Floating frame assembly guide

Floating frame assembly guide

This guide was created especially for the Floating Frame DIY sets I'm selling on Etsy (link on Floating frames). Also, you can use this guide or some steps from it for a similar product. Everything I'm showing here is based on my personal expiries. I have made lots of frames and mistakes, so that is my path, and if it works well for me, it would work well for you too. Welcome to improve the flow and adapt to your unique situation.

Floating frame sat includes frame bars, hungers, and screws

You will get the floating frame set which includes the bars themselves, screws to attach a stretched canvas, and hunger (you can use it optionally.) Also, you need the following tools to accomplish the process:

  • Wood glue - choose a glue that dries not super quickly; longer is better to have time on maneuvers to remove and clean it up before it dries.
  • Clamping system. I am using Variable Angle Strap Clamps. You can clamp the frame with any clamps which are designed for that, including paper masking tape. But, what I'm using here, is the best way to tie the frame.
  • Wet pice of fabric to remove excess glue, a blade, and ear sticks can help too.
  • Finishing coat. To protect the frame from UV light and humidity, I think it is a necessary step and can be done later. Let's say it is optional for now.
  • Shims or play cards to align your artwork inside the frame.
  • Philips screwdriver.

Tools for floating frame assembly. Wood glue, stripe clamp, screwdriver, and cleaning tools.

Before you start using glue

Find a flat surface. A table works well for this purpose, and if you have access to the table from all sides that is the best situation. You can use a few tables or a floor for large applications. Unpack all hardware and frame bars and align the frame bars on the table to see how big it is and how much space you have for maneuvers around it. Also, I highly recommend you to test the clamping system without glue to see how it works and try to move the frame in clams to see how heavy it is and how it can be flipped. Sometimes a helper is required.

The floating frame is ready to assemble.

Gluing the Floating frame

Prepare the clamping system, rotate all the frame bars by the glue area up. Apply glue on all corners and make sure the glue covers all needed surfaces. Put all together and apply the clamping system. You need to tie the system in several steps. In the first step, you need lightly tie strips. The plastic corners should be easily moved by hand. So, it will keep the frame together, but you can still move the bars. The second step is to align the frame corners. Make sure the edges are aligned everywhere (top, bottom, and side) on all corners. The next step is to tie the clamping system and double-check all alignment on all corners.

Gluing of the floating frame.

Remove all excess glue.

With well-wet pice of fabric remove all excess glue. A blade helps you clean up internal corners. The screwdriver wrapped in wet cloth helps you remove glue from the outside of the corner. And remember, one minute now will save 30 minutes later to remove dried glue.

Removing glue from inside corners with a blade and remove glue from outsides with a wrapped screwdriver

When the frame is free of glue, put your artwork inside the frame, and push it to one corner, and align the sides of the floating frame to the sides of your artwork. The floating frame's sides should be parallel to the artwork's sides, and it can be not square.

The floating frame is aligned and ready for drying

Dry your application for 20+ hours as the glue recommends. And keep it on a flat surface. When the frame is fully dried, unclamp the frame and check if all glue was removed; if not, clean up the glue.

Apply finish coat (optional)

The finish coat has a lot of positive things:

  • Protects the wood from UV light. Some species are very sensitive to UV light.
  • The finishing coat protects the wood from humidity, so the wood will absorb less moisture.
  • Pop up colors.

Mounting the artwork into the floating frame.

You need perfectly align the artwork in the center of the floating frame. Temporarily fix it inside the frame and screw them together. Play cards can help to align the artwork. Just insert an equal number of cards in a gap on opposite sides. The sides of the floating frame and the artwork's side can be unparallel, so with carts you can adjust the sides and make them parallel. It's more important to keep sides parallel than straight or square. Also, if the artwork is not absolutely square, the cards help align the artwork in the center of the floating frame and hide defects. When the artwork is aligned inside the frame, you can move the application off the table's edge and secure the artwork with screws (the screws are included in the set). If you are working on a floor, you can put the application on one side vertically and secure the artwork in that position.

Align the artwork inside the floating frame with paper shims

The stretched canvas usually doesn't flat on the backside. Depending on canvas thickness and wrapping style, the corners of the canvas are usually thicker than the central part of the bar. So you need to compensate that differences with shims or do not tie hard the canvas to the frame with screws.

Also, the slot inside the floating frame is a bit deeper than canvas thickness. So you can keep your artwork lower than the floating frame high, or level the artwork with the frame high with shims.


Currently, the application is ready to be hung on a wall. You can use the existing hanging system or attach included to the set hungers. And there is a big room to improve the application. You can make additional steps and decorate the frame, stain it, or paint it. But in general, it is done.

The floating frame is done. View from frond and back.

As already was sed, it is how I glue the frames. You can have a more advanced claiming system, or your frame can be much large than the biggest table in your house, but the main steps will be the same.

So, have fun, and try to enjoy the process.

Some tips:

  • Use a clamping system that allows you to clean up the outside of the corners, as shown in the guide.
  • Some frames can be made from soft materials, such as Pine or Poplar. To protect the surface of the frame, you can wrap outside edges with paper masking tape and aluminate possible marks from clamps.

Outside access to the floating frame corner and shown a way how to protect the frame surface from claiming marks with masking type.


  • Pat`

    If I am going to paint the frame do I paint the pieces first and do the other stuff afterwards

  • Maria

    Handy tutorial! I am excited to get one and do it!

Leave a comment