After taking up painting (see my "getting started with painting" post for tips on how to do this!), I learned that, as an amateur, framing my canvases could make my pieces look more polished and better than they actually are. But framing paintings can be really expensive if you don’t DIY, so I quickly got to work learning how to do it myself. There are many different levels of framing, and here I’ll show you the very easiest one. Anyone can do it, it requires no power tools or specialized supplies, and it costs about $5 in materials! This method works for any canvases that are stretched on wood frames. The method I’ll show you how to do is called a “flush mount,” but you can easily adapt it to make it look more like a floating mount (like with the blue painting to the left).
Here’s what you need:
If you buy your lattice at Home Depot the information card should tell you what type of nails to use (mine recommended 4D x 1.5 inch finishing nails). Make sure the lattice you buy is wider than the edge of your canvas. As long as it's at least a little bit wider, you're good to go. My canvas was 3/4 inches on the edge, and I bought lattice that was 1-3/8 inches.
1. Figure out what sizes you’ll need to cut your wood at. My painting was 20 inches by 16 inches. My lattice was 1/4 inch thick. This means that I would need a total of 20+20+16+16+1/4+1/4+1/4+1/4 inches of lattice to surround my painting. I chose to make the two side pieces longer so that from the side you wouldn't be able to see any seams. This meant that the top and bottom pieces would need to be shorter, so I would need to cut two 16-inch pieces, and two 20.5-inch pieces (because laying the pieces on the top and bottom of the painting adds a quarter-inch of thickness to each side, due to the lattice being a quarter-inch thick.
2. Saw and sand your wood. Home Depot has manual sawing stations set up in the store, so if you don’t have your own saw you can cut it in the store if you bring your measurements. Alternatively, you can pay them to power saw the lattice for you if you want a really clean cut (it's pretty cheap, I think only about twenty five cents per cut?). But with pieces this thin it’s super easy to cut it yourself. The sawing took me less then 5 minutes total. Then sand down the sawed edges of your wood pieces with sandpaper.
3. Line up your wood with the canvas to make sure it fits. Looks good! At this point if you want to stain your wood, now is a good time to do it!
4. Tape the first piece of the frame in place. Tape it in exactly the position you'd like it to be in the final product. This is where you get to pick whether you want the frame to be flush with the edge of the painting (as I've done right here), or if you want it to have more of a "floating" effect (as in the painting at the very start of this post).
5. Nail in the wood. Position your first nail about 3/4 of an inch to an inch in from the edge. Make sure that your nail is lined up with the wooden frame that the canvas is stretched out over, so that you will be connecting your new wood piece to that wood piece. Add another nail to the other side of your wood piece. If you are framing a very large painting it can also be a good idea to add one more nail to the center of each side.
6. Repeat the taping/nailing for each side. I attached the top and bottom (shorter pieces) first, and then did the sides. Below is the painting from the back, with all wood pieces attached! You can see it's not quite perfect, but it's still going to look okay!
7. Stain your wood. As I said before, if you do want to stain or paint your wood, it's a good idea to do this at the beginning, *before* you've attached it to the painting, but unfortunately I decided late that it would look better darker. I didn't have any stain, so I just used watered down India ink and painted that directly on to all sides of the frame.
8. Hang it up! That's it! You're ready to hang! This process is super easy and beginner friendly. It took me less than 20 minutes.