Make Your Own Large Canvas Frame

A giant art piece makes a statement, and you can do it yourself with the right materials! Although Picturesque Prints is a great choice for printing your photos on canvas, learning how to make your own large canvas frame can help you create colorful abstract art for your home. For high-quality large canvas prints of photos, a professional printing company can create stunning results.


How to Stretch a Large Canvas

Assuming you want to make your own canvas frame for a custom design, you’ll want enough canvas to fill the frame plus at least 2cm extra around the edges for stapling the stretched canvas to the frame. Any canvas art over 60x75cm will require some kind of supports to reinforce the frame.

Before learning how to stretch a large canvas, you’ll need a staple gun and an extra set of hands. Some methods recommend pulling and securing each side with a staple in the middle, then going around to staple the rest. Other methods recommend securing one side at a time, securing the first side and then the side opposite of it to ensure the best stretch.


How to Support a Large Canvas

Now let’s get into how to make a large canvas frame and how to support a large canvas with that frame. There are different options for the materials, giving you some flexibility in how much you spend. Large canvases should be supported with diagonal corner reinforcements or crossbars to keep the frame from warping or bending under the weight of the painted canvas.

You can make a canvas frame from pine wood 1×4 pieces, which you can find in most home improvement stores. Alternatively, you can use canvas stretcher strips and bars. Canvas stretcher bars are designed to notch together to form perfect corners, so the only other tool you’ll need is a hammer to pound them into place. Crossbars to support the frame may need to be custom-cut and will require some drilling to attach. Using lumber, you’ll need to cut the wood to the right size with corners at 45-degree angle.


The Canvas Stretcher Bar Method

Materials needed for canvas bar method:

  • Canvas stretcher bars for the frame
  • Canvas stretcher crossbars for the frame support
  • Hammer
  • Staple gun for securing the canvas
  • Drill and screws
  • A handsaw or circular saw (optional)

Home improvement and hardware stores can often custom cut wood for you. You can hammer the stretcher bars together on your own, but the crossbars may need to be cut down to the right size. You can secure the crossbars with metal flat brackets using screws and a drill, or use scrap wood or laminate as flat brackets.

Frame supports can be arranged like a window frame, crossing in the center of the piece, or in diagonal strips at the corners of the frame. You can also do a combination method with diagonal corner reinforcements and one or two crossbars running down the center of the frame. It all depends on the size and shape of the frame.

Stretcher bars are convenient and don’t require a lot of hardware to put together, but may be more expensive than using lumber and may be available in a limited size range. For a truly custom canvas, lumber is more time-intensive but can create any size and shape of frame you want.


The Lumber Method

Materials needed for custom wood canvas frame method:

  • Pine 1x4s
  • Metal L-brackets for corners
  • Metal flat brackets for supports
  • Staple gun for securing the canvas
  • Drill and screws
  • A handsaw or circular saw (optional)

Cut the lumber to the size of your project, and cut the ends of each piece to a 45-degree angle. Fit the frame together and use the L-brackets and screws to join each corner. Use scrap wood or additional wood to create the supports. Diagonal corner supports will also need to be cut with 45-degree angle edges. The support pieces can be secured with flat brackets.

When cutting the lumber, remember that the outer edges are what will make the full size of the frame. Measure to the outer point of each corner to make sure you have the right size.