You've bought a painting on canvas and built a picture frame for it… and you do not know how to fix the canvas within its frame.
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.
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.
(click on the images to increase them)
You can also use “spring clips”. In this case,the "spring clips" are fixed on the stretcher bars of the canvas and come to be fixed behind the frame.
It is quite easy to place the canvas on the floater frame and to turn over the unit. The spring is fixed 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 frame.
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 the framing and art supplies stores. In French, the name is "tournette". It offers the advantage of its speed of implementation.
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.
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.
(click for increasing)
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.
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.
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.
(click to increase)
Mat, mount and frame it yourself
An attractive, well-designed frame not only enhances a picture but preserves and protects it.
Logan, a contributing editor at Artists' Magazine who has taught framing and matting across the United States, shows readers how to present their artwork skillfully and economically.
My opinion... One of the best !
How to Make Your Own
Ed Reinhardt, Hal Roger
Here is the most complete, practical handbook available on making and finishing over 60 frame styles...
The best book for the beginner. Clear and concise. Step-by-step instructions with photos for each and every step.
Covers all aspects of frame construction, painting, mats, glass-cutting and usage. A great book to trigger your own ideas to create custom frames.