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Framing Tip: Paint a Frame on a Canvas

A helpful painting tip submitted by a fellow artist.


Tip on Framing a painting Photo © Molly Nixon

I would like to share my technique for "framing" a painting that I did on 12x14" gallery-wrapped canvas. I wanted to do this painting as a gift for a friend but I wanted to avoid actual framing so I came up with this.

First, on a smoothly prepared white gessoed canvas, I placed 1/4" painter's tape in about 1/4" all around the edges of the canvas. I sealed this with varnish and then painted the whole canvas (included sides) with black gesso. When dried, I peeled off the 1/4" to reveal the white edging. I then taped over the white edging with 1" painter's tape close to the edge of the canvas and overlapping the white strip by about 1/4" to 1/2". I proceeded with my painting and when dried, removed the final tape.

Other colours could be used in a slightly different way by painting the sides and around the edges (say a gold, or choosing a colour which will be featured prominently in your finished painting). Paint this colour a little wider than the desired size of the "frame". Place tape all around the edges over this colour and seal. There is of course the colour you applied protruding onto the canvas... paint over this with your underpainting colour or leave it and proceed with your painting which will cover it anyway. It is most important that you always "seal" the tape with varnish. There are endless possibilities using different sized tapes creating the illusion of "mattes".
Tip from: Molly Nixon.

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