kristen@kristenoneillart.com

8 Steps to Build a Straight Frame – When Your Painting Isn’t

Occasionally you will have a slightly crooked painting. Perhaps it wasn’t constructed right, or in my case the stretcher bars moved slightly while I was stretched the canvas. Normally you could cut your frame pieces simply by measuring each side of the painting. But, you don’t want to continue the crookedness. Here is how I solve this problem when making a wood frame:

  1. Lay the painting down flat – paint side up.

    Painting on floor

    Step 1: Lay painting out on a flat surface

  2. Cut one corner’s worth of wood that you are framing – this should give you two pieces with 45 degree angles cut. In my example I am working with the upper left corner.
  3. Use a corner miter clamp to make sure that your angle is “square.” If you don’t have a clamp, you can fashion one of your own, but you will consistently need to check that it is still square in all the following steps.

    Step 3 & 4: Notice the red corner miter clamp.

  4. Put the corresponding corner of the painting in to that corner of the frame as flush as you can get.
  5. Lay out the other two boards (in this case the right and the bottom).
  6. Make the other three corners square (right angles).
  7. When all 4 corners are square you will find gaps between the painting and the wooden frame. (These gaps wouldn’t normally exist on a square painting.)

    Gap while framing

    Step 7: See the gap between the painting and the frame? This will be hidden by trim on the inside.

  8. Measure how large you have to make each length of the frame to have it compensate for the gaps.

    Framing painting with help

    When you don’t have an extra hand, use a spare castle.

Step 8: Here the boards that fit other canvases of the same size are two short. I have stacked other boards on top to measure out how long the new boards should be.

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