How to Stretch + Frame Canvas Art

How to Stretch + Frame Canvas Art

You know how it goes. You’ve purchased the curtains. You’ve painted the doors. You’ve selected your art. But then your decorating budget is quickly derailed when you find out how expensive all of the forgotten details can be! I’m talking about things like curtain rods, doorknobs, and picture frames. I’m a big fan of having art properly framed, and have paid a pretty penny to have it done professionally a few times in the past. But I’m also not afraid to make room in my decorating budget by doing it myself when I can! So if you’re balking at the price of custom framing your canvas art, check out how simple it is to do it yourself.

Besides framing your art yourself, another way to save money is by purchasing art on unstretched canvas, then stretching it yourself. I found a website which does art reproductions on unstretched canvases, and the rails for stretching only set me back about $8 at my local art supply store. I’ve also purchased pre-stretched canvas art from places like Art.com. I just really love that canvas prints don’t produce the glare that is inevitable with posters framed behind glass. So canvas art is my preferred choice.

DIY Float Frame and Recessed FrameDIY frame building

Above Left: Milton Avery reproduction available here
Above Right: Jimmy Stewart in The Man From Laramie available here

stretching canvasDIY frame building

You can purchase rails for stretching canvas at any art supply store, just keep in mind that they’re sized in even number lengths only. These rails totaled about $8, and are already fitted with slots to easily join the corners yourself. I didn’t even glue my corners, because the fit was nice and tight. But you might want to glue yours.

After putting together the rails, I used clamps to hold the canvas in place after I stretched it as tight as I could. I used paper towels to protect the surface of the canvas from the clamps. Then I used a simple staple gun to attach the canvas to the rails, doing a neat fold at the corners.

How to stretch a canvas

DIY frame buildingDIY frame building

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post for A Beautiful Mess about different kinds of frames you can construct by gluing together various pieces of wood and square dowels I had found at Lowes. This time around I made one frame in the float mount technique and one frame with a simpler version of the above recessed mount. See how I glued together the recessed mount frame below. The square dowel is what provides the lip that covers the edges of the face of the canvas.

DIY frame building

After you’ve decided what profile you want for your frame, just glue the wood together with wood glue, and clamp it tight. Wipe away any seeping wood glue promptly with a wet rag. After the glue has set up, you can cut the lengths with a miter saw or box saw to the lengths that will fit your art.

Below you can see my dry fit of the float mount frame I created for my Milton Avery painting. Always make your cuts longer than you think they need to be, and trim them down as needed.

DIY frame building

After a dry fit shows that the frame is the right side, stain or paint it how you like.

DIY recessed frame

Here are some images from my post for A Beautiful Mess which show how I used a belt clamp to hold the frame tightly together. You can use wood glue, or even better, use Gorilla glue after dampening your the cut ends of your wood. The water and the pressure of the clamp will activate the gorilla glue and make for a super tight hold. Just be sure to scrape away any of the foaming glue that seeps out from the joints.

After the glue has set, and before removing the belt clamp, I recommend adding nails to secure the corners of the frame. Then, slide your stretched canvas art into place, and hammer nails on the back inside of the frame to secure the canvas to the frame. Just be sure to use wire brads that aren’t so long that they’ll poke through the frame or the canvas!

DIY frame building

DIY Float Frame

There she is! This art is going to go above a floating drawer in the entryway of our new home. Can’t wait to make a sweet little vignette in front of it! I think it’s a charmer.

DIY Tiered Tassel Earrings

DIY Tiered Tassel Earrings

Just as my wardrobe has become more minimal, my earrings have become… well, maximal! I have clear memories of feeling quite glamorous as a kiddo with pierced ears wearing my mother’s oversized earrings leftover from the ’80s. But then there was a span of about twenty years when, as my fashion sense developed, earrings felt a little too gaudy. Well, that is with the exception of my minimal silver hoop earring phase at the turn of the century. (They went well with my flared jeans and Abercrombie tees!)

Lately I’ve found myself surprised by my interest in the oversized earrings I’ve seen dangling on the ears of fashionable ladies all over the web. I decided I was ready for the earring revival, and I was going to jump in with both feet– and with a DIY take on the statement earring trend.

DIY Tiered Tassel Earrings

DIY Tiered Tassel Earrings

statement earring DIY

DIY Tiered Tassel Earrings

statement earring DIY

Step One: Remove the paper from one embroidery floss bundle and fold it in half. Use an approximately 12″ strand from the extra embroidery floss bundle to tie it tightly in the middle and the knot it.

Step Two: Cut through the loops at either end of the bundled floss.

DIY Tiered Tassel Earrings

Step Three: Pull the either end of the tied bundled downward and secure tightly as shown above with a strand from the extra embroidery floss bundle. I tied it once on one side, flipped it over and tied it again, then flipped it over and tied in a knot. 

DIY Tiered Tassel Earrings

Step Four: Use a darning needle to thread the two ends of the floss you just tied into the tassel and out the bottom.

Step Five: Give your tassel a haircut to make it even on the bottom and the size that you desire. You will need very sharp fabric scissors to do this well.

DIY Tiered Tassel Earrings

Repeat steps 1-5 until you have created 6 tassels as shown above.

DIY Tiered Tassel Earrings

Step Six: Arrange your tassels in two rows of three, making sure each row’s tassels are evenly sized compared to the row of tassels beside it. Use a darning needle to hide the top knot strands of the top two tassels in each row, trimming them to be the same length as the tassel. Leave only one strand untucked on the bottom tassel of each row, but tuck the other one in.

Step Seven: Use the remaining strand from the bottom tassel to connect the entire row of tassels. To do this, thread the strand through a darning needle and use the needle to guide the thread through the bottom of each tassel and up through the middle of the tassel’s top.

DIY Tiered Tassel Earrings

Step Eight: Knot the thread tightly around the eye of the ear wires, making sure to get the ear wire tight up against the top of the tassel. Then use the darning needle to hide the remaining strand of embroidery floss down into the tassels. Trim it to blend in nicely.

DIY Tiered Tassel Earrings

I was so excited about these earrings that I made two pairs right away– one in black yarn, then these in ecru embroidery floss. I wore them to church over the weekend (paired with a simple black shift dress and nude clogs) and had a lot of fun conversations about them, as you can imagine! I guess that’s why they’re called statement earrings– they practically require a reaction!

What do you think? Are you ready for the return of statement earrings, or are you happy to leave the trend in the annals of the ’80s?

Lucy’s Madeline Costume

Madeline Halloween Costume

Lucy’s costume this year has been a dream come true for me! I had thought about dressing up as Madeline myself a few years ago, but never had the gumption to put together an outfit in time for Halloween. But this year, I was so delighted when I asked Lucy, “What about being Madeline for Halloween this year?” and she replied with an excited, “That would be so fun!” I had caught her at the perfect time, in the middle of an old Madeline TV episode we were watching through our Amazon fire stick. She has been intrigued by Madeline and the girls at the old house in Paris, particularly when Madeline has to go to the hospital to get her appendix removed. What can I say, my girl loves hospital drama. I’m sure she’ll love Grey’s Anatomy one day as much as she loves Madeline now.

Madeline book

Lucy decided she wanted to wear a wig to have red hair like Madeline, and I found a dress pattern online with a Peter Pan collar just like Madeline’s. Trick-or-treating is this weekend, and I have until then to make an insulated capelet to keep her warm on a chilly fall evening as we walk from door to door. But I couldn’t wait to share her outfit with you, sans capelet. Check out where I found everything below!

Madeline Costume Buy Online

O U T F I T   D E T A I L S :

  • H A T :  The one Lucy’s wearing is a vintage find from several years ago that I fixed up with a new black grosgrain ribbon, but I also found a very similar yellow hat here.
  • D R E S S :  I made the dress using this Simplicity Toddler Peter Pan collar dress and coat pattern, slightly reworking to it put the collar on the dress.
  • K N E E   S O C K S :  Lucy wore tights because it was chilly, but we love these white toddler knee socks, and they’re more authentic to Madeline’s outfits in the book.
  • S H O E S :  Any simple black mary janes would fit the bill. We found Lucy’s at a local secondhand store, but here is a great pair of toddler black patent mary janes for less than $20.
  • W I G : I found this orange bob with bangs wig designed for an anime cosplay character, and while it was the perfect color and starting point for a Madeline ‘do, I had to trim the length and bangs and style it with a warm curling iron. Phil stepped up to model the wig while I trimmed it! What a man!

Madeline Dress Pattern

I was so intimidated to make the dress, though I don’t know why, because once I figured out the pattern, it was so quick and easy to put together! I decided I’m going to make a couple more variations on this pattern since the pattern pieces are already cut out, and it was such a simple project resulting in a super cute and versatile dress.

I have a bad habit of being intimidated of sewing projects, putting them off for as long as possible, sometimes abandoning projects altogether. It’s a silly habit I’m trying to break. This was a great simple project that gave me much more confidence as a seamstress. And look at that sweet face! SO WORTH IT.

Madeline Toddler Costume

Madeline Halloween Costume

Madeline hat and wig

Madeline Halloween Costume

Madeline hat and wig
Madeline Toddler Costume

A fun little side note… I took pictures of Lucy as Madeline at the venue where Phil and I had our wedding reception nine years ago! This is a spot we posed for wedding photos. Talk about coming full circle!

In case you were wondering, Juniper is dressing as a puppy (in a store-bought costume) for trick-or-treating, because Lucy’s favorite Madeline TV episode was when Madeline lost her dog. We’re pretty confident we won’t be losing Juniper, though, so don’t worry. The two of them looked so cute together at a friend’s costume party last weekend! We forgot to bring Juniper’s costume when we took Lucy’s pictures, so if you want to see them together, you’ll have to stay tuned for trick-or-treat shots on Instagram next weekend. :)

Older