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Make a Simple Frame for Canvas Board

July 12, 2010

frame a canvas boardWhen I got invited to show and sell my work at a local vineyard, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to use a few of the few small canvas boards I have laying around. My goal was to do a couple smaller, more affordable paintings that would appeal to tourists who want something that can fit in their luggage.

The challenge with canvas board is always how to hang it. A canvas panel will usually fit into a conventional frame, but considering my own budget and the fact that I wanted the works to be affordable, I needed something less expensive. I decided to make my own frames!

Some artists might sneer at the thought of a home made frame. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not for every venue. There are times when you have to spend money to make money, but there are also times when you have to work within a budget.

“DIY” kind of has  a bad name and is sometimes synonymous with shoddy quality. This is not true! You can do things yourself, you just need to make a point of working slowly and carefully.

Here are the steps I used to create a simple frame for a canvas board painting.

1. Start with a length of 1×2″ wood. Make sure you find one that’s actually straight. This may take awhile!

make a simple frame

2. Cut a notch out of the corner of the entire length of wood using a table saw. This is done by cutting twice. Set the guard at 1/4″  and set the blade at 1/4″ high. Rip the wood through, then flip it and cut again.

make a simple frame

3. With the same settings, cut the opposite corner out as well.

make a simple frame

4. Rip the length of wood in half.

make a simple frame

5. Take one of the pieces you just made and using a mitre saw, cut it at 45 degrees keeping the groove on the inside. Measure against your canvas board to get the correct length, and cut the other end at 45 degrees.

make a simple frame

6. After cutting all four sides, hold them together and make sure your painting fits inside the edge. You may need to cut the sides down to make a tighter fit. Once the painting fits snugly inside, fix the sides together using wood glue.

make a simple frame

7. After letting the glue dry, fill any gaps with a wood filler (impasto gel works too) and sand down your frame. Now you can paint it, varnish it, and glue your painting inside.

make a simple frame


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