How to Use Canvas Floater Frames to Display Museum-Worthy Art

Written by Mark Rogers

Frames can make or break a piece of art. There’s a reason why art galleries choose certain frames for their collections — even a priceless Picasso would look cheap in a frame from a discount store.

You don’t have to have an art gallery budget to make your art look priceless, though. Canvas frames and floater frames are designed to mimic the look of fine art in a gallery, but for a fraction of the price.

What Are Floater Frames?

Floater frames get their name because of the optical illusion they create: the canvas looks as though it is “floating” inside the frame. This effect occurs because the inside edge of the frame is ½-inch from the side of the canvas, both protecting the canvas and giving it an appearance that is unlike any regular frame.

Floater frames at Frame Destination are between 9/16” to 2” inches deep, and can accommodate art panels and gallery-wrapped canvases ranging from 5/8” – 2” inches thick.

For example, the F141 canvas floater frame is 2 1/8” deep, providing a recessed appearance for the 2-inch tall S280 and S150 stretcher bar frames. In addition, this frame is available with a black inside and goldsilver, or black face, which further emphasizes the floating look.

Floater frames are available in wood and metal as well as a variety of colors, including black, white, bronze, gold, silver and natural wood hues, and widths — from stately 1 1/-inch wide wood floater frames to ¼-inch wide metal floater frames that let the artwork shine.

How to Order a Canvas Floater Frame

Ordering a canvas floater frame is easy: pick a frame, select a color and then enter the size of your canvas. To determine the correct floater frame size, enter the size of your stretcher bar frame, measuring the straight sides from corner to corner. With standard finished floater frames, we add one inch to the canvas size to allow for a 1/2-inch gap around the canvas. If you prefer a smaller gap, which may be better for flatter canvases, simply adjust the size of your canvas: if you have a 16 x 20 canvas, for example, you may enter 15-1/2 x 19-1/2 so that the floater is cut 1/2-inch smaller, resulting in a 1/4-inch gap along the sides.

Each floater frame comes completely assembled with glue and V-nails, along with mounting and hanging hardware. If you’d like to see what you get before you invest, order a sample set: you can order corner or straight sets of color frames or a selection of black and white frames to find the perfect match.

Can Non-Canvas Photos Use Floating Frames?

Turn almost any photo into a canvas by ordering a canvas through a specialized printing company. You can also print a photo on canvas with a regular printer, though you’ll need to follow some specific steps to stretch the canvas so that it will work with a floating frame.
Regardless of how you create the canvas, a floater frame is a sophisticated and impressive way to feature your art — for now and for years to come.

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Last Updated June 17, 2021

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2 thoughts on “How to Use Canvas Floater Frames to Display Museum-Worthy Art”

  • Elaine

    I’m having a 20x60 painting done by a friend. I have a painting hanging now with a floater frame. I measured the the paintings frame and it’s 2”. What size canvas should I buy?

    • Laura W

      I'm a little confused on the numbers here - is the 2" the depth of the painting? Also, if the canvas is for the 20x60 painting, you will need to determine how deep you will want your stretcher bar. This will determine how much of a border you'll need on the canvas to create a 20x60 visual space. For example, if you want a stretcher bar that is 2" deep, you'll want at least a 24.5x64.5 piece of canvas, the artist will paint the 20x60 space, and the extra inches will wrap around the canvas bar.

  • Lourdes Miranda
    Lourdes Miranda March 1, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I'm looking for a floater frame for a canvas gallery wrap that is 2" deep. The actual dimensions of the piece are 12" by 48" and I'm looking for a cherry or medium brown color. Do you carry products like these? If so, what would the price be? Also, would it be possible to get a sample?

    Thank you.


    Lourdes Miranda


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