How to Frame (and Hang!) a Canvas Painting

Tips & Tricks
Photo by Farah from Burst

So you’ve just purchased an original painting on canvas from a super-cool artist on Partial – congrats! You can certainly hang the work up as it is easily, with its canvas edges showing. It is a simple, minimalist, and natural approach to getting your art on your walls ASAP. However, framing a canvas painting can add a finishing, high-end touch, elevate the painting as a whole when done right, and provide added protection to your new art piece.

The best option is always to go to your favourite local framer – they have done this a thousand times, and will have a variety of frame finishes, mat colours, and their expertise to help you choose the right frame for the artwork and for your walls. However, framing is a craft unto itself, and can be expensive due to the materials and labour required. If you’re not ready to get it professionally framed, have basic DIY skills, and are keen to get your painting framed and hung, you can frame the work yourself.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to frame and hang a canvas painting:

1. Choose a frame

Select a frame that complements the style and size of your canvas painting. Consider the color, material, and design of the frame. Visit an art supply store or frame shop to explore different options.

2. Measure the canvas

Photo by Ryno Marais on Unsplash

Measure the dimensions of your canvas painting, including the height, width, and depth. Note down these measurements as they will be crucial for selecting the right frame size.

3. Select a frame size

When choosing a frame, consider adding a mat board or spacer between the canvas and the frame to create a visual buffer. Determine the frame size by adding the desired mat board width or spacer depth to the dimensions of the canvas. We recommend going wider with your mat if possible – this adds a higher-end finish, and elevates the original art and ensures the focus is on the work.

4. Purchase the frame and additional materials

Purchase the frame, mat board (if desired), spacers (if needed), and other necessary materials such as glazier points, framing wire, and hanging hardware. If you cannot find a frame that fits your canvas, you may need to build your own custom frame.

5. Assemble the frame

Oysters, Kelsea Chatburn, Gouache on paper, 17″ x 17″

Lay the frame face down on a clean surface. If using a mat board, position it on top of the frame’s opening. Carefully place the canvas on the mat board or directly inside the frame if no mat board is used. Ensure the canvas is centered and straight.

6. Attach the canvas to the frame

Secure the canvas to the frame by using glazier points. These are small metal tabs that you can insert into the back of the frame at regular intervals, pressing them down with a flat tool or pliers to hold the canvas in place.

7. Add spacers (if needed)

If you are using spacers to create a space between the canvas and the frame, carefully attach them around the inside edge of the frame. This will provide room for the canvas to breathe and prevent it from touching the glazing.

8. Attach the hanging hardware

Attach D-ring hangers or eye screws to the back of the frame, ensuring they are evenly spaced and positioned securely. Use appropriate screws or nails to attach the hardware.

9. Install the wire

Cut a piece of framing wire that is slightly longer than the width of the frame. Attach each end of the wire securely to the D-ring hangers or eye screws, ensuring the wire is taut.

10. Hang the framed canvas

Separations, Elizabeth Forrest, Stencil and gouache on washi paper, 29″ x 42″

Measure and mark the desired location on the wall for hanging. Use a level to ensure the marks are straight. Install appropriate picture hooks or wall anchors according to the weight of the framed canvas. Hang the framed canvas on the wall by placing the wire on the hooks or anchors.

11. Adjust and level

Step back and assess the placement of the framed canvas. If needed, adjust the height or levelness by repositioning the wire on the hooks or adjusting the hardware.

12. Step back and admire

Once the framed canvas is securely and evenly hung, step back and appreciate your beautifully framed painting.

By following these steps, you can successfully frame and hang your canvas painting, enhancing its aesthetic appeal and protecting it for years to come.