Custom Deep Floating Gallery Frame

4 Materials
2 Hours

I love to paint and I've been practicing a lot so I have a bunch of canvases that need framing. Getting them framed at a store can be pretty pricey so I decided to make my own!

Measuring for the frame pieces

I wanted my frame to be floating and deeper than the actual canvas. I decided on a 1/4 inch gap around the entire painting. I used 1/4 inch spacers and 3/4 scrap pieces to get the exact measurements of each piece for the frame and I used 1 1/2 inch by 3/4 inch pine board.

Cutting your pieces to length

For a 20x24 canvas I had the following cut list:

2- 25 15/16

2- 20 1/2

The canvas can be a little thicker in certain places so that's why I like to use the spacers and scrap pieces to get the actual measurements instead of just figuring it based on what the canvas size says.

Gluing and clamping

I used a small amount of wood glue and some clamps to hold the pieces in place so I could nail it up.


I used a nail gun and shot 2 nails into each joint. I made sure to stay away from the edges enough to not cause the wood to split.

Checking for square

I measured each diagonal to make sure the frame was nice and square. It was a little off the first time I measured so I adjusted the clamp just a bit to pull everything perfectly square.


Next I sanded the entire frame with a sanding sponge and then decided on gold paint. You can also stain or clearcoat it depending on what look you're going for. I painted two coats so that the gold was nice and even but the wood grain still showed through just a bit.

Custom brackets

Using aluminum angle, I cut my brackets to size using a chop saw. This will allow me to attach my canvas to the larger frame and make it appear to be floating. You might be able to find something similar at a hardware store but I decided to just use what I already had on hand.

Drilling holes

I used a drill press to drill two holes into each bracket.

Attaching the brackets

This shows where and how the brackets will be attached to keep the frame from touching the canvas. I used one bracket on the center of each side.

Setting up before attaching

I laid my canvas upside down in the frame so it would be flush with the front of the frame. I used the 1/4 inch spacers all around to ensure an even gap on all sides. (Even though I THOUGHT I measured correctly it was a little loose top to bottom so I used folded paper to split the difference in the gap. Measure twice, cut once! 😂😂😂)

Pilot holes

I drilled a small pilot hole to help get the screw in easier and prevent any splitting. Be sure no not drill all the way through!

Close up

All done! Making the frame deeper than the canvas makes it look more substantial and modern in my opinion.

Final look!

I love the separation of the floating style frame! Thanks for stopping by and following along with my latest project! To see more be sure and follow me on Instagram!

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Giuliano Scarpa
    on Mar 24, 2020

    Fantastic look! Will copy the idea but will try to simplify the execution. My idea is that of using a sheet of 1/4" plywood for the frame backing, the size of the painting, the frame plus the spacing. I will simply lay it flat and glue everything on top of it, painting in the centre and the frame around it, leaving the 1/4" spacing in between. Do you think this could work out?

    • Christine
      on Apr 10, 2020

      I've used masonite and 1/4" plywood to back floating frames. Both work well.

  • Deacq
    on Mar 25, 2020

    Love the idea. Will the aluminium brackets be partially visible between the 1/4" gap?

    I also noticed on the final finished product, the gap between painting and frame appear black. Is that just shadow from the photograph, or did you paint the inside of the outer frame black?

    • Lisa West
      on Mar 31, 2020

      Very nice. You did a great job. Tye directions are easy to follow to. Thank you for the idea. I have a painting I did. This would make it pop. Thank you again.

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