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                                       HOW TO MAKE FLOAT FRAMES

     We want to present our paintings well and often that means putting them in a frame.  But, frames can be very expensive.  So what do we do?  Learn to make a frame! Now, I'm not talking about fancy ornate frames here.  I'm speaking of making the float frames that are so popular these days.  And, thankfully they are not difficult to make if you have the right tools.  This frame is for a 3/4" deep gallery wrap canvas, not the 2" deep gallery wrap.  The directions for the 2" deep canvas are at the bottom.

     My husband and I purchase 1" x 2" x 8' SELECT PINE boards at Home Depot.  These run $5.82 per piece.  For a 36 x 48 painting, it requires 8. I save the leftover wood for smaller paintings.  So let me run you through the process.  To do this you will need:

enough wood for your frame (according to your measurements: it takes 2 pieces of wood per side)
Power saw or compound mitre saw with a fine blade!
Rafter square
corner clamps (4)
brad nailer (we use a nailer that is air-powered)
wood putty
wood glue
sand paper, 220 grit
     It may take 2-3 tries to get this process down, but you will be making great frames before you know it and they will cost MUCH less than purchased ones.  We have gotten so many compliments on ours.  Paint and putty cover many mistakes as long as you sand until the wood is smooth.  And, remember, it's important to sand lightly between coats of paint.  The finished product looks and feels much more professional when you do.

                                          Below are photos to illustrate how to do this

                                                                     PHOTO #1

  This is 1" x 2" SELECT PINE  wood.  It is MUCH smoother and cleaner wood, thus saving you a lot of time and effort! Start by nailing two 8' long pieces of wood together in an "L" shape, nailing the narrow side of one piece against the edge of the wide side of the other piece. You will need 2 pieces of wood for each side of the frame. Nail together as many pieces as needed to make your size frame.   You will be measuring and marking the top NARROW side of the left piece of wood in this picture.  The right piece laying flat is where the canvas will rest.  If you turn the wood over to mark and cut, your measurements will be off!  I made that mistake ONCE.  It is very frustrating!

                                                                      PHOTO #2
This is a rafter square used for marking 45 degree angles.  It is simple and easy to use and makes the job go much faster and easier.  Just remember to mark your lines TOWARD each other! Example: like this \ /, not this  //.  Yes, I made that mistake.  I have a very patient husband, to say the least!

     After nailing the two long pieces of wood together, mark the end of the TOP as previously shown in a 45 degree angle pointing inward as shown in photo #2.  Measure your canvas and add 2" (for small) (2 1/2" for large) to that measurement. (Example: 12" for a 10" canvas) Next mark that measurement on the wood.  Move to the next side, measuring and marking. I cut all sides at same time. Be sure to double check your measurements as you cut, so each side matches the opposite in length, otherwise, the frame will not be square!

                                                                        PHOTO # 3
  The cut will look like this.  The light area is the side of the upright left piece. (Another view below)

                                                                      PHOTO # 4
                                         Another view of the cut.

                                                                         PHOTO #5
Once you have the 1st corner cut, then measure the next cut.  This is 12" long, which makes the perfect size for a 10" canvas.

                                                                       PHOTO # 6
Once all cuts are made, glue and clamp each corner..making sure each corner fits together smoothly! Only after all corners are clamped securely do you nail the frame.  Then let it set undisturbed for 30 minutes, minimum before removing the clamps.  See clamped corner below.

                                                            PHOTO #7

As you can see in this photo, the corner is exposed so that you can nail it while still clamped.  This keeps the frame tight while you nail it together and and the glue is drying. After allowing the glue to dry for 30 minutes,  you can carefully remove the clamps.  Apply wood putty to any gaps and all nail holes, let dry and then sand til smooth.  Apply 2 coats of paint, sanding between each coat. It's your choice as to whether you paint the back of the frame.  I'd recommend you do if it has a lot of putty.

                                                            PHOTO #8

Place canvas in finished frame making sure it is centered. Carefully turn over holding canvas to frame, then screw together. (see photo #9) If it isn't straight, simply recenter and try again.  Lastly, add the hanging wire and you're done!

                                                                       PHOTO # 9
                     Mount the frame with screws, and add the hanging hardware.

     Another style of frame requires only one piece of wood per side.  If you have a 2" deep canvas, you can just cut the wood to butt up against the canvas making only the necessary 45 degree cut for each corner. Add about 1/4" extra per side so you can get the frame over the canvas  (they are never exactly square).  (see last photos 9 & 10)  I only do this on smaller canvases.  However, one gallery told me that their customers want even deep canvases to be framed up to 12 x 24, so you decide what you want to do.

                                                                        PHOTO # 10

                                                                      PHOTO # 11
                     On the back the canvas is secured with braces called offset clips.


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