How to Make a Modern Floating Picture Frame

Sometimes you can find a diamond in the rough when thrifting for artwork – you just have to look past the bad frames. Upgrade an old canvas painting into a modern work of art with a simple DIY frame.

From: Samantha Pattillo

By: Samantha Pattillo
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Materials Needed

  • canvas artwork
  • wood for frame
  • wood glue
  • corner brackets
  • attachment brackets
  • hammer
  • drill/screwdriver
  • drill bit
  • tape measure
  • table saw
  • miter saw
  • hand or belt sander
  • 4 clamps

Prep the Canvas

Start by removing the backing to the frame. It will either be glued or have small staples. Be careful.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Once you have the backing off, pop off the old frame from the canvas.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Measure the thickness of your canvas frame to determine how thick to make your new frame. Mine was about 3/4” thick, and I wanted my frame to extend past it a bit.  

From: Samantha Pattillo

Make the Frame

I used a table saw to cut strips for my frame. I used 1” thick boards for the width of my frame and ripped them 1.25” for the depth of my frame.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Next, I sent the strips though the planer to smooth out my surfaces and remove blade marks from the table saw, but you can certainly use a hand or belt sander for this step. Just be careful to keep the surface flat.

From: Samantha Pattillo

You will need two hardware packs for this project.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Open your corner brackets first. Place them on each corner of the canvas and place the wood strips on the outside of the brackets. Measure the overall length from your wood frame edge plus the L bracket, canvas, L bracket and the wood frame again. That is the length you’ll need to cut down your wood strips to make your frame.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Once you have your final length determined, cut the wood strips at a 45-degree angle to make your frame. Make sure to lay everything out to ensure the measurements are all correct. I laid mine out around my canvas with the L brackets in place to make sure my measurements were right before proceeding.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Take your corner brackets and mark your holes. The L brackets will be flush with the back of your frame so you won’t see them once your canvas is attached. Make sure you place them at the back when marking your holes.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Drill small pilot holes for your screws. Make sure you don’t drill through to the other side! I like to use a piece of tape to cheat so that I don’t go past the desired depth. Just place your tape right on your drill bit where you want to stop drilling. The tape will fling off the dust right when it gets to the end for you to stop drilling.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Once you have all pilot holes drilled, it’s time to assemble the frame. Place a small amount of glue on the edges of your wood frame and attach your brackets with the included screws. (You may need a second set of hands to help hold the frame in place while you drill.)

From: Samantha Pattillo

From: Samantha Pattillo

Clamp the edges to ensure the joints stay flush so you don’t need to sand later.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Attach the Canvas

After an hour or so, remove the clamps and pop your canvas in place.

From: Samantha Pattillo

From: Samantha Pattillo

I used a loose fit to my frame so that the gap around the edge would be wider, so I used fasteners to attach the frame securely. Just hammer these in around the edges. I used two per corner. All done!

From: Samantha Pattillo

Hang Your New Artwork

Building your own frame is an inexpensive way to update an old or thrifted canvas and make it into a modern work of art!

Before

After

From: Samantha Pattillo

From: Samantha Pattillo

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