DIY Floating Canvas Frame

DIY Custom FramesThere’s one thing I’m really particular about and truly appreciate, yet hate spending tons of money on… custom canvas framing. Remember these canvases I painted awhile back? I went to have them framed at a local shop and was quoted $130. Per frame, people!! They’re only 8″ x 10″ canvases and I just couldn’t justify paying that much. I also wasn’t about to hang them unframed either. Of course I went to my main guy (aka Kalyn) and asked if we could build them for way less- the answer was definitely yes. You’re going to want to save this DIY floating canvas frame tutorial because it’s going to save you tons of money, and it’s a project we’ve done a few times already.

One of my pet peeves is a DIY that “looks like a DIY”. I am definitely not into these sort of projects and I want everything I share to be of quality and appear to look much more expensive than it actually cost. This tutorial is super descriptive, a little lengthy, but also really easy! Don’t be intimidated by the length of this tutorial- I just wanted to make sure each step was super clear, easy, and well described! Stick to the instructions and you’ll end up with a high-end, well built and completely custom frame. If I can do it, you can too!

DIY Frame MaterialsWhat you’ll need for this project:
– Lumber
– Wood Glue
– Tape Measure
– Wood Clamps (OR self squaring jig clamp)
– Sand Paper (80 – 100 grit)
V-nail punch & v-nails (12 per frame), optional
– Stain, paint or clear coat of your choice
– Finishing Nails
Kraft Paper
– Scissors
– Mounting Hardware

Step 1 // Measure your canvas & draw your plans. Prior to purchasing your lumber, measure your canvas (also consider the depth). In the image below, you’ll notice the three pieces on the left are wider than the three pieces on the right.  The thicker boards were used for the back of the frame, and the narrow boards became the side rails. This combination gave me the thickness I needed for my canvas- it’s totally ok to mix and match.

Choose whatever lumber makes sense for your project! You can buy these in the “hobby” section of Lowes or any there big box store… they’re sold in 3 foot pieces. To give you an idea of my material, I selected a piece that measured 1 1/2″ x 3/8″, while the other piece measured 1/2″ x 2″.

Wood for Custom DIY FrameStep 2 // Assemble the side rails. Glue the side rail to the backboard… make sure to glue the INNER EDGE with a thin line of glue. Press the side rail flush to the BACK of the frame.

Glueing DIY FrameUse a clamp to secure the pieces together and allow it to cure overnight.

DIY Frame TutorialStep 3 // Cut your frame. Use a mitered 45 degree angle and cut four pieces- 2 sides, and 2 top & bottom pieces. Remember… measure twice, cut once!

DIY Wood FrameStep 4 // Fine-tune your angle by sanding. Sand the inner edge of the frame for a perfect fit.

DIY Wood Frame SandingStep 5 // Test fit your frame. Make sure the joints align perfectly. Sand more if needed.

DIY Canvas FrameStep 6 // Glue and assemble the frame. Apply a thin line of glue to the mitered joints.

Assemble DIY Canvas FrameI found this specific tool for frame building- it’s called a mitered jig and it came in super handy. This isn’t necessary, but it’s seriously helpful. If you don’t have this tool, you can easily use the wood clamps from Step 2. I left the frame in the self squaring jig overnight.

DIY Floating Art FrameYour completed glued joint should look like this… if your joint doesn’t perfectly align, you can always use a little wood filler to hide and fill miner imperfections.

DIY FrameStep 7 (optional)Use a v-nail punch and v-nails to secure the joints. This step isn’t necessary but it helps to create a professional grade (meaning super duper sturdy) frame that will pretty much last forever. Start your v-nails from the inside and work your way to the outer corner. If this isn’t evident or clear, these are installed on the BACKSIDE of the frame.

Wooden Frame TutorialStep 8 // Add a finish. Stain, clear coat, or paint, the frame with your preferred product. I used a satin clear coat leftover from another project.

DIY Wooden FrameStep 9 // Mount your artwork. Using a small drill bit and finishing nails (carefully making sure not to split your frame)– mount your artwork. Be steady and gentle!

DIY Floating Canvas FramesStep 10 // Finish the back. Glue kraft paper to the back of the frame to hide the finishing nails (this isn’t necessary but it looks more professional).

Back of Canvas FrameStep 11 // Mount your hardware. Mount the hanging hardware according to the instructions on the package.

DIY Floating Frame Mounting HardwareNow you’re ready to install your artwork! I actually painted these with the intention of giving them as a gift to a friend, but after seeing them installed in my dining room, I’m a little tempted to hang onto them!

How to Make Easy Canvas Frames

DIY Floating FrameFloating frames are my favorite when it comes to finishing a canvas. What do you think? Are you going to give this DIY a try?

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  1. Ann Heltzel says:

    Sarah, I LOVE these! Wish I had a teaspoon of your creativity! If I win the lottery I’m going to bring you to my house and let you just do the whole thing!

    1. Ha! Thanks so much, Ann!! You’re the sweetest :) xoxo

  2. Ann Heltzel says:

    Whoops not to imply your designs are expensive, just that I would have to make it worth your while to stop blogging awhile to focus on doing my house!

  3. Megan Isabella Design says:

    I just love the look of floating frames.

    1. Thanks so much Megan!! Hope you are well, xo

  4. Great instructions Sarah. I tried once but it looked very DIY, yours is professional!

    1. Thanks, Holly! I have to give the credit to Kalyn… he really put this one together and showed me the proper way to build a frame. I’ve done many in the past that didn’t look so professional. Ha! Have a great weekend! xo

  5. Love it! And love your blog! Def gonna try this, been looking at many tutorials for this and this is the first of this style I’ve seen. When you use the finishing nails, are you going from the back into the wood on the canvas? I’m a little confused on step 9 :)

    1. Thanks, Rene! Yes, when mounting the canvas to the frame, the finishing nail goes through the wood canvas stretcher into the frame from behind. Just be careful so that it doesn’t pierce through the front. Does that make sense? Let me know how it goes! xo

  6. Sarah – I had this picture pinned for the paint color. Can you please share?? Thank you!

    1. Hi Nicole! Yes- it’s Sherwin Williams Evergreens. xo

  7. I am loving these!! Picture frames are crazy expensive. I bet you could even add some trim to fancy it up, although I love the clean look. Thank you!

    1. You could definitely add moulding to get a more traditional / less modern look! Thanks so much, Sandy! xo

  8. I love these! What did you use to mount the canvas inside the frame?

    1. Thank you Charlene! We used finishing nails to mount the back of the canvas to the back of the float frame.

  9. How much relief did you use in the space between the canvas edge and the frame? I’m making some and am not sure how much space should be between the canvas and the frame. Thanks for any input! Great tutorial!

    1. I like to keep it pretty small…. 1/8th or 1/16th. Hope this helps! xo

  10. Carol Eller says:

    Ok, I have only framed one of my art pieces but I might just have to frame more. I have the one that was framed and then I have three others hanging in my bathroom. I might just have to do this with the three. They look fab already but that might add just a little extra to be awesome. Thanks so much for all the detail!

    1. Yes! Let me know if you give it a try Carol! xox

  11. Sofía Navarrete says:

    Loved your instructions for the floater frames. I will give it try but my inside panel will e a little wider. Thanks for sharing.?

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thanks, Sofia! Let me know if you have questions!