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How to Frame a Canvas (for Cheap!)

This easy DIY tutorial will teach you how to frame a canvas for cheap, making a huge piece of $22 art look like it’s worth much more!

Hey friends! I’m sharing a super easy and cheap way to frame a canvas. If you haven’t already caught on, I like to do things as inexpensively as possible. Cause money NOT spent on one project means money I can spend on something else! #budgetdecorating

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. See my full disclosure policy here.

No WAY! This is such an easy (and cheap!) way frame a canvas. It makes a $22 DIY art piece look like it's worth much more!!

And since this canvas that needed framing wasn’t pricy in the first place, no need to go champagne on my beer-budget art. Do you recall my DIY Abstract Art for $22?

No WAY! This is such an easy (and cheap!) way frame a canvas. It makes a $22 DIY art piece look like it's worth much more!!

I needed a large piece of art to fill in some space on my new console table. I love it, even though I hid it with some wrapping paper for Christmas. 🙂

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When I first finished the art piece, I considered leaving it unframed. But in time I realized that it really just looked unfinished. (Affiliate link are provided for your convenience.)

No WAY! This is such an easy (and cheap!) way frame a canvas. It makes a $22 DIY art piece look like it's worth much more!!

See how much better it looks in the second picture?

What You’ll Need to Frame a Canvas:

  1. Lattice or 1×3’s or 1×2’s in the length of your canvas perimeter. I used 3 of my 4 ft pieces.
  2. Saw. I could have used my miter saw, but I used my Ryobi Circular Saw. (Here’s the exact saw that I have from the Ryobi Combo Kit. It’s a great starter set for DIYers.) Here’s a cheaper option, too.
  3. Brad nails and nailer – I used this brad nailer, but this cordless one is on my wish list!

OK, so you’re going to frame it out with wood pieces from the hardware store. I was taking down my Christmas decor and had this big star that I’d made with lattice. (Lattice is a thin wood strip that measures about 1.5″ wide and .25″ deep. I find mine near all of the wood moulding in the lumber section of the hardware store.)

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As I was taking my decor down, I realized that I didn’t want to store my big star. I really didn’t want to keep it and use it again next year, so I was trying to think of ways to use the wood. I had used glued and screws to hold the ends together, so really other than the ends, the wood was in great shape and already stained. Whoop! Less work for me.

No WAY! This is such an easy (and cheap!) way frame a canvas. It makes a $22 DIY art piece look like it's worth much more!!

So, I measured my DIY painting, the short sides first, and cut down the strips of wood. I didn’t feel like lugging out my big miter saw, even though it would have been the best choice. Instead I set up my saw horses and used my Ryobi circular saw. Quick and fast!

No WAY! This is such an easy (and cheap!) way frame a canvas. It makes a $22 DIY art piece look like it's worth much more!!

Once I had all of the right sized pieces, I nailed them to the canvas frame with my brad nailer. The frame is deeper than the canvas, so I just nailed them flush with the front of the canvas. It makes it look more substantial than it really is.

No WAY! This is such an easy (and cheap!) way frame a canvas. It makes a $22 DIY art piece look like it's worth much more!!

There’s one part of the bottom that could use some stain, but it’s not very noticeable. I’ll probably never fix it. 🙂

I was thrilled with how this turned out and how I didn’t spend a (new) dime to do it.

No WAY! This is such an easy (and cheap!) way frame a canvas. It makes a $22 DIY art piece look like it's worth much more!!

I still need to fill the rest of my frames on the gallery wall since I’ve taken my Christmas art down. Hopefully I’ll find some new baskets too and this space will be done!

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34 Comments

  1. I’m going to do the same with a painting my adult daughter painted for me. I’ve had the wood in the workshop for about 6 months now… You have motivated me to finish it 🙂

  2. This is exactly what I was looking for for my simple artwork;) I just wonder if it would be possible to glue the frame instead of nailing it? What do you think?

  3. What’s th Elaine color on your wall. Its kind of greige? I like it and am trying to find a good color for my living room.

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  5. I really wanted to read your article but due to all of the pop-up ads and videos that were playing prevented me from even beginning to enjoy what you wrote. Too bad! Got to make that $.50 don’t you? says:

    I really wanted to read your article but due to all of the pop-up ads and videos that were playing prevented me from even beginning to enjoy what you wrote. Too bad! Got to make that $.50 don’t you?

    1. Honestly your attempt to be snarky just shows your inability to properly read. Everyone else can gather the info here. Since you’re the only one who can’t, I’m thinking it’s a you problem.

    2. I swear – this blog has more adds in the blog page than the comment section. Pirated movie websites have less adds than this

  6. Thank you so much for this! I need it, as I’ve just started painting large canvases (usually I use paper) and paying for someone to do it is expensive. Your solution is simple, affordable and most important– confidence-building! Especially helpful to see your side by side before and after. Yup, that little frame makes a big difference.

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  9. Well, I for one found out exactly what I needed to know. Sometimes people put too much information and the blog becomes tedious and boring. I appreciate your simple advice and am headed to the store for some lattice strips, Which I had no idea there were boards called that. I always thought the term lattice was for that criss cross garden panels.
    Also, I think anything other than brad nails would be tacky and might split the canvas frame. If you don’t want to see them, it would be easy to countersink them and add a touch of wood filler with your finger before staining.
    The beautiful artwork is really complimented by this look. Good job!

  10. Found this googling ‘how to frame canvas’ and I have to say this tutorial is just lazy – you completely skipped over the part where you actually build it, what kind of nails you used, actual nail placement. It’s as if you built this first and realized you forgot to document it. So you went back and took some photos of the components but totally neglecting the ACTUAL build. It’s about as useful of having an ingredient list but no recipe.

    1. Illona, let me offer a bit of advice that might aid you in completing what most would consider to be a fairly straight forward and simple project. First, consider the source. This is not an “instructable” where every nitpick detail is outlined for those who don’t want to take the time to think through things themselves. This is a blog, and a very nice one at that, where projects are displayed, inspiration offered, and basics covered. Second, take the time to both read the post and familiarize yourself with the basic tools and techniques needed to complete the project prior to posting. Outlined for you there you’ll see that she uses brads to bind the lattice to the canvas stretcher bars. Brads. Not nails. If the actual placement of the brads is of concern to you I would advise you to consult google… or i can save you some time and tell you that for a project this size and weight the placement is not really a concern. Think it through, make it sturdy, and voila, you’re done. Third, your critique on the build sounds like it comes from personal experience and I thank you for sharing your opinion. Once again, this is just about as simple as attaching tape to wrapping paper to wrap a present. If you’re confused I would definitely do a bit more research. Thanks for sharing such enlightened thoughts! I hope you have a great weekend and were able to complete your project with few to no hang-ups!

      1. That was such a satisfying response. ***CLAP*** Some people are so unhappy, unsatisfied, and just mean.

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  12. I was thinking of trying this this weekend! I don’t see exactly where you put the nails in the lattice though. I would love for the nails not to show (like yours), but I can figure out how you got the nails in there without it showing! How did you do it?/Where exactly did you put the nails?

    1. The brads she used (not nails) are smaller and shorter than nails, so they won’t be very noticeable at all. Placement isn’t too much of a concern, unless you’re concerned about the wood bowing out. At the corners, and about every few inches around should do it.

    2. Hi Emily….The brads she used are smaller and thinner than nails, with just a hint of a head on them, so they are barely noticeable, if at all. The placement of them isn’t too much of a concern, unless you’re worried that the wood will bow away from the canvas. I’d do the corners first, then the middle. If it’s a really big piece, then I’d do additional brads every 5-6 inches, so 3-5 brads on the short ends, and 5-7 on the long ends. You can countersink them if you want by tapping the head of the brad into the wood ( I use a sharp screw or awl with a hammer), then filling with wood putty and stain. I am SO excited to see this tutorial! I have several canvases I’ve painted, and needed to frame them quickly and inexpensively for our county fair entry! Will DEFINITELY be doing these!

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  16. I really like how simple this was, and the stain colour seems to go perfectly with the art too! You could even line the lattice frame with the back of the canvas so it sticks out in the front (for a different effect).

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