How to frame a handmade oil painting done on canvas

Many people wonder about the process of framing a handmade oil painting on canvas, so I decided to give a couple of pointers to help explain the process and may be you can use this information to frame an oil painting on your own.

  1. The painting that is done on canvas needs to be stretched over stretcher bars. The canvas is mounted on the bars by stapling the edges of the art to the back side of the stretcher bars. First, staple one side and then, while giving it good tug, staple the other side. This process might sound difficult but all you need is a staple gun and a clamp to get really nice results. The tricky parts are the edges where you have to create a fold. This will become easier for you with experience. If the canvas stretching is done right, you should get a firm canvas that has no waves or flab.
  2. If you have a ready-made frame which is the right size for your stretched painting, all is left now is to slip the painting from the back. Then use clips to secure the stretched painting into the frame. There are the L-frames which allow for the painting to be mounted in front of the frame and then screw the painting into the frame.
  3. Add all the necessary hanging hardware which includes two wide screws and a nice wire that is wrapped around them.

Judging a good framing job is first and foremost to see how the canvas is stretched. You can immediately notice a stretched painting that has not been stretched properly. Flabby canvas, not strong enough wooden stretcher bars, corners folded crooked, these are all signs of bad framing.

A lot of people ask me about gallery wrap. That’s a good question, because gallery wrap is very popular these days. A gallery wrap is basically stretching the oil painting over very thick stretcher bars, without adding a frame. This makes the painting jump out at you. With a gallery wrap, you do loose about two inches off the actual painting, so if you have an oil painting that is 30×40 inches, after it has been gallery wrapped, you are left with a 28×38 inch oil painting. Another possibility is for the framing company to paint the edges of the canvas that was not painted on in the sides, that way you will loose less of the painting and the sides will look very appealing. Both will create a very unique peace of wall décor. has an online frame shop where you can buy a handmade oil painting and try it out with many different frames. What’s nice about there tool is that you can place the framed painting on your own wall color and that way get a better idea of what would look best in your home. They also have the gallery wrap option. It is a very convenient way to see the painting framed and on your wall without having to buy it first!

Hope this helps anyone thinking of framing an oil painting, if you frame by yourself share your experiences.

About the Author

Amitai Sasson of is an art world traveler on a mission to seek out the beauty and passion of the art world. As an avid enthusiast of art and oil paintings, he contributes to as Chief editor and writer.