View Full Version : I want to frame a canvas

02-28-2010, 11:12 AM
Here is a wish for a diy. I want to frame a canvas by myself. How please?

02-28-2010, 11:16 AM
Gracie-Sears has a couple of hand tools that may help you. A corner clamp-to hold two pieces at 90 degrees, and a tool to insert brads in soft wood.

02-28-2010, 12:01 PM
Gracie-Sears has a couple of hand tools that may help you. A corner clamp-to hold two pieces at 90 degrees, and a tool to insert brads in soft wood.

EXCELLENT. I am on my way. Thank you VERY much.

02-28-2010, 01:09 PM
There are different ways to do this, dependent on what type of tools you may or may not have.

I have heard that you folks have a woodworking shop/club thing......I'm guessing that someone there could help you do it.

Minimum tools you would need is a mitre box and backsaw to cut the 45 degree cuts. You can buy premade frame stock that already has a rabbet cut in it. Once these pieces are cut, they need to be glued and/or nailed together to make the frame. This is easier if you have a frame clamp.

Your 45 degree cuts will be more accurate if you have a motorized mitre saw, commonly called a chopsaw. If you want to make your own rabbet cuts you can do it on a table saw or by using a router. If you can make your own rabbets you can buy much cheaper wood, and make custom frames. I like buying 1x3 poplar from home Depot and make my own. Poplar takes paint and stains nicely, and is very inexpensive. Also helpful is a finishing nail gun to attach the glued joints.

I know this is not a step by step guide.....but it is easier to first know what tools you may have available first.

1) Measure the canvas. Let's say it is 24" x 24". Your four pieces need to be longer then that, so the edge of the frame will extend past the canvas. They also cannot be too long, because you do not want the frame to be bigger then the canvas. If you take the wood, and draw a 45 degree angle on each end of the length, 24" should land somewhere in the middle. Once you have this measurement, you would cut all four pieces the same length.

I've always found it easier to do the same cuts in the wood all at the same time on the table saw, so everything lines up. On the face of the frame, you can make angled edges, little kerf cuts, etc, to really make a nice custom frame. then after that, I cut the rabbet cut on the back to accept the canvas. Only after I do these things do I cut the mitre cuts. When determining your rabbet cuts, keep in mind the depth of the canvas so it does not show, and how much canvas you want to be covered by the frame. Other considerations would be the matting, backerboard and the use of glass.

After making all of these cuts, do a dry fit, making sure the canvas fits with a small amount of play. Once you are pleased with it, you can go ahead and glue up the mitre joints. Dependent on how many mitre clamps you have, you can clamp them up. I usually do two pieces at a time, then once they are done, put the two pieces together and the frame is done. If you nail after clamping, you can do all of them in a short amount of time without waiting for the glue to dry. Use carpenters wood glue for these joints. Wipe off any excess, especially if you plan on staining after.

After the glue is dry, etc, lightly sand. If the joints are not really tight and you plan on painting, feel free to fill the tiny gaps with wood filler, resand, then prime and paint. Set the canvas in the frame, secure it with tiny brads, etc, and then attach eyescrews and picture frame wire. You can also use a router and put keyhole slots in the frame if you wish.

I hope this helped. Others may fill in the blanks and do a better job then I did explaining. Good luck, and enjoy!!


02-28-2010, 02:15 PM
GG, need to better understand your question. I think you asked how to frame a canvas so it would be ready to paint. I think Frank answered how to make a picture frame to accept a completed painting on a canvas frame. Because I believe the canvas should be stretched over the frame and stapled on the back side so the canvas is tight on the frame.

02-28-2010, 03:25 PM

You are indeed correct, and upon reading her request again, I stand corrected.
Sorry Gracie I misunderstood.
Part of my post would still apply. As 12ridehd stated, just cut your 45 degree mitres, glue and nail, then stretch your canvas and staple. You can buy an electric staple gun and save your hand. I own two....an Arrow one that is a piece of junk, and a stanley one that is great. If you have an air compressor, you can also get an air powered staple gun.

Enjoy! Frank

02-28-2010, 03:59 PM
If you want to stretch a canvas over a frame, try these.

If that is not what you want, let us know.


Rag Bagger
02-28-2010, 06:12 PM
Great info Mr. Admin. This is the kind of help that will allow us to Do It Ourself.

02-28-2010, 10:27 PM
Tony: Now that's the way to boost a new forum!!!!!:bowdown:

03-01-2010, 05:22 AM
I did want to picture frame a canvas. Frank your explanation is so easy to understand...I will have to see if I find it easy to do. I think when someone is used to working in wood it would be easier, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

I was just hoping that you and Mrs. Faithful Frank could just move in next door to us and I could bake a few pies.

Just a thought.

03-01-2010, 03:45 PM
You are very kind. While we are not Villagers, I enjoy the forum as a way to "feel like a Floridian" even though I have to stay a snowy NY'er for at least another 490 more days.
We will be down there in a couple of weeks and get to stay at our home for 7 weeks....can't wait!

The nice thing Gracie is that it would not cost a lot to practice. You could even take inexpensive furring strips or 1x2 pine and make some practice frames. When you have a small table saw it is very fun to see the different designs you can make by just running the wood through the saw a few times, doing things like bevel cuts, kerf cuts, etc. You can stain the wood first, then do the cuts to get a nice custom two tone frame.

You can practice these frames, making them any size. then if they look nice, just throw in a cheap mirror and give them away as gifts.

Enjoy! Frank

03-01-2010, 07:06 PM
Great impute Tony, thats the kind of stuff that will keep this forum going.. :a040:

04-16-2010, 03:05 PM
Gracie, I have done this many time. It is not hard but you must keep checking often to see that is is aligned correctly. They sell stretcher strips at Michaels, I know there is still one in West Chester I know. There is a tool called a stretcher that helps to stretch the canvas so that the picture will be taut. BTW, are you in TV or WC? Maybe we could get together. I have a staple gun. Sally:beer3:

04-16-2010, 03:55 PM
Saly. I would love to get together but the stretching of the canvas isn't what I meant. I meant the picture framing part. I have some big canvases and sometimes I think that a white beachy frame would enhance some of my big water bird paintings.

I am here in Paradise.

Come and visit anytime.