home: diy canvas wood frame

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

As part of the recent guest bedroom remodel, the standout piece in this space happens to be a family hand-me-down that we sort of coerced Jeremy's aunt into giving us after last summer's trip to Cape Cod.  We saw it unattended in her basement garage and found out that she purchased the painting from a street vendor in the 60's when she lived in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The canvas was worn but could still be hung on the wall with its wooden skeleton. It really needed a new frame to make it stand out. I figured that it required a professional but then I got the miter saw and everything changed. Everything.

This was my first project on the powerful machine. Here are the supplies in this project:
  • wood wide enough for your frame and long enough to go around - see picture 1 below
  • wood glue
  • clamps (thanks to neighbor T and my dad gave me a set mid-project!)
  • nails, hammer
  • wood stain and an old towel (and gloves. yes)

After hanging in a basement for so many years, the frame was difficult to create a perfect rectangle to wrap around (picture 2). Once I got over the minor measurement mistakes (ehem), it seemed to be moving along smoothly and I built around the canvas - glad that I did because it was getting tough to slide in and out. (Yes, those are goldfish ... DIYing makes me hungry!)

Before nailing each side together, I used wood glue to secure the pieces of wood and thanks to neighbor T, clamps to hold the frame in place while the glue dried.

While the glue dried and as suggested by neighbor T, I created triangle pieces to secure to the back of each corner so that the frame could 'sit' on and be flush with the frame. I also used wood glue to secure in place.

With small nails (less than 1 inch), I nailed the new frame together and to the original canvas in the following locations:

After a few hours, I sanded down the edges and taped between the frame and canvas with painters tape, and covered the print with cardstock to protect it from stain. For this project, I used Minwax Wood Finish in Ebony, an old rag and brush, and gloves (key item).

I waited until the next morning to add a second coat and by the time we were back from Easter lunch, the frame was dry. With the new frame in this classic print, it really adds depth and pulls out the darker colors in the scene. A great spot to add this new print: above the guest bed in the freshly painted bedroom!


  1. You are my hero. This looks SO GREAT!

  2. Look at you! Looks great - I'm most impressed.

  3. Great work you have done, this frame is really very nice, many thanks for sharing this DIY canvas wood frame idea, Love it.