etc) (not pictured)

STEPS – Building The Frame

Cut 45-Degree Angle Corners

The process for building the frame is relatively straightforward:  cut 45-degree angles on the ends of all 4 pieces of wood using a miter saw. This will create those lovely angled corners that you see professional framers create for original art.

Before making your cuts, mark the points at which to make the cuts by laying the wood pieces along the edges of your canvas.

How To Frame Canvas Art - mark points to cut along wood pieces

Although a miter saw can be set for 45-degree angles, you can always use a woodworker’s triangle to draw in the angle to help guide you. (Great for us novices who need a bit of reassurance 😉 ).

How To Frame Canvas Art - mark 45-degree angles.

Using your miter saw, cut your angles for each piece.

How To Frame a Canvas - miter cut at 45-degree angle.

How To Frame a Canvas - miter cut at 45-degree angle.

If you don’t own a miter saw and are making your frame on a budget, then you can accomplish the same results using a miter box and hand saw. It will simply take a bit more elbow grease and time, but the results will be the same.

How To Frame a Canvas - Angled cuts using a miter box and hand saw.

Taking a piece of sandpaper, clean up the edges.

How To Make a Frame for Canvas Art - sandpaper edges

Glue Together

Attach the corners of your 4 pieces of wood with wood glue.

How To Frame a Canvas - glue corners.

How To Frame a Canvas - glue corners.

How To Frame a Canvas - glue corners.

Tip:  To keep the corners in place as they dry, put weighted items on the wood, such as paint cans or bricks. I recommend laying newspapers underneath to catch any glue that oozes out. Then wait to dry according to the instructions on the glue bottle. This may take anywhere from an hour or more. (However, if you are in a hurry, you can always break out nails and screws).

Wood Filler (optional)

Because this is a handmade frame, you may find that one of your corners don’t fit quit as snug as you’d like. In my case, one of the corners of my frame had a very narrow gap in it.

If that happens with your frame, it’s an easy fix. Taking your putty knife/scraper, get some wood filler on it.

How To Frame Canvas Art - wood filler for cracks.

And add generous amounts to the gap.

How To Frame Canvas Art - wood filler for cracks.

Scrape away the excess.

How To Frame Canvas Art - scrape away excess wood filler.

Let it dry, according to the instructions on the container (about 20 minutes). It will lighten as it dries. Use sandpaper to smooth out any bumps.

How To Frame Canvas Art - wood filler - let dry.

Spray Paint

Now your frame is ready to be stained or painted. I chose spray paint – because it just seemed like the easy choice! I chose a spray paint with a built-in primer and applied a few coats to achieve full coverage.

How To Frame a Canvas - Spray Paint Frame.

STEPS – Attaching The Frame

Once your frame is glued and painted, you are ready to attach it to your canvas.

MATERIALS – Attaching The Frame

These are the tools you will need:

How To Frame a Canvas - tools needed to attach frame.

  • drill
  • drill bits
  • screw driver
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • screw driver
  • wire clippers

And these are the supplies you will need:

How To Frame a Canvas - supplies to attach the frame.

  • 4 (or more) off-set clips OR flat braces (for attaching the frame directly to the canvas)
  • 2 D-ring hangers (for adding a picture hanging wire on the back)
  • gauge/framing wire

STEPS – Attaching The Frame

Attach Clips or Braces

To attach the frame to the canvas, you will need at least 4 clips or braces for each corner. Off-set clips are handy if your frame is not the same thickness as your canvas. In my case, the frame and canvas were the same thickness, so flat braces were all I needed.

1.  Place a brace at each corner and mark the holes to be drilled.  2.  Drill holes using your drill and appropriate size of drill bit (it should be slightly narrower than the screw you will be attaching).  3. Attach screws.  4.  The screws should sit flush against the braces.

How To Frame a Canvas - Attach brace.

Tip:  When drilling holes, drill about 3/4 the depth of the screws that you will be using to attach the braces. Doing this before attaching the screws is a good way to prevent the wood from splitting.

Attach The D-Rings

Using a pencil, mark the points at which each D-Ring will be attached onto the canvas frame.

How To Frame Canvas Art - measure location of D-rings.

Attach the D-Rings as follows (one on each side):  1. Mark the location to drill with a pencil.  2.  Drill hole.  3.  Attach screw.

How To Frame Canvas Art - Attaching D-Rings.

Tip:  As noted above, when choosing the drill bit, make sure to choose one that is slightly narrower than the screws.

Tip:  If you are new to using drills or are still a bit nervous using them – as I am – and are worried that you will drill too far, a great tip my husband suggested to me was to add tape to the drill bit to mark how far the drill should go. Any further than the tape, and you have gone too far.

How To Frame Canvas Art - measure drill depth.

Add Picture Hanging Wire

Using your wire clippers, snip off a long piece of your picture hanging wire.

How To Frame Canvas Art - cut length of wire.

Feed the wire through the loops of each D-Ring and begin twisting the ends.

How To Frame Canvas Art - twist wire.

Make sure the wire is attached straight. (It is a flexible wire that will slacken by a few inches once hung).

How To Frame Canvas Art - attached picture hanging wire.

The back of your framed piece should look something like this.

How To Frame Canvas Art - fully framed canvas art.

HANG & ENJOY!

Now your framed canvas art is ready for hanging!

You don't need to pay top dollar to frame your DIY art. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to build your own wood frame for your canvas art.

You don't need to pay top dollar to frame your DIY art. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to build your own wood frame for your canvas art.

You don't need to pay top dollar to frame your DIY art. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to build your own wood frame for your canvas art.

You don't need to pay top dollar to frame your DIY art. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to build your own wood frame for your canvas art.

You don't need to pay top dollar to frame your DIY art. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to build your own wood frame for your canvas art.

You don't need to pay top dollar to frame your DIY art. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to build your own wood frame for your canvas art.

You don't need to pay top dollar to frame your DIY art. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to build your own wood frame for your canvas art.

I truly hope this tutorial took out some of the mystery surrounding framing canvas art. It is far easier than it may seem. And using power tools became a whole lot more fun 😉

Happy framing 🙂

 

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Michelle
    November 24, 2016 at 8:16 am

    It looks lovely Jelica up on the wall and the frame makes it look like it was bought from a gallery. Aren’t power tool just amazing and once you start playing around with them, they become quite addictive. I’d rather get a new power tool than a diamond any day 😉

    • Reply
      Jelica
      November 24, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      Thanks Michelle – I appreciate the feedback on this frame. It was the perfect finish to this piece. I loved using the drill (a little more than I would have thought). I’m already plotting my next power tool purchase 😉

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