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 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.

New Kitchen Plans

Mandi Makes Kitchen Renovation

You guys! In less than a month, we get keys to our new house and can begin demo on the kitchen I showed you last week. Can you tell I’m excited?! Doesn’t everyone draw up kitchen plans on autoCAD and draw renderings of renovations before closing on their new house…?

As I mentioned last week, this unassuming ’80s house totally caught me by surprise, but when I walked in the kitchen, I was fully inspired by the bones of the space and immediately envisioned what I wanted to change. Drawing it all out is my way of being sure of decisions and feeling confident to pull the trigger on all of the purchases and demo that we’ll want to do the moment we get the keys. It’s pretty overwhelming, renovating a house, eh? I’m delighted to finally have the opportunity, though, and still can’t believe this is actually happening!

Mandi Makes a New Home

Above you can see how the house is currently, and I’m sure you can tell it’s definitely not our style. Not only that, but it doesn’t fit many of our needs. I can’t wait to get my hands on the space and work some magic in here, but for now, I wanted to share all of my plans with you! I’ll be doing this for each room we renovate, drawing plans, sharing my furniture and fixture selections, and talking through the process with you all. I hope you find it as much fun as I do. :)

Kitchen Perspective Rendering

Throughout our home, my goal is to create a bright and friendly feeling space with fun, casual furnishings alongside more traditional, chic fixtures. I’m really looking to strike a balance with a variety of styles I enjoy, including ’70s modern, traditional arts and crafts, Scandinavian, American mid century, and just a touch of boho.

kitchen accessorieskitchen accessories

Our house was built in the late ’80s and has traditional elements such as raised panel doors and cabinetry, standard builder-grade trim, turned spindles and banisters on the stairway, and glass paneled doors. I’d like to keep those elements and blend the traditional vibes into the other styles I enjoy, a prospect with both terrifies and delights me. I’m a little worried mixing so many styles will prove to be a delicate balancing act, and any wrong move will make it all feel disjointed and poorly planned. But I’m probably overthinking it, and as long as we only include elements we truly love, I think with the restrained color palette I’m using, it’ll all be good!

1. 4 light globe chandelier
2. Globe pendant
3. Wood drawer pull
4. Wood cabinet knob
5. Lippa chair
6. Flip clock
7. Vintage art from Simply Chi
8. Bar stool

Kitchen Before - Plan View

Formal dining rooms aren’t really our thing, so when we looked for houses, we were wanting a kitchen area that was big enough to fit my heirloom dining room table. This house had a formal dining room, but as it is tucked away in the corner of the house beside the kitchen, we thought it would make the perfect play room. Only problem is, the kitchen was too cramped to fit our big dining room table. Not to worry! I spent a little time putting all of the existing cabinets into autoCAD and rearranged them to better suit our furniture, moving the stove* to another wall in the process. I’m so excited to be able to utilize our existing cabinetry, which means less waste and more money to spend on other areas.

*We already have to run a gas line to our new gas stove, so moving the stove won’t be too difficult, providing the floor boards of the floor above the kitchen run horizontally to the exterior of the home, so we can easily tuck the stove vent in between the floor boards. We’ll see about that when we move in!

Kitchen After - Plan View

In addition to making room for our table, moving the stove means the hood vent will no longer be competing with the kitchen window, which had previously made the space feel imbalanced. I’m a lover of symmetry, so the new window wall elevation is giving me all the feels! I’m also excited about removing the large cabinetry on the refrigerator wall, making way for a slimmer open shelving system, installed from floor to ceiling for storing glassware, serving dishes, and dry pantry goods stored in pretty glass jars.

I’ll still want a closed pantry area (which I’ve never actually had in a kitchen before), so I’ll be removed the cabinet around the corner in the kitchen which currently has a wet bar inside. We’ll be drywalling it in to make a real closet fitted with floor to ceiling shelves for uglier pantry items, like cereal boxes, canned goods, and all that jazz.

I have a few DIY projects up my sleeves for this space, and am excited to be sharing them with you this June and July over at A Beautiful Mess! Among them includes easy ways to make and instal floating shelves, how to instal a pantry wall like the one I’ve planned, and lots more! (I don’t want to ruin any surprises. Ha!)

Kitchen Elevation

It looks like a lot of white, but I think the heaviness of the floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves on the wall opposite of the window will really warm up the space. I love a balance of cozy, earthy wood tones with the bright, clean feeling of glossy white and shiny chrome. Of course, all the white will also provide a great background for an open shelf full of white, wood, and glass dishes I’ll be storing for every day use on the window wall.

I can’t wait to start demo as soon as we close on the place the first week of June! Stay tuned. :)

Four Tricks for Preschool Lunches

Easy Toddler Lunch Ideas

Before I had children, I figured getting them to eat healthy food was as easy as never giving them anything unhealthy. But as real life has happened, I’ve learned it’s not quite so easy. Not only can it be tricky to motivate your kiddos to eat, but finding time to prepare food and to look over their shoulders while they pick at their food for two hours, prodding, nagging, and pleading them to eat? Forget about it! This is not as easy as I thought.

I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way that make lunchtime with my kiddos much easier than it used to be, and I’ve teamed up with Horizon Organics to share my ideas with you! I hope you can find some inspiration and make lunchtime an enriching experience with your kiddos.

 This might seem like a no-brainer, but I used to think creating visually stimulating food meant I needed to spend a lot of time cutting out shapes or creating little characters by combining lots of random food elements. But in reality, pretty food is as easy as making a pattern with carrots and cheese sticks, cutting fruits and veggies into simple shapes (even rectangles will do), or sure— you can do something as artistic as cutting up and combining food creatively to create animals or characters. That will certainly grab the interest of a toddler who might rather be playing with her toys.

I don’t want to lead Lucy and Juniper to expect fun and exciting shapes in their lunches every day, but when I have a couple of extra minutes, the little effort it takes to make a creative lunch usually equals a more relaxing lunchtime for me— no nagging, prodding, or bargaining needed to get them to eat their food! And my favorite new item from Horizon Organics is their shaped cheddar cheese slices (see the white cheddar on the toast above). They already come in fun shapes, so I don’t have to take the time or create any waste with leftover cheese after cutting it into shapes. Victory!

Easy Preschool Lunch Ideas

This was a recent discovery of mine. If you give something a fun name, kids are pretty likely to want to give it a try. Peanut butter covered celery sticks topped with raisins? Boring. Ants on a log? Exciting! Ham and cheese toast? Meh. Sunrise sammies? Fun! See what I mean?

Easy Toddler Lunch Ideas

What is it about little things that capture our imaginations? My kids and I love dollhouses and miniatures, so it would only stand to reason that they’d enjoy tiny versions of food as well. Mini sandwiches made with small cookie cutters, mini crackers, small packs of fruit snacks, milk from a mini carton rather than poured from a big jug— these seemingly insignificant details are sometimes enough to excite my children about their lunches. And sometimes all it takes is putting normal-sized food (like grapes or grated cheese) into a tiny cup on a big plate and the kids think it’s pretty special.

The tiny trick is great when you’re short on time. I don’t usually give the children crackers for lunch, but if we’re on the go or if I’m having a hectic day, I certainly don’t feel bad about dumping some cheese sandwich crackers and munchable veggies onto a plate and calling it done.

Easy Preschool Lunch Ideas

I discovered this trick when we were at a grocery store where they were sampling lots of food that my children wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole at home. But at the store? In those tiny cups? With those tiny weapons (toothpicks) piercing the food? Oh yeah. They were all about it. Juniper had three different kinds of salmon that day, and even asked for more. It’s the toothpicks and the tiny cups, I tell ya!

The catch with this one is the skewers. Lucy couldn’t handle this all the time. She began to just play with the toothpicks and become too distracted to actually eat the food, and I found it stressful to make sure she wasn’t poking her eye out. Also, if you’re relying on the toothpick to hold the food together (like ham and cheese roll-ups sliced into sections), your kiddo might pull out all the toothpicks and refuse to eat the pile of unrolled food that’s left on the plate. (Been there. So frustrating.) But when you know your kid can probably handle it, this toothpick trick is a real winner!

Easy Toddler Lunch Ideas

I used to try to let Lucy sit in front of the television while eating a simple and not-too-messy lunch so I could grab some time to get work done. But when we were both distracted, she would sometimes drop food on the floor, or just not eat at all, and it really drew out what should’ve taken 30 minutes into a process that easily took over an hour to finish. This is exactly what I’m trying to avoid— two hour mealtimes! Yikes.

I also began to consider the patterns that eating in front of the TV was setting in her life— distracted eating, not paying attention to hunger cues, needing snacks while watching television or relaxing…. I just didn’t feel good about it. So we quit that mess and lunchtime is much more peaceful, and actually a great time for us to connect and talk about things that are fun or important.

Easy Preschool Lunch Ideas

Lunchtime doesn’t need to be fun or exciting, but I’ve found that thinking about ways to enrich this time with my kiddos has not only helped them eat their food, but it’s brought us closer together and made me grow as a mom!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.

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