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  • Writer's pictureSarah, Fellows Framing

4 Ways to Frame Canvas Art

Canvas is a strong woven cloth traditionally used by artists to paint on and nowadays is also printed on.

Works on canvas need support which is provided by stretcher bars or board. Stretcher bars are 4 sections of wood similar to frame in which the mitred corners are joined and the canvas is stretched over it and stapled in place. Canvas on board is where the canvas has been glued to a thick board, usually of card.

There are 4 main ways to frame canvas art.

Standard Frame

A frame with a lip so it covers the edge of the work. The artwork needs to “true” (square) to fit in this frame i.e., equal height lengths, equal width lengths and four equal 90 degree corners. If the sides on canvas on bars needs to be hidden then deeper frames are needed. The artwork is help in the back with framer’s points. Colour and type of moulding is varied.

Tray/ Floater/ L Frame

With this style of framing the artwork sits inside the frame with a small gap between the art and frame which creates a nice shadow effect. This is more suited to canvas on bars as the art is screwed in place from underneath. It can be done with canvas on boards if the back is built up with baton giving depth to screw into. Colour and depth of moulding is more restricted than standard frames but there is still plenty of choice.


The finished size is larger than the artwork by giving it a mount/border. This is usually painted hardboard. Canvas on bars is screwed in from behind whilst canvas on board is glued on (this may result in art damage should it ever be removed from the board). The frame is a standard frame type, and the border board is painted a complimentary colour.

St Ives

This style s very similar to above but has the addition of a frame directly around the artwork. This covers the edges of the artwork and draws the eye in. The frame is made from plain wood profile and painted along with the board to the colour wanted, traditionally white.

I hope this gives you an idea of canvas frame design. Please do get in touch if you have any more ideas or queries.

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