How to Make an Easy $3 Wood Canvas Frame

6 Materials
2 Hours

"Ugh $500!!" I gasped.

A neighboring customer glared at me over her thin pink-framed glasses.

My heart sank along with my vision of the beautiful framed watercolor autumn tree-lined sidewalk that would greet me every morning in our new master bathroom remodel.

Can Large Art Be Affordable?

Large canvas art can be affordable and building the wood frame yourself is a big part of that savings. A large framed canvas can set you back $100 - $700+ depending on the store. I paid less than $60 for this 40 x 30 inch framed canvas art.

In this tutorial I will show you how to make a frame for large canvas art.

Here is the before pic without the frame.

This easy canvas frame involves two 1 x 2s. You will create a frame that attaches to a cradle. The cradle holds the back of the canvas in place and lines up the edges of the canvas with the front of the frame.  

Align the cradle with the frame. Mark center of the top, bottom and side cradles and the center of the top, bottom and side frames. On the back of the cradle pieces drill pilot holes and drill countersink holes. This is where you will attach the canvas to the cradle. 

The reason for the countersink is so the screws will not scratch the wall on the backside of the frame.

Line up center with the corresponding pieces (side frame to side cradle, bottom frame to bottom cradle, etc.) then glue and nail in place.

This is what the cradle pieces look like before nailing together. 

Sand all four pieces of the frame. Glue and nail together at all four corners using a square to keep 90 degrees.

Apply wood filler to fill in any nail holes and cracks. Then I layered a few different stains. I applied Special Walnut and Weathered Gray and then lightly sanded. Then I applied Dark Walnut. To add a rustic look I dry brushed white paint over the stain and lightly sanded. 

I finished it off with a matte sealer.

Once the sealer dries attach the hanging hardware.

Insert the canvas into the cradle. Screw the cradle to the back of the canvas frame using 1-inch screws (where the countersink holes are).

Hang it on the wall in its new home. 

I love how it turned out and I didn't have to deal with any dirty looks behind pink glasses. 


I love DIYing a home on a budget. Come visit me to see how you can too. Check out 5 Simple Design Secrets to Transform a Room for other tips on a beautiful budget friendly home.

Also I know you will like this DIY Bifold Barn Door that shows you how to update a bifold fold to a barn door look for $15.

Thanks for checking out this post! Let me know if you have any questions.


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


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Retta Robinson
    Retta Robinson
    on Jul 31, 2019

    Does the painting end up flush with the front of the frame?

    • Andrea Spearman
      Andrea Spearman
      on Feb 21, 2020

      I love your frame and just ignore the old biddies with the pink framed glasses - they've probably never done a DIY project in their life and have probably never had to worry about a budget or making choices between buying food for the month and getting some decorating done for their home is what I've found over the years.

  • Debbie Matis
    Debbie Matis
    on Oct 20, 2020

    When measuring the wood for the frame, if the picture is 30x40 is the wood 30 x 40 or larger?

Join the conversation

4 of 14 comments
  • Ticia
    on Sep 7, 2019

    Good job. That picture makes me want to walk down that road. Just loved it.

  • Karen
    on Apr 23, 2020

    TIP TRICKS; Dont create the cradle. Paint the inside of the wall, black (if your frame is black) and hang the frame and the art individually. The black paint will act as the natural "float" space. Your eye will think its part of the frame. Make sure to leave room for the float space. But both can hang independently.

    Yes my 36x36 was anywhere from $250 and up! Michaels store couldnt even do that size!

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