My new living room artwork arrived last week, so I took some time out from working on the guest bedroom yesterday to resize and frame the new canvas artwork.
I purchased this amazing piece called Displacement by Scott Naismith. It’s so beautiful and colorful, and it looks like it was painted to go in my living room. But unfortunately, none of the available sizes would work in that inset area over my fireplace.
So I had to resize it before I could frame and hang it above the fireplace.
If you’ve ever done a wrap-and-staple project of any kind — a headboard, a dining chair seat — then you can stretch a canvas. The canvas is just wrapped around a wood frame and stapled either on the edge or on the back.
This one was stapled on the back…
So I just used a small flathead screwdriver and pliers to remove all of the staples.
I removed the canvas completely and set it aside so that I was just left with the wood canvas stretcher frame. And since I was keeping the original height of the canvas and only narrowing the width, I removed one end piece from the canvas stretcher. These pieces actually came apart very easily.
This was a factory-made stretcher, so it has these fancy joints on the corners that fit together like a puzzle piece…
And of course, being a DIYer without the fancy machines, I didn’t have a way to replicate these fancy joints.
So after measuring and marking the top and bottom pieces for the new width, I just used my miter saw to cut regular 45-degree mitered corners on both the long pieces (i.e., the pieces that I was cutting down for the new width), and also on the end piece. Of course, I kept the end piece the same length, but I just cut off those little fancy joint extension pieces. So I was left with pieces that looked like this…
Then I used some wood glue on those ends before putting them together, and I use my framing square to make sure everything was square.
And then I secured it with some staples.
I stapled those corners together on both sides. So after I did this side on both corners, I flipped the canvas stretcher over and stapled the corners on the other side. Then I left it for about 30 minutes to let the glue dry a bit before moving on.
Then I was ready to staple the canvas back on the stretcher. Since I kept the original height of the canvas, I started by stapling on the top and bottom. The canvas had creases in it from having been previously wrapped and stapled, so there was zero guesswork as to where it needed to be wrapped and stapled.
And with the top and bottom wrapped and stapled, that made wrapping and stapling the sides very easy. I just did a little tuck and fold on the corners, and then pulled and stapled the sides.
Now I had a piece of canvas artwork that not only looked like it was painted for my living room, but also looked like it was custom sized for my fireplace.
To frame the piece, I started by using my table saw to cut some pieces of lumber to 1″ x 1/4″, and then I sanded them smooth using 150-grit sandpaper on my 5-inch rotary sander.
Then I measured and marked the pieces so that they would fit around the outside edges of the canvas, and used my miter saw to miter the corners. Then I glued and nailed the pieces together using 5/8-inch 18-gauge nails.
I did a quick fit to make sure it would fit around the canvas, and then gave this frame two coats of black paint, letting the first coat dry completely, and then sanding it smooth with 220-grit sandpaper before painting the second and final coat.
Tip: When you want to purchase black paint (as in, true, deep, solid black paint), don’t go to the paint chips and select a color. Just like whites, there are hundreds of shades of black. For a true, deep black, just go to the desk and tell them that you want solid black.
When it was dry, I slipped it onto the canvas.
The pieces bowed out from the canvas in the middle just a bit, so I used those same small nails to secure that frame to the canvas stretcher by placing a nail right in the middle of each side.
And here’s what it looked like at this point…
And finally, I cut four pieces of 1″ x 2″ pre-primed lumber to attach around the outside of the black pieces. I painted the inside edges (i.e., the sides that would lie flat against the black pieces) using Behr Polar Bear (my go-to white for trim and all the things), and then nailed these pieces on using 16-gauge 1.5-inch nails, and making sure that I nailed them on low enough so that the nails would go through the canvas stretcher.
Then I caulked the corners and nail holes, and painted the top and outside of the frame with two coats, sanding with 220-grit sandpaper between coats.
And here’s the finished piece, resized and framed. I’m generally a huge fan of simple white frames, but I may actually end up changing this frame color. I’ll leave it white for now and see how I feel about it as I put the rest of the finishing touches on the room.
But the main lesson here is that you shouldn’t stop yourself from getting something that you absolutely love just because it’s not perfect for your home. There’s often a way around it, and with a few basic DIY skills, you can have that thing that you love AND make it perfect for your home!