What a difference a frame makes

A simple outline around a picture can make the difference between “looks good” and “looks great”.


The BIG frame up

We needed some big impact in our living room. I mean, BIG. We found this oversized abstract wall art from West Elm. At seven foot tall, it had the presence we needed for our 18 foot wall. The West Elm wall art looked good but I knew it could look great. On a white wall the art didn’t pop. What it needed was a big outline on that big white wall. It needed a frame. A simple project with a lot of impact.




Poplar wood – Poplar wood is a good affordable choice because it typically has a straight, uniform grain which is good for staining. Choose a size that proportionately fits the canvas. For my large canvas I used 1 x 3 poplar.

Miter box and saw

Wood stain, polyurethane, steel wool and disposable foam brushes 

Panel nails and hammer



Measure the length you will need for the top, bottom and sides. Measure each separately. Each sided may be slightly different.


Cut each piece with a miter box at a 45 degree angle. Make sure you cut the angles correctly. It’s easy to have a dyslexic moment and cut the angles wrong.


Mark the ends of each piece top, bottom, left and right. This will be helpful when putting the frame together. Stain both sides of each piece. After the stain has dried coat both sides of each piece with polyurethane. Three coats should be enough. Between coats lightly sand with steel wool to smooth the grain.


Lining up the mitered corners, nail each piece directly into the sides of the canvas.

That’s it!






Now our seven foot canvas is the focus on the wall instead of blending into the wall.

7 thoughts on “What a difference a frame makes

  1. This makes such a huge difference. It’s a beautiful upgrade for a low cost and moderate effort–you’re a genius!


  2. Wow, you make it look so easy!

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  3. This is such a great look especially with a frame! I have been thinking about this specific piece of artwork from West Elm for a while. But I’m hesitant to buy it without seeing it and it can’t be returned. Could you tell me how accurate are the colors in the photo? Is the blue a real blue, perhaps with a touch of turquoise? Or is it more grey? Thank you.


    • It’s definitely blue and not grey. It does have some hints of turquoise. The West Elm photo is pretty accurate. I recommend the frame too if it’s hanging on a white wall.

      Thanks for reaching out!


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