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How to Frame Canvas Art Easily with Two Simple Tools

  • by Arthur Harrison
  • 5 min read


Here’s something not many people will tell you: the most remarkable art is found in thrifts, estate sales, and small art stalls - are you sensing a pattern? -and overall, just the kinds of places that you won’t readily get the art in a frame. It’s a bit of a headache, really. After all, you can take the easy route with store-bought, neatly-framed art.

But if you’re anything like us and enjoy a leisurely thrifting afternoon for the novelty of old things lurking about - then we have the perfect solution for when you decide to display thecanvas art at home: spring clips andcanvas clips! We’re not joking when we tell you that these small, simple tools will take the headache out ofhow to secure canvas in a frame.

How important is it to secure your artwork?

Let’s paint a picture to highlight how handy these clips can be. You’ve got a print you’re eager to frame or a stunning canvas painting you’ve just finished working on. The frame you own is the ideal size, but it just won’t hold things in place! There’s no way to hang that securely on the wall. 

That’s where spring clips and canvas clips step in. They secure any photo,canvas art prints, or DIY canvas art within the frame, keeping them snug and ready to be the main show on your wall. 

Safeguarding Art with Just Two Simple Tools

It’s worth noting that canvas and spring clips have distinct approaches when it comes tohow to secure canvas in a frame. Canvas clips provide a reliable hold from the back of the frame, while spring clips provide additional depth and push the art forward against the front of the frame. 

But before we get into how to use these tools, let’s go through the basic terms you need to know so you don’t get overwhelmed while reading the instructions.

After each arrow indicating the names, please put the short definitions below:

  • Rabbet - the “lip” or overhang on the inside edge of the frame that the art sits in 
  • Canvas - the actual material on which the artwork is painted or printed on
  • Canvas stretcher - a wooden framework onto which the canvas is stretched and stapled

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get started!

Spring clips are thin, flexible metal strips inserted into the frame channel that hold the frame's contents in place. The spring-loaded mechanism applies pressure against the backing or matting and secures the artwork by pushing it against the front of the frame. It’s a great option if the artwork is too thin to fill up the rabbet or frame channel.

How to Use Spring Clips

  1. Press the middle of themetal spring clip down, then slide it down to insert it into the frame channel.

2. Make sure it’s snug. Reposition if necessary. To remove it, simply press down again and slide the clip out.

3. Repeat on all sides of the frame. Leave a 3-inch interval between each clip along the frame for bigger frames.


Spring Clips FAQs:

Are spring clips suitable for all frame materials?

Spring loaded clips can be used for various frame materials, including metal, plastic, and wood. The flexibility allows them to adapt to different frame profiles.

How do I choose the right size of metal spring clips for my frame?

In general, spring clips should be thinner than the width of the frame leg so they can be hidden from sight.

Can spring clips be reused?

Although spring steel clips have a resilient spring-loaded mechanism, they might not be optimized for repeated use. It’s essential to consider the potential wear and tear on the clip, especially if it has been in use for some time.

Canvas clips, also known as offsets, are L-shaped metal hardware pieces whose shape allows one leg to fasten to the back of the frame while the other leg holds the canvas stretcher in place. They come in various sizes to accommodate the difference between the canvas stretcher and the frame rabbet. 

Before trying out these tools, there are some things you have to prepare beforehand so you don’t end up buying the wrong size.

How to Prepare Your Frame

  • For frames with rabbets thinner than the canvas stretcher: Check how far the canvas stretcher is projecting past the rabbet. This will determine the size of offset you need. Most offset clips for framing are an eighth, fourth, or half of an inch.
  • For deep-set frames thicker than the canvas stretcher: Simply reverse the roles. This time, you’ll need to measure the rabbet depth compared to the canvas stretcher. 
  • Once you have your measurements down, check out our website for the most compatible canvas frame clip!

½” Canvas Offset Clips

How to Use Canvas Clips

  1. Put the canvas into the loading frame and check the rise of the rabbet or canvas stretcher, depending on which one is thicker. This will determine what size of clip to use. 

  2. Small and medium frames need only 1-2 clips on each side. Space the clips out for bigger frames at 4-5 inch intervals.

  3. Use an awl or screwdriver to secure the clips.


Canvas Clips FAQs:

There are double-hole and single-hole varieties. Which one should I choose?

Usually,canvas frame clips come with holes on both legs. However, the shallow ones (usually the ⅛ sizes) can have single holes because they don’t need to offset much as there’s not a lot of canvas stretcher projecting past the frame. If you’re offsetting half an inch or more, it’s best to get the double-hole variety.

Where should I fasten the clip if it has a single hole?

If the canvas stretcher is thicker than the frame, the clip is screwed onto the frame. If the frame is thicker, then the clip is screwed onto the stretcher. (Note, however, that double-hole varieties are best for deep-set frames.)

What if my measurements don’t match the canvas clip sizes exactly?

That’s ok! We also recommend going a little bigger than the exact size. It just needs to be fastened onto the frame without having to bend. Just make sure not to get anything smaller.

Can I usecanvas frame clips on other types of frames?

While you can pre-drill a hole into plastic or metal frames, they might not hold the screw effectively. Canvas clips are primarily designed for wooden frames, as they provide a reliable hold for the canvas stretcher.

If you have additional questions about either of the clips and how to use them, feel free to send us an email at support@picturehangsolutions.com

Final Thoughts

All that art and the lengths you’ve gone to collect them is for naught if you can’t put them up for show! Yourframed canvas wall artgallery is within reach with our canvas and spring clips. You won’t have to worry about your canvas art clunking inside the frame or your photos bending and warping inside the glass.Framing canvas art just got way easier!

What other methods have you tried to secure your art into frames? Ever tried a few DIY methods? Let us know in the comments!

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