How to Assemble a Floater Frame with Dovetailed Keys

Floating frames for canvases are a quick, easy, and affordable way to frame a painting or print on canvas. All floater frames purchased from Upper Canada Stretchers are shipped unassembled to protect the frame and for easier shipping. The instructions to assemble them upon receipt are below!

Your floating frame comes with screws, eye screws and dovetail keys

Tools needed: hammer and Phillips screwdriver (the one with the cross) – wood glue, dovetail keys, eye screws and screws come supplied with your floater frame bars


Apply a thin layer of wood glue to one end of a floater frame bar.


Place frame upside down on a firm and flat surface that will not scratch the frame finish.  By hand, push in a plastic dovetail key (rounded end goes in first).


Tap the key in with the hammer until it is flush with the back of the frame.  Repeat above procedures for the other three corners.  Let the glue set for at least 4 hours before using floater frame.

The eye-screw fastening method keeps your artwork secure within the floating frame.

Floater frames are shipped with eye screws for mounting your stretched canvas on the frame.  To maintain an even 1/4″ gap around the canvas, you can fold pieces of paper about 5 times to create several 1/4″ thick shims that can be placed around the perimeter of the canvas while the screws are installed. Center or evenly space the eye screws on the floater frame bars and use the supplied screws to secure them.


Feel free to call us at 1-800-561-4944 if you have any questions!