Build a Giant DIY Canvas Frame Using a Drop Cloth

by Joy
3 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_
Resources for this project:
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 10 questions
  • Sandy Sandy on May 06, 2020

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

  • Mai Mai on Aug 31, 2020

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


  • Karen Bosco Karen Bosco on Jan 11, 2021

    Did you Gesso your canvas?

Join the conversation
2 of 24 comments
  • Katen Katen on Jan 09, 2023

    Normally I don’t prefer drop cloths for projects shown on many platforms. But for this best idea going. Thanks for sharing

  • Carolina's Art Carolina's Art on Jan 09, 2023

    Wow, great save of money, doing it yourself, not to mention the beautiful art piece. Stunning.