Canvas frames for under $2!

I’m going to share a simple and very inexpensive way to frame canvas art. Whether it’s a painting of yours or a photo printed on canvas, adding a frame can make it feel more substantial and complete.

In the past I have used pieces of wood, 1x2s, mitered the edges and stained them, then nailed them to the canvas. This looks nice, but I wanted to do something for a couple of very small canvas paintings I had. These are about 6″x6″ squares. I wanted quick and easy and almost free.

I can’t remember where I originally saw this idea, and I tried searching afterwards, but didn’t find the post that sparked this, but I decided to go with paint mixing sticks as my wood.

Some paint stores give them away for free. Home Depot sells 10 packs of regular size (sticks for 1 gallon paints) and 3 packs of larger sizes (allows you to do this with a larger canvas!) for under $1. Anyways, they are readily available and free to inexpensive.

I didn’t want to bring the saw out so I hand cut them in a saw box. The wood is so thin that it goes fast. In the future I will probably miter them and use a saw, but this worked for a quick spir of the moment DIY frame.

After cutting the pieces, I sanded the rough edges down a bit with a sanding block I had on hand. The sticks I used have a ruler grid on one side, you could easily sand this off, or just make sure its on the back inside of the wood- this is what I did and it doesn’t show.

After cutting and sanding them I could have stopped and left the wood raw, but this is going in my bathroom. See it here for the ORC. I have a mirror in there and I wanted to match the wood a bit. So, again I could have pulled out some stain, but I wasn’t wanting to deal with the smell and the volatility- with 3 young kids around it can be hard to find the time to properly clean and put away items like that. Life is a bit unpredicatable around here, and I often get desgin stuff done in the in-between moments.

So, I just got my acrylic paints, and mixed a few colors to get a close match to the mirror frame. I added a bit of water to make it more of a wash then a full coat of paint. I wanted some fo the natural wood grain to come through. It took a few mixes to get the color I wanted- I just tested it on the cut pieces left over from making the frame. This all took less than 10 min.

After I settled on the color, I painted and let them dry. Then I took out my trusty hot glue gun, and glued them down. I told you, so simple. Now I have to say, make sure you get it on there right the first time because hot glue is NOT forgiving and it ripped some of the canvas, fortunatey only the canvas part that would remain covered. But this could have gone bad, and could have destroyed an irreplaceable piece of art.

If you have larger/thicker wood, I would definitely recommend you use nails or staples. But the sticks are really thin, so glue worked.

So there you have it, under $2.00 and the art feels complete.

These paintings were inspired by Melissa Lyons amazing flower paintings. Hers are huge and just absolutely lovely.

Check back when the bathroom is complete to see them up and in action!



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