My DIY Floating Frame for Canvas Technique

My DIY Floating Frame for Canvas Technique

DIY wood frame for canvas

As an artist, I am always looking for new ways to display my paintings in the most beautiful and unique ways.  Framing a painting is one of the easiest ways to make an oil or acrylic painting stand out, and add that finishing touch. However if you've ever priced having your artwork framed, you know that it can be a costly endeavour.  So, what to do if you've purchased a new artwork from your favourite artist and are now faced with the cost of framing it as well?

Let me share with you how I have begun to frame my latest pieces!  If you have access to a mitre saw, and a few simple tools you can also create a frame for almost any piece of art that you own!

Step-by-step instructions on how to make a floating frame for canvas art

for my 14x18" x 1 1/2" deep canvas painting 

Tools needed:

  1. Wood strips                                                                                                       - two pieces of 1x3x4 oak hobby wood from Home Depot                             - one piece of 1x2x8 pine for backing  wood glue
  2. clamps
  3. finishing nails
  4. woodworking square
  5. wood glue
  6. painters tape


Step 1:

I like a 1/4" gap between my canvas and the frame which gives it the "floating" look, so I cut two 14 1/2" pieces and two 18 1/2" pieces.  (Remember that this is the inside length of the piece.  When you cut a 90 degree corner, the outside edge will end up longer.)  

Step 2:

Once you have your pieces cut, glue all the edges and lay them out with the outside edges on the sticky side of a piece of painters tape - beginning with the top piece, a side piece, the bottom piece and then the other side piece.  Make sure the pieces are touching.  Slowly fold each piece towards the other until you have the frame made.  

Step 3:

Working quickly, check that your frame is square by checking the edges with your woodworking square.  Once you are satisfied that it is square on all sides, add a piece of tape to hold the frame together and allow it to dry for the time specified on the glue bottle.

Step 4:

It is now time to cut the pieces that will hold your canvas.  with the wide side on the table, measure the long width of your frame, which should be 18 1/2".  Cut two pieces and glue them to the inside of your frame flush with the back edge of the frame and clamp in place.

Step 5:

Once the first two back edges are dried, measure the length needed for the short back edge pieces and glue and clamp them.  Allow to dry.

Step 6:

Once the glue has dried, drill the smallest hole possible that will just fit a finishing nail inside it into each of the four corners, making sure that it goes through the outer frame and into the back support pieces.  I prefer to drill near the back of the frame so that it is less visible and holds both pieces together.

Step 7:

Roll the end of your finishing nail into the wood glue and insert them into each hole.  You might need to use a nail punch to drive them down into the hole.  If you don't have a hole punch simply use the pointy end of a larger nail and hammer that to push your finishing nail into the frame.  Allow to dry.

Step 8:

Sand the frame with a fine sandpaper and varnish with the gloss finish you wish.  I used a clear semi-gloss to give just a touch of sheen but allow the natural wood grain to show through.



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