How to fit a stretched Canvas in a Picture Frame

You've bought a painting on canvas and built a wood picture frame for it… and you do not know how to fit the canvas and secure art on stretched canvas in that wood picture frames...

It is very simple, but there are several ways to proceed according the type of picture frame you've chosen or built…

The Floater frame.


Of a very sober aspect, the Floater frame gives to your framings a professional look. It doesn't cover the edge of the painting but instead appears to 'float' around the edge. Really, the painting is anchored to the back of the frame.

different mouldings

It is the type of framing chosen by the majority of the galleries and workshops of painting in Europe.

There is no rabbet… The canvas “is put” on the bottom of the frame and is fixed at it by screws (or sometimes double sided adhesive tape). These screws go through the frame and come to be fixed in the stretcher bars of the canvas.

case face 

You can also use “spring canvas clips”. In this case,the "spring clips" are screwed on the stretcher bars of the canvas and come to be fixed behind the frame.


spring clips to fix canvas in a frame

It is quite easy to place the canvas on the floater frame and to turn over the unit. The spring clip is screwed very easily on the stretcher bars of the canvas, in the middle of each side.

Small “trick”: for a good fixing, think of curving your spring a maximum before screwing it on the frame. so you obtain an excellent fixing !

If you have a painting on hardboard (laminated, fiberboard, paperboard ) you want to frame, you cannnot screw to fix it in the picture frame.

chidren on the beach floater framed

The solution : double sided tape. Stick initially on the floater, remove protection and pose your painted panel.

Push down firmly during a few seconds to ensure adherence. That holds perfectly well (if you've good adhesive tape !).


The picture frame with rabbet

A moulding is said “with rabbet” when it presents a small setback inside of which comes to fit the frame of the canvas or the "package" (i.e. the backing, the art-work, the mat and the glass).


With this type of moulding, you present the canvas by the back and it is retained by the small lips which overflows of the window.

For a canvas frame as for a canvas stretched on paperboard, you fix the artwork as you can do. Esthetics has less of importance since the fixing is masked : You see only the picture in it frame.

The most handy is certainly the “spring clips” that you can find in all framing and art supplies stores. In French, the name is "tournette".

It offers the advantage to be implemenented very quickly... Spring clips are screwed on the picture frame and hold le canvas art...


how to fix spring clips

You screws it on the back of the frame and because it is flexible it comes to plate the canvas or the panel inside the rabbet. It maintains it by spring effect .

This fast attachment unit enables you to quickly remove a artwork out of its frame to replace it by another.

For the small sizes (until N° 10) 2 spring clips are sufficient. Envisage 4 clips for the most important frames.

Offset clips are often used and are available in various sizes ... You screw them on the frame then on the bars of canvas art.


If you do not have springs… you can improvise them easily… Cut out strips of thin plywood of 1" width and of 2" to 2.5" long. Screw them on the back of the frame as shown on the photograph below.

spring clips made of wood 


In framing art we call “package” the unit formed by: backing board, art-work, bevel, the mat and the protection glass.

The whole is closed with a backing tape (gummed brown paper tape) isolating the package from dust and bugs and used to maintain the elements against glass.

To frame a “package”, pose it at the bottom of the turned over frame. Distribute the possible play for a good centering, then, with horizontally inserted small nails fix it at the framework.



fixing the matted picture in its frame

Count a nail for each 5". When you finished, tape the whole back with gummed brown tape in order to ensure a correct protection.

Frames without rabbet…

When you build by yourself a frame, it is not always easy to make a rabbet… Of course, you can always put a false rabbet on the back by sticking a square wood cleat near the inner edge (0.5") of the frame.

But there is a simple method to fix on a frame without rabbet.

how to  fix a frame without rabbet

Screw two small eye-screw on the stretcher bars of the canvas. Approach your canvas by the back of the frame and, through pitons, screw two wood screws directly within the frame.