How to Build a Frame for Canvas Art

3 Ways to Frame a Canvas

Can you frame canvas art? Absolutely, and in the following tutorial, I will share 3 ways to build a frame for canvas art in any size! A DIY wood frame makes the canvas art look more “finished”, and I’m really partial to using stained wood for the frame. I will also share a couple of easy ways to cut the corners of the frame as well as a couple of ways to attach the frame to the canvas.

build frame canvas art

Morsel, my main model and part of the Parkour Champs was very helpful in straightening some of the art for me, so thanks to her!

build frame canvas art _ cat straightening frame

build frame canvas art _ cat

Materials:

  • Canvas art of any size
  • 1″ square wood dowels OR
  • 1″ wide strips of 1x lumber
  • Wood stain and sealer
  • Miter box and saw (<– affiliate link!)
  • Glue gun OR
  • Brad nailer with 1-1/2″ brads

When I make a frame for canvas art, I like to use mitered corners (corners cut at a 45° angle). A miter box makes cutting miters so incredibly easy but if miter cuts are too intimidating, straight cuts can also be made with the miter box. Pro tip: miter cuts sound a lot more intense than they really are!

I like to cut each piece for the wood frame then attach it to the canvas before cutting the next piece, and I do this for two reasons: one reason is that the canvas may not be entirely symmetrical, and the other reason is so that I can make sure my joints are tight without gaps.

Staining and Sealing the Wood

Start by lightly sanding the dowels or wood strips with 120 grit sandpaper, then follow with 220 grit. Apply a coat of stain, then apply the sealer.

Making a Frame with Mitered Joints

Start by measuring one side of the canvas. Make a miter cut in one end of the wood piece for the frame then measure from the inside of the miter and make a mark at the opposite end that matches the measurement of the canvas.

build frame canvas art _ measuring the side

build frame canvas art _ measuring the wood

Next, cut an opposite miter at this mark (this mark is the inside of the frame).

Now, secure the piece of the frame to the canvas making sure the piece is centered on the canvas miter to miter, and the back face of the frame piece is flush with the back of the canvas. This will give a nice, raised edge to the frame! Secure the piece in place using a pneumatic brad nailer with 1-1/2″ brad nails or my favorite secret weapon – a glue gun (<– affiliate link – this one is my favorite!).

build frame canvas art _ securing frame

Repeat this process for the remaining sides of the canvas: measure, cut, secure. It’s truly that easy!

build frame canvas art _ mitered frame

Making a Frame with Straight or Butt Joints

This method is a lot easier than mitered joints… Start by measuring one of the edges, cut a piece to that length, then secure it as outlined above to the canvas. This example has three narrow canvases that will share one frame.

build frame canvas art _ straight frame

Next, cut a piece for the opposite side and secure it to the canvas.

build frame canvas art _ butt joint side

Then, measure one of the remaining sides including the two framing pieces that were just attached to the canvas. Cut a piece and secure it, repeating for the last piece. Touch up the stain on the cut edges as needed.

build frame canvas art _ frame sides

The Final Framing Method – Decorative Trim

So, let’s say you want a more delicate or lighter frame for your canvas art… Something that is a little narrower than a square dowel or strip of wood… This decorative trim fits this bill perfectly, and it can be cut with miter joints (if you’re feeling brave) or straight butt joints for an easier option.

build frame canvas art _ tiny frames

Measure the canvas edges and fit the trim, securing with hot glue or brad nails.

build frame canvas art _ bead trim

build frame canvas art _ rope trim

Do you have another option to build a wood frame for canvas art? Leave a comment below!