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.

We’ve had so many people join the Thistlewood community lately, that I thought I might press pause teaching you how to frame a canvas for a moment 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.

1.  I almost always…..even with jogging pants…..wear big earrings and red lipstick.

2.  I’ve had a few fashion disasters.

3.  I tell stories.  Like the day I was the talk of the county and why everyone should wear Lee Press-On Nails and how not to cook pancakes.

4.  I like to talk and wave my hands around and I love neutrals and I live in the house I grew up in that we’ve completely remodeled and knocked down a bunch of walls.

And?

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 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.

Sufficient.

edge of canvas at bottom

Umm.

Yikes.

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.

Until I came up with a DIY under $8.

Here’s my canvas now.

finished canvas in living room how to frame a canvas

Can you EVEN BELIEVE IT?

Doesn’t it look fancy?

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

Nope.

Not even close.

Let’s discuss how to frame a canvas.

how to frame a canvas supplies

HOW TO BUILD A FRAME

supplies:

1″ x 1″ poplar boards

flat panel board

nails

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.

I LOVE IT.

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. 🙂

PS I added a few new videos to my YouTube Channel if you want to check them out here.

PPS For everyone who messaged me about the print—here’s my affiliate link on etsy.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

Comments

  1. Image for Karen Mary Karen Mary

    Agreed, you are amazing! (So is that print!) I've stretched many fabrics over canvas stretchers for large walls before, but this is so much more polished! Definitely saving these directions! Thank you!

  2. Image for david david

    It looks terrific! And simple fixes like that are the best. I have a bunch of stretched canvas prints in my house (not as big) and now I think I'm gonna frame them. Thanks (Oh, under "Gather Supplies" I think you have a hyperlink that isn't functioning)

  3. Image for Kelly Mansulich Kelly Mansulich

    Love it! The frame took the print to a new level. Where did you shop for your canvas print? It pulls the room together perfectly. It’s so pretty.

  4. Image for Beth Y Beth Y

    I needed this how to!!! Yay!! My daughter painted sunflowers on a canvas in virtual art class, and I have it sitting on my table waiting for a frame. I priced the floating frames on Amazon.....$29.99. This is fabulous!! Thank you, Karianne!!

  5. Image for gilmer gal gilmer gal

    Not only are you cute as a button (yes, I'm Southern also), you are a cleaver one! Thanks for this tip because I have that same problem with my canvas.

  6. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Ok....genius idea!!! What a difference in how the art looks! I also love your Crape Myrtle cuttings in the cases 💜. I miss our trees from our old house :(

  7. Image for Wendy Wendy

    Brilliant! I’ve been looking for a simple and inexpensive way to frame canvases. You mentioned you stretched the print over canvas. How exactly do you do this? I’d like to do this with fabric, but it would have to be a custom size. Do you build your own? Thanks!

    1. Image for KariAnne KariAnne

      Wendy, I think you could do your own---I had it done at a framing store---but it just seems like they built a frame and stapled the canvas to it! Happy day friend !karianne

  8. Image for Teddee Grace Teddee Grace

    You might be clever as well! This turned out great. And you are correct about the cost of having something professionally framed, especially if matting is included. I have a framed print on my wall that I love that cost me less than $3 at a thrift store if memory serves, but the cost of the frame, double mat and labor has made it one of my more valuable possessions!

  9. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    I'm not planning to need to know how to frame a canvas print, but I'm glad to know I could absolutely do it myself if I wanted to! I like making something turn out LOOKING like I knew what I was doing even if I did have to figure out an easier way to do it. I think your brain and my brain might be distant....way distant...cousins! LOL

  10. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Looks great! I do love canvas art and a frame -all the better! You are definitely bless your heart sprinkled on top!:) I can't wait to say that to my granddaughter♥

  11. Image for Teresa George Teresa George

    Wow that is a great DIY! I have a ginormous stretched canvas in my house that I would love to frame like that. Thanks for the tip!

  12. Image for Jeannie Jeannie

    WONDERFULLY DONE!! This technique adds so much polish. The frame looks stunning with the gold light above it. How do you power that light?

  13. Image for Jane Jane

    Your timing is perfect! My daughter-in-law is going to paint an abstract for me and now I will be able to frame it! Thanks so much! P.S. I’m random too!😊

  14. Image for Ann-Marie Lindner Ann-Marie Lindner

    First: I think you’re the cutest and always look forward to your spin on life!! Next: The Frame! so beautiful. So scrappy!! Love it Thank you for sharing. Blessings on ur family

  15. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

    Well done, KariAnne. You overcame another design challenge and even made it affordable. C'est remarquable!!! (Oh! There's those exclamation points again!!!)

  16. Image for Diane Diane

    Great idea love the colors and the room- but is the print 90 degrees off ? Just me - I am " random" without filters ! LOL ;-)

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