Shadowbox Frame DIY

I think a great thing to learn this Tuesday, is how to build a custom canvas frame. I took a crash course a few weekends ago…when I got desperate to frame an old oil painting for a show.

I have built frames once in the past, but had much more success in a recent attempt at a Shadowbox style frame.

The frame is fairly straight forward framing all four sides with a 1/4″ over hang that adds depth to the 3/4″ deep canvas painting.

You will need:

Several feet (based on the size of your painting) of 2″ x 1″ wood, I  chose Douglas fir without knots for this piece. I always buy extra to allow room for mistakes.

It was inexpensive, had a clean looking grain, so I chose it knowing that I had plans to stain the wood.

Water based stain (easy clean up! enough said:)

Wood glue

Canvas painting

Measuring tape and pencil

Miter box and corresponding saw, I found a kit for $14

Total supply cost:$32.92 (I reused stain and wood glue from previous projects)

Here I started with my Birds original oil painting. This one had been taken off the stretcher bars and re-stretched, so I new I wanted to take that extra step and frame it.

Next up, was to measure and make the mitered cuts. All cuts hould be at a 45 degree angle and since my painting is 24″ x 48″ I measured the shortest lengths 24″ then made the cuts using a handsaw. In my experience, I’ve found handsaws to be as accurate as electric ones, just a little extra work. You can see that I clamped down the wood strip to the miter box to be certain that it wouldn’t move while I was working.

I thought the idea of drilling the holes versus using nails was brilliant!…and while I’d love to claim it as my own, I stole it from this fantastic demo by Storyteller Media on YouTube, where these British guys hang out in a wood shop and make well executed frames.

The dowel slides right through the holes gently with some wood glue and dries using elastic bands which pull the corners together tautly.

Once the frame has dried all tape and elastics can be removed. Then, saw the ends of the dowel which snap off easily, then sand until smooth.  As a finishing touch the wood frame should be stained and waxed. I preferred an American Walnut stain and wax with Beeswax.

It was resting in the corner of the bedroom because it was on it’s way to the Brentwood Art show!

If it returns from the show. I have just the place for it.

Part of the reason, I’ve been so busy is the research on ancient Greek Architecture that I have been doing. Well, hold on to your hats! because later this week, we will go Greek with inspiration for an authentic Greek Interior and I think you will love it!

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