DIY Canvas Frame

You guys! I made a frame! A from-scratch, extra-large, perfectly fitting wooden frame. I realize in the blog/DIY world of incredible homemade furniture and construction projects, this is not all that impressive. But for this construction novice (that term is probably even a bit generous), this is a pretty big deal!

Canvas Frame-001

Let’s rewind about 7 months or so when I found this fantastic over-sized art at our local (and horribly under-stocked) Marshalls. After hunting for a piece of large-scale art with all of our room colors for years, I was so stoked to come across this one for a mere $70.

Canvas Frame-002

I loved the painting, but I always felt like it looked a bit random within a room of all framed art/photos. And since I had it all alone on a big wall, I often thought it needed a bit more oomph. In recent months, I came across a few different DIY frame tutorials and the seed was planted deep in my Projects To Try Someday List.

For a while, I figured the project was too hard. In recent weeks, I read the blog posts a little closer and realized this was well within my skill set. I gave it a whirl, and after quite a bit of trial and error (hence my bad DIY weekend last weekend!), I successfully made a frame! Woo hoo!

Canvas Frame-003

This frame has what (I think) is called a float mount – there is a 1/2″ “golden” inlay between the canvas and the outside frame. The white frame is the exact depth of my canvas, and seeing those two line up makes my heart sing! It looks so finished and classy now – swoon!

Canvas Frame-004

This canvas measure at an exact 36″ square – a custom frame would have cost FAR more than what I paid for the art and honestly wouldn’t have been worth it. This frame cost me about $20!

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I’m not going to give an exact tutorial, because I pretty much followed THIS tutorial over on A Beautiful Mess. But I will give a quick run-down of what I did and what I learned along the way!

For my frame, I used four 48″ 1x2s of good quality pine and 13′ of 1/2″ x 3/4″ rectangular trim. I originally was going to use 1/2″ square dowels, but they only come in 36″ lengths. For the mitered corners, I needed about 38″ in each direction, so I bought 10′ lengths of trim and cut it down!

I started by painting my 1x2s white and spraying my smaller trim with gold spray paint.

Canvas Frame-006

Next, I used Gorilla Wood Glue (LOVE this stuff!) to secure the gold trim to each of the four white 1x2s, using clamps to secure everything while the glue dried. Be sure to wipe off any excess glue that drips out before it dries!

Canvas Frame-007

I then used a miter box and saw and manually cut down each side (the white and gold lengths glued together) at 45 degree angles. I cut each side a bit longer than needed (about 36.5″). I then fit each length around my canvas and went back and trimmed each side down (again) until I had a perfect and snug fit around the art. #yesmyarmwassoooooooore!

Canvas Frame-008

Note – I do recommend cutting extra long and then fitting the sides to the canvas. I did a trial run on a smaller canvas using measurements to guide my cutting. Each time, my cuts ended up too small, no matter how precise I measured, and the canvas wouldn’t fit. Starting long and shortening as I went was a safer way to go! 

With each of the sides perfectly trimmed down to hug the canvas, I put more Gorilla Wood Glue at each corner junction and then secured the entire frame with a band clamp (not shown). My husband was very skeptical that the glue would be enough to hold this frame together (I even bought flat and L-brackets to use on the back if necessary!). This glue is SOOO strong you guys…even with applying a decent amount of force, this frame is not coming apart!

The only real place I deviated from A Beautiful Mess’s tutorial was securing the canvas. Instead of nailing from the outside in (where the nails would show), we flipped the entire frame and canvas over and nailed into the sides of the canvas through to the frame. Just be sure to sink the nails into spots where the gold trim is, or else the nails will show from the front!

Canvas Frame-009

And that was it! We hung the canvas right back onto the nails it was hung on before!

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I love the clean, polished look this frame gives the artwork. It really helps make our cheap art look more expensive and finished. I love that I not only DIY’d an awesome frame for this large-scale piece, but I also learned a new skill along the way. DIYing is so empowering and good for the self -confidence!

Canvas Frame-011

If you can believe it, this frame was actually a trial run for some different artwork I am making custom frames for. While this frame was large, the art was cheap, so if I messed up or it didn’t work, it wasn’t a huge deal. The four frames I am working on now are for priceless art. I cannot wait to show you – now that I’ve got my process figured out, I think this will be a much more successful DIY weekend! Fingers crossed I can show you on Monday!

Have a great weekend friends! See you next week!


This is not a sponsored post, but Gorilla Glue did provide me with a variety of products to try at my leisure, including the wood glue featured in this tutorial. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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7 Responses to DIY Canvas Frame

  1. Absolutely lovely. It makes a huge difference, too, judging by the before and after shots of the artwork.

    During my college years I worked in custom framing and one of my all time favorite tasks was chopping lengths of moulding and assembling frames. If I could go back to any job, it would be that one. 🙂 Be careful you don't get too hooked – lol.

  2. I had to flip back an forth between the before and after shots to see which I liked better (framed or unframed) I decided that I love them both, but they "say" different things. So the unframed looks beachy and casual while the framed looks more upscale and elegant.

    Great job!

  3. What a difference. I have a large canvas in our living room that I don't absolutely love. I think framing it will definitely give it more impact. Great job!

  4. Thanks so much for this tutorial. It was easy to follow, and I framed my Aunt’s oil painting, using the same white/gold combination that you did. I love how it turned out.

  5. Hi Megan, I just found this tutorial. Thanks so much! I do have a question for you. Did you choose the 1×2’s because the depth of your canvas was under 2 inches? I have some canvases that are different thickness and wanted to make sure I made them correctly.

    In the photos above you show the two pieces clamped together. Are they both flush at the bottom or is the smaller piece centered on the larger?

    Thanks so much for your info!

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