Simple foldable & transportable Canvas Print Frame System

Project Idea

The idea for this project was to utilize the (awesome!) large format printer to make prints for myself and others. One of the downsides I've found with framing things (especially large prints) is that the frames become quite ungainly to transport/move with. The aim with this project was to make a system that was more portable and simple - i.e. no glass to break, etc. The canvas material is perfect for this!



The concept is pretty simple: clamp two edges of the print with wood strips, and then use a bar behind the canvas print to stretch the print taught. If the back bar is made removable, the print can then simply be rolled up like a scroll! For bonus points, a half yard of fabric (I got these from clearance at JoAnn Fabrics) works great to roll them up and package/wrap them, all parts included!




There are quite a few possible ways to implement this design: one way is to use dovetail joints at either end of the cross bar, another is to use a pin and slot combination with dowels. I'm sure there are others; all the cross bar needs to do is lock rotation of the edge clamps and hold them apart.


The process for the above design begins with ripping the stock for the edges on the table saw - I used 0.3" strips for the outside and 0.5" strips for the inside, made from a 3/4" thick oak board that was 6" wide a 6 ft long. After ripping them on the tablesaw, I used clamps and a stop on the chop saw to quickly and accurately cut them all down to 12" tall (my final images are 12"x28.9", the maximum printable width on the 30" canvas material). I then drilled 1/4" and 17/32" holes for my cross piece with a guide and stop on the drill press, as well as three  countersunk screw holes to clamp the 0.3" outer and 0.5" inner peices together.


To contruct the 3 piece dowels, I made 1.5" metal dowels from 36"x0.25" aluminum rod, and then used  a drill bushing guide to drill the holes in the ends of the dowels.


An alternative method is to use a dovetail joint - example by Tyler Roy:


A small cost saving hack: printing multiple at once saves on the unavoidable wasted canvas at the start of a print!


Required Tools/Badges:

  • Large Format Printer Badge
  • Bandsaw Badge*
  • Tablesaw Badge*
  • Wood Chopsaw badge*
  • Drill Press Badge (optional)
  • Metal Bandsaw Badge (optional)

*If you can find thin stock/trim to start with, this build can probably be accomplished with just hand tools!



If you would like more information or help on how to make one yourself, feel free to reach out to me on Slack, @ColemanMerchant!


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