How to Frame Canvas Art

Written by Mark Rogers

To frame or not to frame your gallery-wrapped canvas? That’s a valid question. Artwork on canvas has its own dimensional look, and it’s perfectly fine to display it sans frame. However, framing can be a good choice when the frame complements both the art and the environment you’re showcasing it in. Or if the canvas has staples, and you’d rather hide them.

What Type of Frame is Best for Canvas Art?

Personally, I like floater frames for canvas art because they allow the viewer to appreciate the entirety of the artwork with no frame rim covering the art. In a floater frame, the art seems to hover or “float” within the frame, owing to the ribbon of space between the canvas and the inner frame. 

In the video below, I’ll walk through how to mount a gallery-wrapped canvas into one of the wood Canvas Floater Frames from our collection. In the same video, I’ll also show you how to hang a framed gallery-wrapped canvas. Keep reading to see written instructions.

Framing a Gallery-Wrapped Canvas

No matter which style of frame you choose, your Canvas Floater Frame kit will include: 

  • Frame
  • Offset clips with screws
  • Hanging kit with wire, hangers, and wall bumpers
  • Instructions 

Along with your artwork, here are a few other things to have handy:

  • Pencil
  • Screwdriver or drill
  • Towel (or something to protect your artwork from the work surface)

1. Choose how many offset clips to use. Your floater frame kit comes with eight offset clips, but I’m only using six for this project: One on the top, one on the bottom, two on each side. You can always add more clips later if you want to further secure the art.

2. Center the art. The tricky part is getting your art perfectly centered because it’s hard to gauge from the back. Center your art top and bottom first. Then rotate the frame/artwork up on one edge, and pencil in centering marks on the back side of the floater frame. Turn the frame and art face down on a towel so you can see where the marks are.

3. Screw in the clips, but don’t tighten. The offset clips can be sitting on the canvas floater frame — you won’t screw them into the frame, but rather the stretcher. (Some clips have screw holes on one end; others have a hole on each end. You’ll only use one end.) Feel free to use an electric screwdriver. When you’re first screwing in the clips, don’t tighten them all the way. Be sure the artwork is centered first before you start to tighten them all.

4. Adjust artwork. Once you have the top and bottom clips in place, you can adjust the artwork left to right. You may need to tighten the top and bottom a bit more, so the art is more secure within the frame, but still free to move.

5. Prepare for side clips. Once it’s centered left to right, use a pencil to mark the back. Flip the piece over and adjust it to fit within your marks. Double-check the centering again.

6. Add clips to sides of artwork. Now come the side clips. By the time you’re done, there will be two clips on each side but for now start with just one on each side. The clips don’t have to be perfectly centered along the sides. 

7. Add final two clips. At this point, you’ll have a total of four clips, one on each side of the artwork/frame. Now you can add the final two clips to each side. Hold the stretcher bar and the canvas from the front so you’re not pushing it down too far. For example, the floater frame may be two inches thick, but your canvas may only be 1.5 inches thick. In that case, if you’re pushing down too much on the back of the canvas as you screw in the clips, you may push the canvas out of the frame.

8. Check centering, tighten all clips. Once all six clips are in, check it again for centering. Then go ahead and tighten up all the clips.

Voila: A gallery-wrapped canvas floating inside a floater frame!

The next step is to put the hanging kit on...

Hanging a Framed Gallery-Wrapped Canvas

1. Prep. Grab the hanging kit. Turn the framed artwork face down onto a towel or another soft surface, with the top edge of the frame toward you. 

2. Install d-ring hangers. About one-third down from the top, on the back side, pre-drill holes on each side of the frame. Insert the 2-ring hangers into the groove of the appropriate sides of the frame. You may need to loosen the screw in the mount before you can insert. Tighten the screw on each mount to secure.

3. Attach the wire. After mounting the two hangers, attach the wire. Insert one end of the wire up and out through the mounting hanger, making a couple of loops, then twisting the wire several times so it’s secure. (See illustration below.)

diagram wiring picture frame to mount

As you bring the wire over to the other side of the floater frame, be sure to leave a little slack in the wire. That will reduce how much the picture moves around after it’s hung on the wall.

Repeat wire process on this side. Clip off the excess wire. Then make one last loop around the hanger with the remaining wire, twisting the last bit of extra wire around the main wire. 

4. Add wall bumpers. Now add the wall bumpers at the bottom to help keep the bottom corners of the floater frame from digging into your wall.

5. Display. Now you’re ready to display your beautifully floated canvas art!

If you give this process a try, let me know how it turned out for you, and feel free to comment below with any tips or revelations along the way. 

Last Updated April 27, 2022