Easy How to Make a Floating Canvas Frame DIY Tutorial

January 3, 2024

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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Thank you for all of the love on my DIY textured wall art I shared last week. While they look amazing without adding a frame, after making a floating canvas frame DIY for each one of them, I knew it was the right choice.

I have made textured art canvas prints before and even made my own frames before too. But this sleek and modern floating frame takes it to a whole new level. I am so loving the look of this beautiful frame on each of my canvases.

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Are you looking to add a touch of modern elegance to a room in your home? A floating canvas frame is the perfect solution! This DIY project is simple, affordable, and customizable, allowing you to display your favorite artwork in a sleek and contemporary manner.

Sometimes called floater frames, float frames, but most commonly called floating canvas frames, this simple DIY will complement your textured canvas art with a modern, minimalist look.

Check out my Crate & Barrel Textured Art Canvas Print Dupe

Not only does a floating canvas frame create a stunning visual impact, but it also saves valuable wall space and is a great way to add a unique touch to any room.

In this tutorial, I will guide you step-by-step through the process of building your own floating canvas frame DIY. From gathering the materials to the final finishing touches, this post has it all. So, let’s get started with these three easy steps.

How to Create a Floating Canvas Frame DIY

Materials Needed for Floating Canvas Frame DIY:

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Amount of supplies needed is dependent upon the number of frames needed and canvas size.

Tools Needed for Floating Canvas Frame:

Step One: Measure and cut

First and foremost, be sure you’re working on a flat surface. This will ensure a more precise and correct measurement.

When measuring, it’s important that you take into account the thickness of the corner brace. Therefore, the first step I did, was place all of my brackets on each corner..

Green canvas with textured all art

I found it easiest to cut my wood pieces as I went. I used these 1×2’s from Home Depot. To determine the length of each board, line it up with the canvas and the brackets and mark where your cut needs to be….

Brackets in place for floating canvas frame diy

Lining up my boards rather than measuring the canvas itself, gave me a much more precise cut.

Once you have the mark, as to where to cut, make the cut, using your miter saw.

The left board should be the same length as the left side of your canvas, with both of the brackets

Canvas with textured paste and one side of the frame attached

Since this was my first time making a floating frame, I chose not to add mitered corners to the ends of my boards.

If you choose to add miter cuts to your boards, you’ll need to cut each end at a 45 degree angle.

Next, you’ll line up your right board with the brackets, mark where to cut, and then make the cut, using your miter saw. You should now have the left and right side of your DIY wood frame cut…

Canvas with 2 sides of the frame attached

And now you’re ready to cut the bottom and top. Repeat the same steps as the left and right boards. Your frame should now look like this…

Floating canvas frame diy with all of the frame attached

Step Two: Add the spacers

Dry fit the frame. Now that you have your frame dry-fitted, you’re ready to start assembling it. To do this, we’ll use the 2-inch brackets.

I learned while assembling mine, it’s easiest to attach the brackets to both ends of the left and right boards first. In other words, the sides of the frame.

Be sure to bring the bracket all the way to the end and long edge of the board….

Girl using a drill to attach brackets to a 1x2 board

Attach the brackets to both ends of the left and right boards. As shown below…

Floating canvas frame diy ready to go on a textured wall art canvas

Next, you’ll add the top and bottom pieces to your left and right boards.

Add wood glue where the corner pieces of wood meet. A corner clamp will make this step a little easier.

However, if you don’t have one, an extra pair of hands would be helpful instead.

Girl using a drill to attach brackets to a 1x2 board

When finished, your frame will be fully assembled…

Girl using a drill to attach a frame for a floating canvas frame diy

Step Three: Paint or stain the frame

Originally, I was planning to keep mine a natural wood color. My plan was to give it a light coat of MinWax Natural wood stain. Which is basically a very transparent stain color.

Adding this transparent stain, would have pulled out the wood grain a little more than if I would have left it unstained.

But, after thinking it through a little more, I decided to give them an actual color.

I first applied Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. When applying Pre-Stain, it’s important that you move onto the next step of applying the actual stain, before the Pre-Stain dries.

Moving onto the actual stain, I used a rag to wipe on Varathane Early American Stain. I then wiped it off, before allowing it to dry too much.

Next, I applied Varathane Weathered Gray over the Early American. And once again, went back and wiped it off, before allowing it to dry.

This easy process, gave me this finished look…

Wall canvas wooden frames

Ahhhh! It’s a perfect combination of stain colors every time!

Step Four: Insert the canvas

Moving onto the final step.

This part, proved to be a little tricky. Three of the sides went in with no problems, but that last corner was somewhat of a beast. It’s a tight fit, as it should be.

You don’t want the canvas to fall out of the frame, so you want it to have a snug fit between the braces. All said and done, the backside of the frame and canvas backing should be flush and once again, a perfect fit…

Girl inserting canvas into wooden floating frame

After working on it for a little while, a lightbulb went off. I grabbed my mallet and gave it a few taps and voila! It worked! Snug as a bug!

Girl using a mallet insert a canvas into a floating canvas frame diy

You have a beautiful floating canvas frame…

Textured wall art with a floating canvas frame

Notice how the brackets give it that floating affect? It’s so good!

Regular Frames are Easy to Make too! Here’s the Link!

Textured wall art canvas with a floating canvas frame diy

5 Quick and important tips:

  • Add hanging hardware. Depending on the size of your canvas, add one or two picture frame hooks onto the back of the DIY frame itself. These are the hooks I used. Picture wire works great too.
  • To paint or not to paint. If you choose to paint your frame, it’s easiest to do that before you insert your canvas. However, if you fail to do so, line the edges of the canvas with painter’s tape and then apply your stain or paint.
  • Black brackets are best. Using black brackets as opposed to any other color, will be less noticeable in between the frame and the canvas. If you can’t find black brackets, simply spray paint the brackets you find black. I used these brackets from Amazon.
  • Choosing your wood. When choosing your wood, be sure that it is no less than 3/4 inches thick. The screws for your brackets will go through anything less than 3/4″. If you choose to use a thinner wood, be sure to use shorter screws. Or consider making your frame using this technique instead.
  • Choosing between a floating frame and regular frame. A floating frame will allow the artwork to appear as if it’s floating in the frame. Another benefit, is that it allows the entire canvas to be seen. No part of the canvas is hidden or obscured by the frame. But if you’re wanting a sleek frame with much less thickness, a regular wooden canvas frame will work better. Here’s a full tutorial on how I made a regular custom frame for some of my other canvases.

DIY Floating Frame FAQ’s

What is a floating frame?

A floating frame makes artwork appear as if it’s floating in the air. While it’s most often used for canvas prints, it can be used to frame any artwork piece.

What kind of hanging hardware should I use for a floating frame?

Depending on the weight of the canvas, any hanging hardware will work. If the artwork is on the heavy side, you’ll want to use a hanger wire or D-Rings. For a canvas with a lighter frame, sawtooth hardware will work great.

How do I ensure the frame is square and level?

  1. Use a carpenter’s square or a framing square to check the corners of your frame. Place the square in each corner to ensure that the angles are exactly 90 degrees. If they’re not, you may need to adjust the cuts or sand the edges until they are square.
  2. Measure the diagonals of your frame from one corner to the opposite corner. The diagonals should be equal in length if the frame is perfectly square. If they’re not equal, adjust the frame until they match.
  3. Use a level to check if the frame is level horizontally and vertically. Ensure that the frame is hanging or resting on a flat, level surface while you do this. Adjust as needed to make it level in both directions.
  4. When attaching the artwork or photo inside the frame, ensure it is centered and level. Use a measuring tape or ruler to check the margins on all sides to make sure they are even.
  5. When hanging the frame on the wall, use a level to ensure it hangs straight and doesn’t tilt to one side. You can also use a pencil to mark the desired height on the wall before hanging the frame.

What is the most common mistake when making a floating frame?

Not testing the “floating” effect: Before permanently attaching the artwork, make sure the float effect works as intended. Ensure the spacers or mounting method lift the artwork slightly from the backing.

Be sure to stand the framed artwork upright before hanging it. Ensure that it has the illusion of the canvas floating in the air.

I hope you found these complete plans for this floating canvas frame DIY tutorial to not only be informative, but something you can re-create.

With only two power tools needed, this is another super easy and fun DIY project. Are you ready to go out and create your own float frame and abstract wall art?

DIY textured wall art canvases on a long black wall behind a sofa

Be sure to check out my tutorial showing how I made each of these textured wall art canvases. Here’s the link!

Adding a DIY canvas frame to each of my picture frame moulding boxes was a great way to bring in more texture to my theater room.

One more look at this beautiful floating frame…

Canvas hung with wooden frame around it

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

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