How to Build a DIY Floating Frame

When my daughter got married last year, for one of her gifts, we bought her and her husband a personalized push pin world map on a canavas. We thought it would be fun for them to track their travels over the years as a married couple.

Ever since I bought theirs, I’ve been wanting one also. 😛 I just wasn’t sure where I’d hang it. My recent office makeover ended up providing the perfect spot, so I finally ordered one for myself!

You can find this beautiful map HERE.

from Holy Cow Canvas

My Canvas

I chose the 40 x 24 x 1.5 inch size, and it’s perfect. You can customize almost everything from the quotes, to your names, to the compass, to the colors and style. I love, love, love it. The various gray and taupe tones in this one work perfectly with the colors in my office.

The map comes as a stretched canvas, with no frame. It’s lovely without the frame, so it’s ready to hang when it arrives. But, we decided that adding a floating frame would dress it up a tiny bit more, especially if we made a frame to coordinate with our farmhouse style.

The Wood

We bought two 8 foot pieces of oak that were a half inch thick and 2 inches wide. This gave us plenty of length for all four sides of the 24 x 40 inch canvas.

The wood says it’s 2 inches wide, but it’s really more like 1 1/2 inches, so that worked perfectly for our 1 1/2 inch deep canvas. Definitely measure your canvas carefully before you shop for wood, and bring your tape measure with you as well, so you can make sure you’re buying wood that will work with your canvas measurements.

This happened to be red oak, because that’s what they had available in the size we needed, but it didn’t matter, because I knew I would be covering it with a gray stain. It really doesn’t matter what kind of wood you use, but you should choose something that will work with how you plan to finish your wood.

Measuring & Cutting

Measure your canvas very carefully, because you want the frame to sit just slightly apart from the canvas, without being too loose. This is a floating frame that will fit around the outside edge of the wrapped canvas without covering up any of the front.

The nice thing about this frame, is that you don’t need to make any mitered corners. Hooray for that. I mean, we have a miter saw, but I’m not sure mitered corners are in my skill set yet. I don’t know, maybe it’s easier than I think? But for now, I was happy to make this frame without them. 😂

For this frame, you overlap the wood at 90 degree angles in the corners, so you will want to allow for two sides to be slightly longer than the actual canvas size, to account for the overlap. Make sure you figure out your measurements carefully before doing any cutting.

This is how the corners should look.

Building the Frame

After you have the wood cut to the right lengths, you’re ready to build the frame.

We applied Gorilla glue to each end, and then used two small finish nails at each corner.

After assembly, we allowed the frame to dry overnight, to give the glue time to set fully.

After it was dry, we tested it around our canvas to make sure it fit properly. It should just barely sit around the outside edge of the canvas.

The Finish

Sand any rough edges from cutting, or where glue seeped out.

Choose a finish to match your style. You could use stain, paint, or even just a clear coat if you like the look of the natural wood.

I had these two cans of stain leftover from other projects, so I tested them both out before deciding to go with the Classic Gray.

I painted on a layer of the gray stain, but didn’t like how much coverage it gave. I ended up using the “wipe off” method.

I painted on a layer of stain, and then immediately used a wrag to wipe it off. This allowed for a little bit of the gray stain to penetrate and color the wood, but still allowed for the wood grain to show through.

Paint on a layer of stain.
Immediately wipe it off with a wrag.
Stain color will remain, but wood grain will be visible.

I kept doing this in small patches, working my way around the frame, painting on a little at a time, so the stain didn’t have time to dry before I wiped it off.

This is how it looked when it was all dry– a nice transparent gray tone with wood grains still showing through.

Attaching the Frame to the Canvas

After the frame was completely dry, we slid it carefully around the outside of the canvas again, and then used four L-shaped corner brackets from the hardware store to attach the frame to the canvas.

The back of the canvas with the frame fitted around it.

We screwed one side of the bracket into frame, after drilling pilot holes first, so as not to split the wood. Then we screwed the other side of the bracket into the framing that the canvas is stretch on, again drilling pilot holes first.

Placing one bracket in each of the four corners was enough to securely hold the floating frame in place.

Our canvas came with a sawtooth hanging bracket already attached, so it was easy to get it up on our wall in matter of minutes!

Because the frame only goes around the outside edge of the map, it gives the canvas a nice polished look, without covering any of the map details on the front.

Our map came with bronze and ivory pins, so we use one color to mark past travels, and one color for travels that we have planned in the near future.

I love how it looks above my recently painted bookcase. We store the pins in a piece of my vintage hobnail milkglass collection.

The lighting makes the colors in the map look a bit pinkish in photos, but in reality it contains a variety of grays and taupes. It’s so pretty and muted.

We are really enjoying our travel map. It makes a great piece of artwork for my office, but also gives us a place to track, reminisce and dream about our travels, past and future. Plus, we had fun building this floating frame together. 💕

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10 thoughts on “How to Build a DIY Floating Frame

  1. This looks amazing! Great job with the frame , and I love the map. Pinning! Thanks for sharing. I’m visiting from the Friendship Friday link up today. Have a great weekend Niky!

  2. What a great way to remember your travels and the frame turned out beautifully! I need a map too. It would be fun to pin places we’ve been like y’all do. Love this idea and you made making the frame look easy. Pinned!

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