How to Make a Box Frame

Updated March 23, 2017

Once a painting is complete, the framing process begins. A box frame is a great alternative to a regular frame when dealing with large and thick canvases. Box frames cover up the sides of the canvas that often have paint residue and visible clips to keep the canvas tight and straight on the wooden frame. Making a box frame is cheap and easy and can add boldness and sophistication to any painting.

Measure the height, the width and the depth of the canvas that requires a box frame. Make sure to measure the outline of the canvas to get the correct measurements.

Use the measurements to trace two side pieces on the 1/4-inch thick plywood. The side pieces should be the same height as the canvas and should measure the width of the canvas' depth.

Create the top piece, which should measure the canvas' width in length and the canvas' depth in width plus an additional 1/2 inch. The bottom piece should be identical to the top piece. Sandpaper all of the edges of each piece of wood.

Paint or stain the plywood pieces before assembly. Let all of the pieces dry before continuing.

Place one side piece on its side and place the top piece on its side next to it, and on a perpendicular angle. Hammer two nails into the top piece, so it connects the two pieces.

Place the bottom piece on its side, but perpendicular to the side piece that has the top piece attached to it. Attach the two pieces by hammering nails through the bottom piece into the side piece from the bottom up.

Slide the painting into the frame, which is currently shaped as a mechanical C. Be careful not to ruin or rip the canvas. Once the canvas is in, place the last side piece into the frame, so the top and bottom pieces cover the ends of the side piece. Attach this piece with nails, using the same method as the other side piece.

Hang the box frame with the painting by adding nails to the wall. Use the wooden canvas frame to hang on the nails, holding it up.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/4-inch thick plywood
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Stain or paint
  • Hammer
  • Nails
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About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.