How to Build a DIY Floating Frame

5 Materials
2 Hours

When  my daughter got married last year, for one of her gifts, we bought her and her husband a personalized push pin world map on a canavas. We thought it would be fun for them to track their travels over the years as a married couple.

Ever since I bought theirs, I’ve been wanting one also.  I just wasn’t sure where I’d hang it. My recent office makeover ended up providing the perfect spot, so I finally ordered one for myself.

The map came as a stretched canvas, with no frame. It’s lovely without the frame, but we decided that adding a floating frame would dress it up a tiny bit more, especially if we made a frame to coordinate with our farmhouse style.

The Wood

We bought two 8-foot pieces of oak that were a half inch thick and 2 inches wide. This gave us plenty of length for all four sides of the 24 x 40 inch canvas.

The wood says it’s 2 inches wide, but it’s really more like 1 1/2 inches, so that worked perfectly for our 1 1/2 inch deep canvas. Definitely measure your canvas carefully before you shop for wood, and bring your tape measure with you as well, so you can make sure you’re buying wood that will work with your canvas measurements.

This happened to be red oak, because that’s what they had available in the size we needed, but it didn’t matter, because I knew I would be covering it with a gray stain. It really doesn’t matter what kind of wood you use, but you should choose something that will work with how you plan to finish your wood.

Measuring & Cutting

Measure your canvas very carefully, because you want the frame to sit just slightly apart from the canvas, without being too loose. This is a floating frame that will fit around the outside edge of the wrapped canvas without covering up any of the front.

The nice thing about this frame, is that you don’t need to make any mitered corners. Hooray for that. I mean, we have a miter saw, but I’m not sure mitered corners are in my skill set yet. I don’t know, maybe it’s easier than I think? But for now, I was happy to make this frame

without them. 

For this frame, you overlap the wood at 90 degree angles in the corners, so you will want to allow for two sides to be slightly longer than the actual canvas size, to account for the overlap. Make sure you figure out your measurements carefully before doing any cutting.

Building the Frame

After you have the wood cut to the right lengths, you’re ready to build the frame.

We applied Gorilla glue to each end, and then used two small finish nails at each corner.

After it was dry, we tested it around our canvas to make sure it fit properly. It should just barely sit around the outside edge of the canvas.

The Finish

Sand any rough edges from cutting, or where glue seeped out.

Choose a finish to match your style. You could use stain, paint, or even just a clear coat if you like the look of the natural wood.

I had these two cans of stain leftover from other projects, so I tested them both out before deciding to go with the Classic Gray.

I painted on a layer of the gray stain, but didn’t like how much coverage it gave. I ended up using the “wipe off” method.

I painted on a layer of stain, and then immediately used a wrag to wipe it off. This allowed for a little bit of the gray stain to penetrate and color the wood, but still allowed for the wood grain to show through.

I kept doing this in small patches, working my way around the frame, painting on a little at a time, so the stain didn’t have time to dry before I wiped it off.

This is how it looked when it was all dry– a nice transparent gray tone with wood grains still showing through.

Attaching the Frame to the Canvas

After the frame was completely dry, we slid it carefully around the outside of the canvas again, and then used four L-shaped flat corner brackets from the hardware store to attach the frame to the canvas.

We screwed one side of the bracket into frame, after drilling pilot holes first, so as not to split the wood. Then we screwed the other side of the bracket into the framing that the canvas is stretch on, again drilling pilot holes first.

Placing one bracket in each of the four corners was enough to securely hold the floating frame in place.

Our canvas came with a sawtooth hanging bracket already attached, so it was easy to get it up on our wall in matter of minutes!

Because the frame only goes around the outside edge of the map, it gives the canvas a nice polished look, without covering any of the map details on the front.

I love how it looks above my recently upcycled bookcase!

We are really enjoying our travel map. It makes a great piece of artwork for my office, but also gives us a place to track, reminisce and dream about our travels, past and future.

-Niky @ The House on Silverado

PS. I'd love it if you'd come visit my blog for more fun projects like this.

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Niky | The House on Silverado
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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  2 questions
  • Pathfinder Pathfinder on Oct 22, 2020

    Small question. Where is the map canvas from?

  • Renda Renda on Oct 22, 2020

    What is the name of your sanding block? It looks like a nice one and is not on your materials list.



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