What are offset clips & how to use them for framing?

Framing is an important part of the painting process. A good frame is known for the attraction and beauty it gives to the art and also the durability to bear damage. Artwork can only survive if the canvas is fitted properly in the frame. Offset clips are essential components in the framing process because they allow the user to adjust the canvas in the frame. These are small but very useful in framing.

This blog aims to provide a complete guide on what are offset clips and how to use them properly in different kinds of frames. We also aim to cover the sizes, characteristics, and some common questions about these canvas clips. Whether you are an artist or a professional framer, understanding the basics of offset clips can help you achieve flawless and professional results. Let’s start!

What are offset clips?

Offset clips are small hardware parts made of metal that are used to securely hang and support picture frames, mirrors, and other objects. Offset clips are made up of hard materials such as steel, or aluminium. They are available in multiple sizes and shapes that can be used to hang a wide range of paintings and other artworks.

The offset clip is an invention of the 1980s and 1990s. It was built to hold the canvas in the frame to prevent the canvas from moving out of place. Today, it is a part of the modern framing industry and modern stores are full of a variety of them. They are also popular as “canvas clips” or “Z-clips“.

Why There is a Need of Offset Clips?
In frame market, every picture or painting frame comes with some centimeter gap between the canvas and the frame. This gap is left to avoid the frame from touching the canvas and causing damage to the painting. These gaps can be fill by some other methods also such as a carboard piece, spacer etc. However, using offset clips is the most professional way. 

According to the need of usage, there are various kinds of clips available in the market that come in different styles with different materials. There are three main types: plastic offset clips, mirror offset clips, and metal offset clips. Metal clips are the most durable but this is a little bit hard to handle them as they can damage the back side of the canvas or the frame. Plastic clips are less durable but they are easy to handle.

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Best Offset Clip for Canvas

What are offset clips - Best overall offset clip for canvas and picture framing

Our Ratings:

Sturdiness: 4.5/5 | Value for money: 4.8/5 | Varieties: 5/5 | Easy to Install: 4.5/5

What we Like!

  • Variety sizes
  • Zinc plated
  • Sturdy
  • Comes with screws

What we Don’t Like!

  • Moderate Price

Offset canvas clips from the DZHJKIO comes from China with a specialty in a wide range of varieties. In this way, you can keep the left clips for future use. Instead of other clips, I have seen some distinction in their quality and the number of ratings. At the time of writing this post, a total of 641 ratings were given by users with a 4.7-star score.

As canvases can be different in thickness because of the wooden rods, the flexibility of DZHJKIO’s offset canvas clips provides a great solution for fitting the canvas in the frame. Each size comes in separate packaging which is also a plus point.

Price at the time of Publish: 19.95$

Technical Details:

ManufacturerGittels Art Supply
Weight‎1.13 pounds
Dimensions6 x 3 x 9 inches
Package Quantity20
Number Of Pieces120
Technical details of offset clip

How to use offset clips

Most artists are not really sure about how to attach a canvas to a frame. Using offset clips is the most reliable way to do so but there are some things that need to be considered before using them.

Note: Offset clips are useable only for stretched canvases. If your canvas is not stretched, I recommend reading: "How to frame an oil painting on canvas". 

To use offset clips, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Choose the clip size according to the thickness of your canvas and frame
  2. Place the frame face down on the table and put the canvas over it
  3. Place the offsets on the backside of the frame’s rails and attach them using a screw
  4. Position the canvas properly inside the frame
  5. Make sure to use an appropriate length of the screws to avoid damage

This is necessary to choose only the appropriate size of the clips because it is going to be difficult to adjust the canvas later. Using screws again and again can create serious damage.

How to calculate hat size offset clips for painting

To calculate the required hat size of offset clips, you need to measure the thickness of the painting, the type of frame, and the size required size of the offset clip.

First, determine your type of frame closely because different frames may require different kinds of offset clips. Use a scale to measure the thickness of the painting. This thickness can be determined if you place the painting in the frame and then measure the extra height or interval that remained outside the frame. Use that thickness to find out the required size of the offset clip. However, a table has been given below to guide about the size. If you don’t have the required size, you can purchase it from the store or directly through the above-given link. Always keep different sizes of clips to make sure you don’t feel any problems.

To estimate the required sized offset clip, place your canvas inside the frame and measure the height of the canvas with a measuring tape or scale. If the height is 10 mm then you gonna need a 1/2″ clip size. Here is a table to guide you about the required size of the clip.

HeightRequired size
0 mm0”
4 mm1/8”
6 mm1/4”
8 mm3/8”
10 mm1/2”
15 mm3/4”
20 mm1”
25 mm1-1/4”
Table showing the heights of the sizes of canvas clip
Not sure about framing cost? Read: How much does it cost to frame an oil painting. 

How to install offset mirror clips?

What are offset clips - How to install mirror holder clips
Image Credit: Amazon

Installing offset mirror clips is just a simple procedure that needs some time and a little effort with devotion. First of all, you have to determine the number of clips that have been required to hold the mirror. Generally, a clip is needed after every 12-18 inches of length. Mark the placement of the clips on the wall to get the exact estimation of the placement.

Use screws two screws per clip to give them enough strength to hold the mirror. Now, attach the mirror with clips just by placing the clips over the top and the bottom edges of the mirror. Now you can do any adjustments by removing the mirror. The same procedure goes for installing offset screen clips.

How to frame canvas without offset clips

Framing with offset clips is a common and reliable way of framing a canvas or picture but what if you don’t have them or you want to try another method? Well, I have found some useful techniques that are similar to canvas clips in working.

  • A stretcher bar frame can also be used instead of offset clips. A stretcher bar is a wooden frame that is designed to fit strongly around the edges of your canvas. Most of the stretcher bar frames are customized.
  • Adhesive hangers are also similar to offset clips but they can hang canvas instead of the frame. The beauty and the frame are going to be compromised in the case of these hangers.
  • A mat can also be used instead of the offset clip. In this method, the canvas is placed onto a backing board and then we place it inside the frame with a mat board between the frame and canvas as a holder.


What size offset clips do I need for a 24×18 frame?

You have to measure the thickness of the canvas first and then see the above table to know the required size clip. Generally, you can use a 1/8” sized offset clip for a 24×18 frame.

Where can I buy offset clips?

E-commerce stores such as Amazon, eBay, and Shopify are the best places to buy offset clips. I recommend Amazon.

What are the exact dimensions of an offset clip 3/4 inch?

The exact size is as follows:

Length: 11/4 inches or 31.75 mm
Width: 5/16 inch or 7.94 mm
Depth: 3/4 inch or 19.04 mm

Final Words

For framing, offset clips are very useful tools to fit the canvas inside the frame. They can do various tasks such as painting framing, picture framing, fitting a mirror, etc. In the case of expensive paintings, you have to take care while screwing offset clips inside the canvas because they can peel off the wooden structure. Everything can be under control but you must have to take care of the size as the wrong size cannot help to hold the canvas inside the frame. The above table is helpful to guide about the size of the offset clips with respect to the thickness of the canvas.

I hope this article is enough to answer all your questions related to offset clips but if you have some additional questions, we appreciate you asking us directly through comments.


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