Floating Frame Tutorial { The Loose Fit }

How to make a floating canvas frame for just $6!

A floating frame around canvas art (whether you painted it yourself or purchased it) can bring a certain chic quality to the art. I love the effect it offers when surrounded by other framed artwork. Stunning!  Unfortunately a floating frame for a canvas costs anywhere from $100 – $300 in stores and online. How would you like to have a stunning floating frame of the same size that only costs between $6-$20? Yeah, I thought so!

In part 1 of this tutorial I taught you how to make a snug fit frame for your canvas, now I’m going to show you how to make it with a loose fit “floating frame” style!

How would you like to have a stunning floating frame that only costs between $6-$20?

Here is what you’ll need for the floating frame {loose fit}:

  • Wood pieces long enough to overlap the 4 sides of your canvas: I like 1/2″ wood strips, but you can use whatever thickness you prefer.
  • Corner Braces: narrow enough to sit toward the back of the frame and not show in front. The thickness determines how much “gap” there is between the frame and canvas for the floating frame effect.
  • Screws sized so that they do not pierce through the thickness of your wood: be sure the screws are about a 1/4″ shorter than the thickness of the wood you chose.
  • Paint or Stain (optional): whatever finish you desire!
  • Fasteners and joiners (optional): If you’re looking for simplicity, the floating frame {snug fit} tutorial is simpler and only requires wood and screws! Click here to read that tutorial.

Floating Frame - materials

How To Make A Floating Style Frame


number 1

Measure & Cut Wood Strips To Size

I prefer 1/2″ thick wood strips, but you can use whatever thickness you desire.

To determine the measurements: Two wood strips should be the exact measurement of the canvas height PLUS the thickness of two brace edges (for me that is a little more than 1/16″ + 1/16″. Two more wood strips should equal the exact horizontal measurement of the canvas, plus the thickness of the wood twice (which for me is an additional 1/2″ + 1/2″), AND two brace edges.

Floating Canvas - Measurements

After you cut your wood strips to size double check your pieces by laying them around the canvas with the braces. Everything should fit so the edges are flush, and the canvas, braces, and wood are snug to each other.

number 2

Mark & Drill Pilot Holes

Now that you have ensured that the wood pieces are the right size and fits perfectly around the canvas, it is time to mark where you’ll attach the braces to the wood. Line up the wood edges so they are flush and place the braces at the base of each corner (flush against your work surface). Mark where to drill for all 4 corners.

Floating Frame - mark where to drill

Use a small bit to drill shallow pilot holes. Be careful not to pierce through the other side.

Floating Frame - drill shallow holes

number 3

Attach Braces In All Corners

I found it helpful to start with the two innermost screws, and work outward as I attached my braces.

Floating Frame - screw on braces


number 4

Insert Canvas Into Frame

The canvas should fit snugly between the braces. As you can see in the picture, when you first set one end inside it often catches on the brace…you need to angle it in so that the canvas covers the brace. The frame and canvas backing should be flush.

It should be a slightly snug fit inside the braces (you’ll have to squeeze the canvas in), and that is just the way you want it! It means the frame will hold on the to canvas without having to attach the two. If it is a more loose than expected, that is ok too…you will use the final optional step to attach the frame to the canvas.

Floating Frame - insert canvas


number 5

Optional Final Step: Attach Fasteners

The wood joiners are optional, use if you want to permanently attach the frame to the canvas, or if the frame isn’t snug enough to hold the canvas in place. Simply flip over the canvas and frame and nail into the back of both the frame and the wooden part of the canvas. I recommend 2 joiners per side, but you may need more if your frame and canvas are extra large.

Floating Frame - optional- attach fasteners

The corrugated fasteners are only necessary if your frame is very large or your wood choice is very thin. Attach them to the back corners as necessary.

And presto, you’ve got a beautiful floating frame!

Floating Frame - space

Feel free to paint or stain if desired, otherwise the natural wood is also beautiful!

Did you miss part 1 of this tutorial? Then read it here and learn how to make this snug fit version of the frame!

Floating Frame 2


Floating Frame 1

Click here to read part 1

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38 Comments on Floating Frame Tutorial { The Loose Fit }

  1. Raj S.
    July 10, 2021 at 8:10 pm (5 months ago)

    How wide are these strips? I understand the thickness is 1/2 inch, but could you tell me how wide they are on sides?
    Thanks for the blog!

  2. Julia Morrison
    August 17, 2020 at 4:18 pm (1 year ago)

    I am having a hard time finding the “joiners” I’m not sure if its called something else? Where can I find that/ what do I search?

  3. Christina
    March 6, 2020 at 6:44 pm (2 years ago)

    If staining the frame, should that be done before putting it together, or do you do it after?

  4. Joseph Grabowski
    January 5, 2020 at 11:23 pm (2 years ago)

    HI, I like this idea but I’m having a hard time finding short enough screws and small enough braces to fit the screw heads for 1/2″ wood strips, any help?

  5. robin knox
    October 19, 2019 at 5:18 pm (2 years ago)

    one suggestion I saw on another site is to make the longer edges on the side so that the rough edges are at top and bottom of frame instead of on sides which are visible.

  6. Juneanne Gergen
    June 13, 2019 at 3:58 pm (2 years ago)

    Hello! I love this tutorial. I am wondering where you get the frame fasteners that you used on the back corners to hold the canvas to the frame. Thanks.

  7. Hannah
    February 25, 2019 at 11:49 pm (3 years ago)

    I have my first art show coming up and have been trying to figure out how to go about framing my paintings. This gives me a very clear explanation to get started. Thank you for the informative tutorial!

  8. Sylvia Rochester
    December 8, 2018 at 9:45 am (3 years ago)

    Thanks for the instructions. What depth of the 1/2″ molding should I use? My stretched canvas is 3/4″ depth.

  9. Karen
    November 28, 2018 at 6:05 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi! Great tutorial!
    I am confused about the differences in the two types of frames. I get the snug fit. The floating frame is where I was thrown because I was looking for differences in how they were made and couldn’t see differences in materials. I see the snug type has the picture even with the frame and the floating frame is set back. The thing is, my understanding of the gap refers to space between e canvas edge and frame edge. To create that gap you would need to and another board to the back all the way around the frame to set the pic back in. Perhaps that is a 3rd option on this frame. Let me find a pic to add below Thanks!

    • Ursula Carmona
      November 30, 2018 at 8:10 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Karen, Thanks! You are correct to understand that the snug means the picture and frame is set right against each other. The loose fit gives anywhere from 1/8th”-1/4″ gap between the frame and the canvas giving that “floating” look. You don’t need another board in the back…the gap is determined by the size/thickness of the corner brace. In step 5 the reason you are not seeing the gap in the picture is because I had forgotten to take a picture of that step with the loose frame option, only the snug fit option…so I had to use what I had for that one step. Lol! But there will be a gap under the fastener from the frame to the canvas. 😉 Hope that helps clear up any confusion.

  10. Kirsten
    November 21, 2018 at 5:37 pm (3 years ago)

    OMG, thank you! This seems like the easiest tutorial I’ve seen on this and I cannot WAIT to try it (I have a crap ton of art needing framing sitting around LOL).

  11. Shelly WERTS
    August 1, 2018 at 11:53 am (3 years ago)

    Hello! I just found your floating frame tutorial. I’m super excited to do this with my canvas pieces! Will this work for canvas board? If not, do you have recommendations for framing canvas board?
    Thank you,
    Shelly Werts

  12. Romaida
    April 8, 2018 at 10:29 pm (4 years ago)

    Love this piece! What’s the name of the type of wood you use?

  13. Vicki
    September 2, 2017 at 7:24 am (4 years ago)

    I absolutely loved he tutorial! Thanks for the inspiration.

  14. Amanda Macintire
    August 30, 2017 at 12:28 pm (4 years ago)

    After spending what seemed like days and days looking for the right frame for an 8×10 canvas that my daughter painted, (and boy, are they 1.hard to find in that size, and 2. stupidly expensive) I came upon your blog and easy to follow tutorial. I can’t thank you enough for this great how-to. My daughter loves the frame and she will be proudly entering her painting in our county fair in just a few weeks. Thanks again!

  15. Tina
    July 12, 2017 at 11:34 pm (4 years ago)

    Great post. Thank you.

  16. Lavonda
    June 29, 2017 at 5:22 am (4 years ago)

    Thanks so much for this tutorial. I have never seen one for this type of frame. I love it for a canvas. It can go from simple to very chic. Great job!!

  17. wendy
    February 8, 2017 at 7:54 am (5 years ago)

    You did a great job. Only thing I noticed was your wood corner braces–
    You only have one in each corner on an angle.
    The ones that come with the canvas require two in each corner.
    One under, one over. Like a criss, cross Just thought I’d tell ya.

  18. Nikki
    October 10, 2016 at 9:00 am (5 years ago)

    I also love the painting! Do you sell your art?

  19. anna
    August 7, 2016 at 11:47 pm (5 years ago)

    Thank you for this wonderful DIY info!

    I was wondering if I can see the metal between canvas and wood from the front view.
    Thank you again.

    • Ursula Carmona
      August 8, 2016 at 8:06 am (5 years ago)

      Great question! Not really. Well, if you look really hard enough you can… However the metal piece sits far at the back, and the small space between the canvas and the wood is so deep and dark you can’t really see it.

      • anna
        August 8, 2016 at 10:05 am (5 years ago)

        Thank you!

  20. Amy
    April 14, 2016 at 7:04 am (6 years ago)

    Where is the link that shows the directions for the floater (loose fit) option? Keep clicking and landing on snug fit. Although that is nicely described – thank you.

    • Ursula Carmona
      April 18, 2016 at 8:10 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks Amy! Yes, the post you are on now is the loose fit version (meaning it has a small gap that makes it look like it is “floating”), and the link you are clicking on takes you to the snug fit version (which means there is no gap between the canvas and the frame). Very subtle difference for those who care. 😉

  21. kat
    December 5, 2015 at 9:55 pm (6 years ago)

    I love the painting too! Did you make that?

  22. Corinna - For My Love Of
    June 3, 2015 at 8:24 pm (7 years ago)

    I’ve got the perfect piece to try this on! I’m not really a fan of regular ol’ canvases, but this look is definitely chic!

  23. Liv
    April 24, 2015 at 10:56 am (7 years ago)

    Just recently I walked past a framing shop, asking about prices. I was quoted $33 for the cheapest looking one, that was a lot thinner than this! I think I’ll have to visit a DIY shop one of these days.. I’m definitively having a go at putting this together! Thanks Ursula!

  24. alifetraveled
    February 17, 2015 at 12:34 pm (7 years ago)

    Love the simplicity of putting these floating frames together. Which type/size wood are you using?

    • Ursula Carmona
      February 18, 2015 at 7:33 am (7 years ago)

      Thank you! I am actually using several different wood types since my hardware store was low in stock, however all are 1/2 inch thickness.

  25. Kimm at Reinvented
    February 5, 2015 at 4:24 pm (7 years ago)

    Beautiful! AND…man, girl, you are a tutorial guru. Such great photos and instructions. Love the frame and know just the canvas to try this for! 🙂

    • Ursula Carmona
      February 5, 2015 at 5:52 pm (7 years ago)

      Aw, thanks Kimm! It’s sweet of you to say! 🙂

    • Ursula Carmona
      February 5, 2015 at 4:13 pm (7 years ago)

      Thanks Gilly! 😉 One of these days I hope to do a modern gold leaf one.


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