One day I was perusing Pinterest and I saw this piece of artwork.
I loved it immediately – but there is no way a $9800 piece of art will ever be in my budget. Sigh…time to move on…but then I thought, “What if I can make something of similar scale for a big statement piece in my house?” So I pulled out my paints and went for it.
I know…not quite the same, but I liked it so it was going to stay. The frame-less canvas started to look unfinished to me and I decided I was going to create my own custom frame – for a fraction of the cost of custom framing.
I asked in an Instagram poll and it sounds like everyone would like a tutorial for framing their own artwork. I am happy to oblige – so without further ado here is what I learned in my first art framing adventure…
- Miter Saw
- Tape Measure
- Wood Glue
- Clamps – Ideally two.
- Optional – Ratcheting Band clamp like this one here. I ended up helping a bunch of friends frame their art – so this was worth the purchase for me to expedite my glue-up.
- 4- pine boards from your local hardware store. (choose whatever wood works best for your project – I chose a common pine that I stained) My art work was 4’x4’x 1.5″ thick so I used 3/4″x 1 3/4″ x 6′ long boards.
- The size of board needed will be completely dependent on your frame. For example – If you frame is 2’x2’x 3/4″ thick then you will need far less wood. I would always make sure your wood length is 6″ longer than the side you are framing and at least 1/4″ taller than the thickness of your canvas. For the example above this would end up being a minimum 2′-6″ length and 1″ thickness. Hopefully that makes sense.
- 4 corner bracket flat plates – shown in pictures below.
- Wood Screws – make sure the length of your screw does not exceed the thickness of the frame wood plus framing material thickness. In my case I had 1″ canvas frame+ 3/4″ wood, so I used a 1 1/2″ screw length.
- It is worth mentioning that I did screw through my canvas leaving small holes on all 4 sides. You will only notice this is you take the frame off one day. I created this art piece on my own so I was ok with screwing through it. IF this is an expensive or sentimental piece I would re-consider using this method of framing and have a professional take care of it.
- This example is for a flush frame – meaning the frame will be tight against the canvas. I decided to take it one step further so there was a gap between the art and my frame. To do this you will need to add 4 – 1/2″x1/4″ thick trim pieces and glue them lengthwise on your boards before you start into these steps. Here is an example of a tight frame:
- Here is a recess in the frame:
Here are a few shots of the actual setup with clamps and how I measured the corner cut. If you look close you will also see the 1/4″ trim piece I talked about earlier. Try to find a large level surface to do this on, it is important that your frame pieces are in alignment with your artwork and not out of whack.
Dry fit the boards as tight as you can before you attach with screws and glue up the mitered corner.
This is a good shot of my screw placement between the canvas frame and actual frame. Note the screws are placed from the inside of the canvas frame into the outer frame. You should never be able to see them unless you take the art off the wall. It also shows you the ratchet band clamp in action. Side note – this is a super cool tool to have in your arsenal if you will be making frames frequently.
I chose to fit my boards up this way instead of going clockwise around the frame. You can use either method just flip steps 3 and 4 if you go with clockwise.
As a final step i also added these flat strap brackets in each corner for some extra stability.
I really couldn’t be happier with the final product, I hope you can use this tutorial. Let me know if the Step by Step with graphic helped you understand the process.