Want to learn how to frame a canvas for only $8? This simple DIY shows you how to build a basic frame in any color for a canvas.

This DIY shows you how you can frame a canvas for less than you’d pay at a store — and how you can do it in less than two hours.

We’ve had so many new people join this Thistlewood community lately, that I thought I might press pause on this post and introduce myself. If this is your first time to the blog here are just a few things about me you might need to know:


I’m 100% random.

With a whole lot of bless your heart sprinkled on top.

There are days when I’m fine. Days when I’m sufficient. Days when I’m just happy that I made it through.

There are even a few days when I’m great.

But every now and then when the stars align and everything comes together and the heavens part and the angels sing the hallelujah chorus…..

…..there comes a day when I’m absolutely, positively amazing.

Today my friends?

Today is one of those days.

Wait until you see one of my favorite projects I’ve ever posted.

Here’s the $8 how-to frame a canvas DIY I have for you.


It all started with this canvas.

I fell in love with this amazing print and bought it for the living room a year ago and had it stretched on a frame. The whole buying the print and having it stretched ended up being a lot more money than I ever imagined.

It was one of those months with more month than money.

I didn’t have enough money to frame it.

So I just hung it on the wall.

From the front it was fine.


edge of canvas at bottom



And double yikes with a little what is happening here on top.

From the side, you could see the edge of the canvas kind of wrapped around.

how to frame a canvas edge of canvas before

I tried to distract everyone with a picture light and flowers.

But whenever I walked into the room I saw this.

The how to frame a canvas challenge?

This canvas is 48″ wide and 36″ tall and that is an EXPENSIVE size to get framed.


Until I came up with a DIY under $8.

Here’s my canvas now.

finished canvas in living room how to frame a canvas


Doesn’t it look fancy?

Doesn’t it look like I took a course in framing and became a master framer overnight?


Not even close.

Let’s discuss how to frame a canvas.

how to frame a canvas supplies



1″ x 1″ poplar boards

flat panel board


gold spray paint

1. Gather supplies

I’m going to show you a couple of different options for building a frame, depending on if you want to nail directly into the sides of the canvas or not. When we’ve made frames in the past, we’ve always used 1″ x 2″ boards. You can see how to paint a sign and how to build a frame for that sign here.

This was different.

This was building a frame for an existing canvas. I didn’t want to use 1″ x 2″ boards because the canvas was only 1″ thick and I didn’t want the frame to stick out beyond the sides of the canvas.

Does that make sense?

I wanted the canvas to be the star of the show, not the frame, so we went with 1″ x 1″ boards instead.

  • Quick tip: you’ll find boards like this in the “dowel rod” section of the home improvement store, not the molding section.
how to frame a canvas 1" x 1" boards

2. How to frame a canvas: Use 1″ boards to build your frame

We started by building an existing frame for the canvas.

We built it 48″ wide and 36″ tall.

The two side boards sit on top of the longer boards on the bottom and top.

We cut them 34″ to allow for the extra inch at the bottom.

You could miter the corners, but to make it easier, we just attached them at the ends.

how to frame a canvas


3. How to frame a canvas: Add corner pieces of paneling

Cut 5″ x 5″ pieces of paneling and attach them at the corners.

This helps provide stability for the frame.

This was the original frame that we created. When planning out how to frame a canvas, our plan was to attach the canvas on these panel pieces to avoid damaging the canvas in any way. I would recommend this option if you want to attach your canvas from the back.

After you create the frame, spray paint it gold and nail the canvas to the paneling pieces.


4. How to frame a canvas: Another framing option

But for us?

After we built the frame and attached the canvas, I discovered that the canvas sat too far back in the frame.

I wanted the frame to come up to the edge of the print.

So we simply nailed the boards to the side of the canvas.

In other words, we discovered when learning how to frame a canvas, sometimes you just built the frame around the canvas itself and attached the pieces directly to the sides. We spray painted them gold first.


Here’s the finished canvas frame up close.


Attaching the pieces directly to the canvas makes it look custom.

And spray painting it gold?

It adds that little bit of shimmer to the print.



Here’s a look at the framed canvas one more time.

It’s such a minor change, but it looks so much more finished in the living room.

The canvas has finally arrived.

It’s having its day in the sun.

And me?

I’m still random. Still waving my hands. Still showing up. Still putting one foot in front of the other. Still EXTRA.

And trying with every fiber of my being.

To be amazing. 🙂

Here are all the room sources, too

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  1. Image for Jean Jean

    'Love the finished product, but wonder how and where you nailed the canvas to the frame without impacting the print. Also, what exactly was painted gold? Did you actually build two frames? Can't quite picture your mounting technique.

  2. Image for Ange Ange

    My husband believed that the only good frame was a mitered frame and he rarely had the time from all of my other projects to build a frame for me. So some of my quick fixes included painting the sides of the canvas gold or hot gluing gimp around the edges. This frame looks fast and easy and I have always loved that picture. I had no idea that it was so big!

  3. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    Looks gorgeous. But the print is so pretty how could it not look gorgeous. I would love to have that print but the cost of it would make me have to hide from the hubby forever. 😅. But you gave me an excellent lesson today one Im sure to use. Have a happy day. Jodena

  4. Image for Pam Griner Pam Griner

    Great idea! You can also use offset clips to attach a frame of any kind to a canvas. They are sort of a flattened out s shape and screw into the frame and the back of the canvas - pretty easy peasy way to hold them together. No plywood needed then and no nails show in your frame. Attaching screw eyes (sort of a circle with a screw on it) on each side of the back of your frame and stretching hanging wire between them is a very easy way to hang after you have your piece framed. I'm an artist and do all my own matting and framing - it can be a pain in the rear and very expensive. LOL You might just have inspired me to make my own frame next time!

    1. Image for Kris Kris

      I'd love to see pictures of the steps you take, Pam, to do this. I have 2 artists (not me!) in my home and we have a plethora of pictures. It's a struggle to display them, especially in a cost-effective manner. KariAnne, I'd also like even more step by step pictures of your process! I'm a visual learner and struggle with written instructions.

  5. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Love this! Have used your original how to do it may times! Thanks for sharing again. For those of you who are new, KariAnne is wonderful!

  6. Image for Lisa Della Bella Lisa Della Bella

    The finished piece looks beautiful. I would add a word of caution when using paint and glue with a print or canvas though. It’s very important to use materials that won’t damage the art over time. This is why framing is so expensive.

  7. Image for Michelle Crowley Michelle Crowley

    Yep - Today you are freaking amazing! Actually. . . . you're pretty much always amazing! Love this Canvas Framing idea and I'm totally going to use it!

  8. Image for Looie Looie

    This looks great! Is there any issue with the wood not meeting up perfectly in the corners? I couldn’t get squared off corners to match flat. (Possibly because I used 1” x 2” sides instead, though? Your panel backing on the corners is a genius idea!

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