diy projects

DIY Floating Canvas Frame

DIY Custom Frames There’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 Materials What 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 Frame Step 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 Frame Use a clamp to secure the pieces together and allow it to cure overnight.

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

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

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

Assemble DIY Canvas Frame I 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 Frame Your 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 Frame Step 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 Tutorial Step 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 Frame Step 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 Frames Step 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 Frame Step 11 // Mount your hardware. Mount the hanging hardware according to the instructions on the package.

DIY Floating Frame Mounting Hardware Now 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 Frame Floating 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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  • Reply
    Ann Heltzel
    July 6, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      July 6, 2016 at 8:14 pm

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

  • Reply
    Ann Heltzel
    July 6, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Megan Isabella Design
    July 7, 2016 at 1:36 am

    I just love the look of floating frames.

    • Reply
      July 7, 2016 at 1:42 pm

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

  • Reply
    July 8, 2016 at 1:43 am

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

    • Reply
      July 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      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

  • Reply
    July 9, 2016 at 4:15 am

    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 :)

    • Reply
      July 9, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      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

  • Reply
    December 11, 2016 at 10:05 pm

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

    • Reply
      December 12, 2016 at 4:08 am

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

  • Reply
    May 4, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      May 4, 2017 at 9:09 pm

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

  • Reply
    March 21, 2018 at 8:42 am

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

    • Reply
      March 21, 2018 at 9:17 am

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

  • Reply
    June 16, 2018 at 7:37 am

    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!

    • Reply
      June 16, 2018 at 2:14 pm

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

  • Reply
    Carol Eller
    January 1, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2019 at 10:15 am

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

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