Coolest Way to Frame Canvas Art: the Soundboard Frame!




Introduction: Coolest Way to Frame Canvas Art: the Soundboard Frame!

About: My love of making things started young, with a mom who was always coming up with projects and a dad whose tool collection still gives me envy. I got my love of bright colors from mom and my love of working wi…

If you're like us, you love canvas paintings but never quite know how to display them. Sure, you could hang a wrapped canvas without a frame, but sometimes that looks a little bare. When we bought this beautiful, bold painting from Jamaica, we wanted to create an amazing frame that accentuates the art AND makes a huge statement. From that desire, a totally original concept for framing a canvas was born: the Soundboard Frame.

It took us several tries to get this frame right, as PRECISION is key to the aesthetic. Luckily, we videoed it all, which you can watch in this Instructable.

So break out those saws, some stain and (square edged) wood, and let’s get to work!


(affiliate links)

2″x2” Pine (square edged)

Thin Backing Board

2”x.75” Wood (for backing board frame)

.25” Hobby Board

Extra Coins

Stain (without poly):

Wood Glue:

Super Glue:

Sponge Paint Brushes:

Shop towels:


Miter saw:

Orbital Sander:


Tape Measure:

Carpenter’s Pencil:

Digital Calipers:


Note: measurements will vary depending on the size of your art and wood blocks.

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Step 1: Watch the Tutorial Video!

It took more than one restart (technically 4 tries in all) to get this frame right, and we had A LOT of lessons learned along the way. We’ll try to capture most of them here, but be sure to watch the video for the most robust info. 😉

Step 2: Cut and Sand the Wood Blocks

Gather the following tools and materials: miter saw, extra wood (for stop block), measuring tape, square edged wood (for blocks), power sander.

Note: Before you begin, decide how many blocks you plan to create. For the aesthetic we were looking to create, we wanted 3 rows of blocks, and with a canvas this size, we knew we needed 244 blocks in total. We ended up cutting more so we would have additional sizes to work with. The blocks we cut ranged in height from 1.5” tall all the way down to .25” tall…in 1/4” increments.

  1. Set a stop block on your miter saw for the height you want your first block.
  2. Cut enough blocks in that size.
  3. Adjust the stop block down .25” and cut your next round of blocks.
  4. Repeat this process until all blocks have been cut.
  5. Sand all edges of your wood blocks, but be careful to not take off the sharp edges.
    Note: We lightly hit each edge with the sander - just enough to knock the splinters/jagged pieces off.
  6. Lay everything out to ensure your measurements are correct and to ensure that you have enough of each size block before moving on to the next steps.

Step 3: Stain the Blocks

Gather the following tools and materials: coins, wood blocks, stain of your choice, sponge brush, damp rag or shop towel.

  1. Hold the top and bottom of your first wood block.
  2. Stain all sides of your block, except the top and bottom.
  3. Place wood block on a coin (or other small, flat material) so it won’t adhere to the board while drying.
  4. Allow stain to soak in.
  5. Wipe off any excess stain with a damp rag or shop towel.
  6. Repeat until you have stained the sides of all blocks. Let dry.
  7. Stain the tops of the wood blocks using the same stain, soak, wipe method.
  8. Let dry.

Step 4: Prepare the Backboard

Gather the following tools and materials: backboard, 2”x.75” wood, miter saw, screws, drill driver, stain, damp rag or shop towel, wood glue, and super glue

  1. Measure your canvas and the width of the blocks (in rows) that will go around the art.
  2. Cut the backboard to be .25” shallower on each side and top/bottom.
  3. If you don’t have a table or circular saw, big box hardware stores like Home Depot may be able to cut the wood for you.
  4. Cut the 2”x.75” wood into strips long enough to go around the entire backboard.
  5. You can either use butt joints or 45 degree miter cuts.
  6. Attach stability frame with wood glue and screws (but be sure that the screws are flush to the board).
  7. Cut two more strips of the 2”x.75” wood to go across the inside of the backing frame. See picture.
  8. Attach stability bars using wood glue and screws.
  9. For the “French Cleat” hanger strip, cut one more strip of the 2”x.75” wood to fit across the top of the board, just underneath the top frame piece.
  10. Make a 25 degree angle miter cut across the full length of the middle of this board.
  11. Attach one side of the strip to the frame using super glue.
    Note: The angle should slope down and away from the backboard. The other side will be attached to the wall where you hang the frame. See "French Cleat" Diagram and picture of cleat on wall.
  12. Stain the front of the board by using the stain, soak, wipe method detailed above.

Step 5: Cut, Stain, and Attach Wood for Inside Frame (optional)

Gather the following tools and materials: .25” hobby board, stain, sponge brush, saw, damp rag or shop towel

If you need to fill space between the wood blocks and your canvas, you can create an inside frame. This inside frame is also helpful for keeping the block aligned when gluing those to the board. 🙂

  1. Cut the .25” hobby board to the length and width of your frame (top, bottom and both sides).
  2. Stain the wood using the stain, soak, wipe method detailed above.
  3. Glue the inside frame into place using super glue. Be sure to follow instructions on bottle of glue.
  4. Check to be sure your canvas fits within the inside frame before proceeding.

Step 6: Glue the Blocks to the Backboard

Gather the following materials: wood blocks, inside frame boards backboard (already reinforced, wood glue, super glue.

  1. Decide which side of the frame you will start on.
  2. We chose the right side, starting at the top of the inside frame.
  3. Run a strip of wood glue along the full length of the side you plan to start on.
  4. Grab a block and line all four sides of the underside with super glue.
  5. Place block on backboard and hold until set (ours took about 10 seconds).
  6. Repeat until all blocks are adhered to the board.

Step 7: Insert Canvas

Gather the following materials: Soundboard frame, 4 Command velcro strips

  1. Press both sides of the Command velcro strips together.
  2. Peel off one side of the adhesive backing on the Command strip.
  3. Press and hold on the back of the canvas art.
  4. Repeat for all 4 corners. Peel off the exposed adhesive backings on all of the Command strips.
  5. Place art in frame and press/hold according to instructions.

Step 8: Hang the Frame & Enjoy!

Gather the following materials: corresponding hanger strip (French Cleat method), drywall screws, stud finder, drill driver

  1. If you’re using the French Cleat hanging method, which we recommend for larger art since the entire piece will be heavy), follow the below instructions:
  2. Use stud finder to locate the stud(s) in the wall where you will hang your art.
  3. Mark location of studs on the wall.
  4. Place corresponding hanger strip against the wall, ensuring that it is level.
  5. Mark stud location on the strip.
  6. Pre-drill holes in hanger strip.
  7. Drive screws into hanger strips, ensuring that you are in the studs.
  8. Check security of hanger strip before attempt to hang the finished frame.
  9. Hang & enjoy!

For more fun projects and DIYs, please visit our blog Just Might DIY and subscribe to our YouTube Channel!

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    Question 8 months ago on Step 1

    I just recently came across this wonderful creation of yours. This winter my wife and I are going to attempt to make something similar.
    We also love the artwork you were framing. I’ve searched high and low for this (print) but haven’t been able to find out who painted it. I don’t suppose you have the artist’s name and/or the title of the work?


    Answer 8 months ago

    Hey! So glad you like the frame and art! Definitely let us know when you make the frame. 😄

    The art was purchased from a hut on the beach in Jamaica. We checked out the signature on it, and it’s either M. Tingle or M. Jingle.


    2 years ago

    I love this design, but I am looking to make a mirror frame. How might you (would you) modify this to be a mirror frame? Do you think putting the mirror in the same way as the art (maybe a few more commander strips) would work? Would you suggest attaching the mirror another way?


    Reply 2 years ago

    Hey! SO glad you like the design. For a mirror, I'd probably use something much more sturdy than Command adhesive (and definitely not the velcro strips, as they're made to come apart). I'd recommend some mirror clips that screw in - something low profile that won't stick out around the edges too much (unless you want to dig out the bottoms of the blocks that could then go over them). When it comes to something heavy like a mirror, the more secure you can make it, the better.

    Please post a picture when you make it! We'd love to see it. :)


    2 years ago

    Looks great, seems a little heavy though, I wonder if it can be done using foam or maybe balsa wood scraps?


    Reply 2 years ago

    Hey! Thanks for your comment. This weighed in at around 17 pounds, which is why we used the French Cleat method to hang it. Balsa Wood would definitely be a great option, and it would weigh less.

    However, I'd recommend not using scrap wood, as precision is key to having everything line up correctly. As the video shows, even a tenth of an inch off - when you're working in volume - adds up to some serious unevenness.

    If you have access to equally sized foam blocks or a way to cleanly and precisely cut them, that would work as well. We just loved being able to vary the direction on the wood grains for added interest. :)

    Let us know if you attempt the Balsa or foam version - we'd love to see how it turns out!!


    2 years ago

    what a great project, and I love the way you guys created the youtube video.
    Vvery very very entertaining - thank you!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the project and the video! We're new to YouTube, but definitely having fun figuring it all out!


    2 years ago

    I really like the frame, but I believe there is a confusion in terms. I've only heard the word soundboard used in 2 ways:
    1. An electronic device that receives multiple audio signals, mixes them together in one or more mixes and routes them to one or more destinations.
    2. An electronic device with a grid of buttons each with a soundcue assigned to it, the pressing of which immediately plays that assigned soundclip.

    While I love it and wish to build something similar for my home studio, it is better referred to as acoustic diffuser tile or panel.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Hey there - glad you like the project! And thanks for taking time to provide all the great insight - very helpful indeed. As a work of art in itself, we'll keep calling it the Soundboard Frame (as it's sound inspired and made from boards!), but we can and probably should include mentions of it being diffuser style in our descriptions, so we really appreciate the explanations. Happy making!


    2 years ago

    Glorious love it =)


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you!

    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    2 years ago

    I love the way this look! I really like the look of blocks at different heights!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you! SO glad you like it. :)