Build a Giant DIY Canvas Frame Using a Drop Cloth

2 Materials
2 Days

Large art pieces can be super expensive. The canvas alone can cost a small fortune, but not if you build it yourself! Let’s build a giant DIY canvas frame using a drop cloth and a few pieces of inexpensive lumber.

Hi Friends, have you ever dreamed up an idea only to find that in reality, what you want isn’t necessarily what you can afford? But it doesn’t change the fact that you want it. Well, when was doing the f oyer room makeover, I knew I wanted a massive piece of contemporary art to live in the foyer. Problem? Price, what else. The price for an 8ft by 7ft canvas alone would have taken all of my allotted budget and more. So, what life without a little ingenuity and sweat equity? I decided that we could make this happen! Step one – build a giant DIY canvas frame using a drop cloth, my favorite little secret ally!
If you have followed my blog for a little while, you know how big my crush is on drop cloths. They just complete me or should I say my projects. Ha!*SUPPLIES:Large drop clothNail gunNailsSaw  Miter boxor Chop sawStaple gunStaplesClamp
STEP 1:Decide how large is large. For me, I wanted 8ft. x 7ft, so my dropcloth size was 9ft.x12ft.
STEP 2:Purchase lumber for the frame. I decided to use thinner building supplies to allow a little more (probably more perceived space honestly) since hallway that leads to the formal living room is on the narrow side.
STEP 3:Build the outer “box” of the frame. Then beef up the corners. Finally add the cross pieces. This frame is huge so, we initially thought we could get away with just the corner braces but the frame wobbled and looked wonky on the wall. We toe-nailed the cross pieces into the frame and they made all the difference.
STEP 4:Cut your drop cloth down to your desired size plus a few extra inches on each side to ensure complete wrap around of wood frame. My lumber thickness is 2ish inches (we made the frame out of 1×2’s which is not exactly 1×2 inches) so I have an excess of at least 2 1/2 inches for coverage.*Once you finish stretching and stapling – you will need to cut off any bit of excess.
STEP 5:There are different theories and thoughts on stretching canvas. This method is what works for me.  Place one staple in the middle of each side. As you move around the frame firmly but gently tug on the cloth to keep it taut. Then place a staple on each side of the middle staple. Continue this process until you have stapled all around the canvas. Leave corners last.Corners- Pull the middle of the corner taut, diagonal and down., Staple. This will leave a little flap on each side. Take one flap at a time and gently pull taut and down towards the frame’s corner and staple. Repeat this on each corner.I really hate that I do not have pictures of this process – I got caught up in the process and forgot. I will try to do a smaller frame so I can show you in more detail or I am sure the all powerful google can help if you do not want to wait on me.
The canvas is ready for your inspiration! Stay tuned, I will be sharing the behind the scenes of my contemporary version of art soon.
Till Later friends,Joy
Follow me on Instagram too! @theaspiringhome_

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 9 questions
  • SnowKnitty
    on Jan 11, 2020

    Joy - thanks for sharing how to do this! In the pic of the unpainted canvas on the frame, the undulations from stretching the canvas are visible. It seems the paint you used smoothed it out or made it invisible. I do not have your talent for painting and would like to do something similar using stencils on a solid background. I assume I will need to iron creases out of the cloth. But I'm wondering if the background paint will be enough to hide/smooth those undulations. Can you please tell me more about how you resolved the issue with those undulations?

    • Jeanne Martin
      on Jan 19, 2020

      I can't see any "undulations" in the stretched canvas so I'm guessing much wasn't needed!

  • Sandy
    on May 6, 2020

    Hi, love the piece, did you prep the canvas before painting?

  • Mai
    on Aug 31, 2020

    did you prep the canvas before painting? If so what did you use?


    • Joy
      on Sep 1, 2020

      No, I didn’t prep it. I just painted- it’s not the proper way but it’s what I did. 😊

Join the conversation

2 of 14 comments
  • Robyn Garner
    on Jan 17, 2020

    BRILLIANT!!! Canvasses from art stores or extremely expensive.

  • Gwen Morton
    on Mar 10, 2020

    Totally inspiring! I just added this to my to do list for spring.

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