Easy DIY frame for canvas artwork

January 26, 2015

This is another one of those little projects I’ve had on my mental list forever, and this no-spend month is as good a time as any to get it done. Seriously, I want to go shopping SO bad. But this has been a GREAT month of getting lots of projects done and I will power through. :)

Back when I was finishing up our family room reno I needed some art for a wall and did a very quick piece of my own using a canvas I had picked up for another project. It turned out OK but it was a little dark and moody for the family room. The colors went gray instead of blue so I didn’t love it there.

I was changing things around in the master so I ended up hanging it there – and quite liked it. I don’t know if it will stay forever but for free art it will stick around for awhile:

framing out a canvas

A couple months ago I was finishing up small projects in that room and went ahead and framed it out with basic wood lattice trim from the hardware store:

easy DIY frame for art

I didn’t miter the corners or anything – they just butt up against each other. I quite loved the natural wood with the gray painting too:

gray water color art

I’ve been wanting to do the same with the painting I did years ago that now hangs in our foyer:

I just knew it would look more professional and finished off with a little edge to it. Problem was, I’m not spending on DIY this month and I didn't have enough of that lattice stuff. So I searched through the wood pile in the garage and came up with a solution. Cause I’m a hoarder crafty like that. :)

Remember the underlayment I used to do the inexpensive wood treatment over our fireplace?: 

gray fireplace with marble surround

Well when I had them cut it down at the store I kept the scraps. It’s really hard for me to give up stuff I know I can use later. And that I did:

I had a couple pieces that were a little over two inches in length so I sanded down the rough edges, then gave them a coat of black paint on the front and back:

DIY frame for artwork

This stuff takes paint really well so I never have to prime first.

Since it’s so thin I was able to avoid the garage and just cut with my miter box and handsaw:

miter box and hand saw

Old school baby!

I used my nail gun to secure them to the side of the canvas:

framing a canvas

And I couldn’t believe what a difference it made! It really makes it pop!:

DIY watercolor painting

The thickness is just perfect – even better than the lattice stuff. It’s a lot more substantial:

easy DIY frame for canvas

You can see here how I didn’t miter the ends – I just boxed it out:

framing out art

The edges of the underlayment stuff weren’t great but after it was painted, you can’t even tell. I really really love it! I love touches of black and now this all ties in together nicely with the stairs and the bench underneath:

framing out a canvas for cheap

Not bad for FREE. You can see how I transformed this old canvas into our personal art (I did it with the Bub) here. It’s something I treasure and I’m glad it has even more of a presence now:

DIY painting on canvas

If you don’t have scrap laying around the lattice is about $4 for eight feet – for less than ten bucks you could give a canvas some oompf. :) And if you have a big piece of art that underlayment is only $15 for an eight by ten sheet – you could have it cut to whatever size you need.

I did the same look with the giant IKEA map in the basement as well and it really finishes it off nicely:

giant map art Boom! Another one off the list and no money spent! I’m concentrating on getting a big project done this week and hope to declutter a few more spots as well. It’s been a productive month for sure!

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  1. I enjoyed reading your blog this morning... and what a lovely garden you have! I'm glad I discovered you. I shall come back.


  2. looks so good and next week you can go shopping.

  3. I love this idea! I have some canvas that I bought on sale and was going to do some projects with. I will have to use this idea to finish them off. It looks so much more professional and clean.

  4. Sarah, you are brilliant! Love this!

  5. I absolutely LOVE your wall decor ideas. I just discovered this blog and will be sure to visit often. Using things that you already have to create new pieces is a budget-friendly way to go, and really creates one-of-a-kind statement pieces. I've posted some ideas on home decor and wall decoration in particular at http://frameandartsource.com .

    I will definitely check back in as these ideas are wonderful!

  6. Ahh! Thank you for this! I have an Ikea canvas that I have been wanting to frame, but I had no idea how to do it! Also, no matter how many times I have heard it before, I ALWAYS forget that they can make cuts for you at the store, and that always trips me up when I want to do something like this. Thank you!

  7. Love this! What a simple project and also a beautiful painting!

  8. Oh wow that's impressive! I wasn't a huge fan of the painting when you posted a snippet of it on instagram a couple of days ago, but now with the black frame, it's a masterpiece! Good job!

  9. This is really good stuff. I came across your blog because I am making improvements to my condo and needed to know steps for painting my door on the inside. While reading on that I came across some other interesting blogs such as painting cabinets and figured I would come to your most recent blog to say hello and I LOVE your DIY stuff!

  10. What black paint do you use? I'm having a hard time finding the perfect black paint and your stuff looks incredible!!!!

  11. You are so resourceful. I am actually surprised at what a difference it does make. Just think, you'll be shopping by this time next week!

  12. You are so resourceful. I am actually surprised at what a difference it does make. Just think, you'll be shopping by this time next week!

  13. Those all three look great! I have a large map hanging on the wall that I have been wanting to frame, thanks for the inspiration!

  14. You go girl! Loved the chair in the first foyer photo! Cat looks happy! I put an upholstered bench behind my couch at the window so the cats could lounge and peek out. I did not like the table there and them jumping on it and knocking things off!

  15. Sarah you are just Brilliant!!!!
    I read your Blog every single day but first time posting a comment. Love all your DIY projects. I have a bunch of Canvas art begging to be framed. I have a question though with the DIY Canvas Frames, May be I missed this part. DO you actually screw/nail the canvas to the frame? or hot glue them together to stay in place? Please clarify the above. I can't wait to do this.

    Thanks in advance! Amulya

  16. What is the underlayment stuff really called so when I go into Lowe's, I call it by the right name?You said it was more substantial than the basic wood lattice trim so I would prefer to use that. It looks great!

  17. I am SO wondering where you got that WALL LAMP ???? It is EXACTLY what I have been looking for, IKEA maybe???? I am off to look there .... TIA

  18. Such a simple idea but it really adds something to the room! Love the huge ikea map- I may have to purchase this.


  19. looks awesome! such a great idea for upgrading the look of your home on the cheap. Especially helpful for me being a new home owner with many walls to decorate. Thanks!


  20. looks great!! I've done something similar with wood shim bundles before and it makes such a huge difference :)


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