How to Make a Frame for an Artist Canvas

Written by ericb
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How to Make a Frame for an Artist Canvas
Make your own frames from crown moulding. (Frames for painting image by Indric from

Artwork is an important part of culture and a beloved hobby. Whether you’re making it or selling it, framing artwork can get expensive. If you are selling artwork, including a frame will increase its value greatly. Learn how to make your own frames to save money. With a few tools and lumber, you can make quality frames at a low cost. This also ensures that all your frames will match.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Moulding
  • Balsa wood
  • Utility knife
  • Wood glue
  • C-clamp
  • Mitre saw
  • Band clamp
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Drill
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain or paint
  • Eye screws
  • Picture-hanging wire

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  1. 1

    Measure the perimeter of your canvas so you know how much lumber to get. The easiest material to use is moulding, as it is already shaped with a small lip. Purchase a few extra inches of moulding for angle cuts and any possible mistakes. You will need coordinating amounts of balsa wood to create a lip on the back.

  2. 2

    Use the utility knife to cut strips of balsa wood. Glue these strips on the back of the moulding so it creates a small lip to hold the picture. Use a C-clamp to hold it in place while it dries.

  3. 3

    Measure the length of one side of the painting on the lumber and make a 45-degree angle. Mark 45-degree angles between each length of the picture frame. Leave a couple of inches between each length to accommodate for size adjustments. Each side of the frame will look like a trapezoid individually.

  4. 4

    Use a mitre saw to make your cuts. Remember, if your cut is too long, you can always take more off. If you cut too much off, you will have to use wood putty or cut a new length to fix it.

  1. 1

    Lay your cut pieces together to ensure they make a perfect square and align correctly. Add wood glue to connect the pieces. Wrap the frame in a band clamp and let it dry.

  2. 2

    Hammer in nails for extra support. To prevent the wood from splitting, use a small drill bit to create a small hole for the nails. Add nails through the top and bottom corners.

  3. 3

    Sand the frame smooth with medium-weight sandpaper. Apply a stain finish or paint to the wood. Some mouldings will come finished or even with a textural pattern.

  4. 4

    Attach eye screws to the back of the frame on each side at an equal distance from the top. Add hanging wire, looping it through the eye screws twice and then winding it around itself. Mount the canvas and hang it.

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