Many years ago, I traveled abroad with my husband to Cuba, where we bought a beautiful canvas art piece from a local artist. The photo depicted an area of Havana, Cuba that we loved. For ease of travel, we had the artist roll up the canvas painting so that we could easily slip it into our luggage.
It has now been a few years, and we had been holding on to this canvas painting for quite some time and decided it was time we framed it. This framed canvas painting would make the perfect addition to our cozy guest bedroom. However, the canvas painting was unfinished and needed a custom frame.
Since it was a custom size, we decided to build our own frame. Building a custom canvas frame is quick and easy to do. It may also save you a ton of money, as custom frames can be quite expensive. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to build a frame for a canvas painting from scratch with this easy DIY tutorial.
Before Picture of Artwork
Our canvas print was rolled up and tucked away in our garage. It had been a couple of years since it had seen the light of day. This unstretched canvas was a beautiful piece of art.
How to Build a Stretcher Art Frame for a Canvas Painting
The step-by-step instruction will show you how to create a DIY frame for your finished painting or abstract art work. Canvas art is a great way to add a level of sophistication to your home.
- Canvas Art
- Two (2) 1 in.x 2 in. x 8ft select pine wood
- headless nails or wire brads
- Canvas pliers (optional)
- Gorilla Wood glue
- Picture hanging kit
Tools Required (Tools that you may already have in your arsenal)
- Miter saw or Circular Saw
- Staple gun
- Tape Measure
- Cordless Drill Set
- Nail Gun
These basic tools and materials can also be found at your home depot or local hardware store.
Step 1 – Measure the canvas art.
The first step is to measure the length and width of the canvas art you plan to frame. The measurement of the canvas art will decide how much wood to cut to create the frame to stretch the canvas painting. The canvas art will be pulled and stretched over and around the back of this wood. It’s important to note that the wood will be cut slightly smaller in size than the canvas art to allow room for it to stretch over.
Here are my custom frame measurements:
- Canvas Art Painting measured 41 inches by 33 inches (very much an irregular size with a large portion of the edges being white)
- Two (2) pieces of Pinewood – 39 inches
- Two (2) pieces of pinewood – 31 inches
Due to the overall large frame size, I also measured for additional wood to support the outer frame. These pieces of wood will help to reinforce the frame. I measured four (4) pieces of pinewood at 10 inches and two (2) long pieces that will be used in the middle of the frame at 29 inches.
Once you figure out the measurements for your specific canvas art work, mark the wood pieces with a pencil to prepare them for cutting. All pieces will be cut at a 45-degree angle.
Step 2 – Cut the wood
Once you have determined the wood frame size, the next step is to cut the wood. You will cut four pieces of your 1×2 wood at a 45-degree angle at each end. You will use the miter saw to make these cuts. The miter saw will allow you to get the perfect cut on an angle. You want to wood to align and connect perfectly on each corner of the pine wood.
You will then cut the support pieces into four smaller pieces.
Step 3 – Nail the wood frame pieces together.
Position and connect all four pieces of wood. Use the wood glue to hold them in place. To make it even more secure, you will join the edges with headless nails using the nail gun. This will help to secure the sides of the frame. I used an air-powered brad nail gun. If you don’t have one available, an alternate option is to use a hammer and nails.
Step 4 – Firm up the frame with small wood pieces.
Once all four corners are attached, it is time to ensure the frame doesn’t bend. Take the smaller pieces of wood to sure up the semi-square frame. Begin by applying glue to the end of the smaller pieces. Place each piece with the 45-degree angles cut into the corner of each side of the frame.
Step 5 – Stretch and staple the canvas to the frame.
Once you have finished creating the stretcher art frame, you will begin stretching the art over the edges of the canvas frame. Begin on one side of the frame, folding the canvas art over the newly created frame. If you have canvas pliers, this is where it becomes useful. You can use the canvas pliers to hold it in place. However, canvas pliers are not required. Instead, you can just start stapling.
Take the staple gun and begin stapling the canvas art to the frame. I like to start with the center of the longer side and then work toward the corners. When you get around the corners, you need to neatly fold under and over and staple it in place. This may take some time to get right, but once you do, you will feel so very accomplished.
Continue to work around the frame until you are finished with all sides while ensuring the canvas is very tight and firm.
Step 6 – Affix hanging hardware
The final step is to add picture hanging hardware to your DIY canvas frame to prepare it to hang up on the walls. Use a sawtooth bracket with supporting nails on the back of the frame. Because of how wide my picture frame is, I used two sawtooth brackets and placed them an equal distance apart from the center at the top of the canvas frame.
I used a hammer and nails to affix the sawtooth bracket to the frame. This way of hanging the art frame is the easiest way to hang the canvas material, and it is also super simple.
Other types of hardware that can be used on the wooden frame are eye hooks with supporting wire or a weight-specific adhesive strip. Whatever hanging hardware you choose to use will depend solely on your personal preference.
Optional Step – Finishing the edge of the art frame – If your canvas art is a bit rough around the edges, you may need to take extra steps for it to look more finished and aesthetically pleasing to hang. You can use black duct tape to cover the sides of the canvas painting.
This is an excellent idea if the sides of the canvas painting are left white with an unfinished look. The black duct tape will make it look more refined and polished. The tape should be wider than the side of your canvas so you can wrap the tape over the canvas’s back edge.
Now you are ready to display your piece of artwork for the public to see. Since the canvas art is rather light, hanging it on a wall is easy. Try to take the exact measurements of where you would like the canvas to be displayed. Measure the distance from the ceiling and floor and objects that might be near. Then hang the canvas art and center it. Use a leveler to ensure that it is straight and not tilting on the wall.
For more woodwork DIY ideas, check out:
- How to DIY a Farmhouse Rustic Coat Rack
- How to Upcycle a Vintage Suitcase into a Side Table
- How to Make a DIY Blanket Ladder
Please drop a comment below to let me know what you think of this simple wood frame. Feel free also to follow me on my social media pages – Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to my mailing list for other design inspiration, DIY projects, and home decor ideas.