How To Build a Wood Frame

Finding the right frame can sometimes be impossible. Irregular-sized pictures can be expensive to frame, requiring custom frames that can add up to hundreds of dollars. Or sometimes it is difficult to find a color or molding that you like or that suits your decor. One solution is to make your own frame. Making a frame requires patience and careful measuring, but can be a rewarding project. The following are instructions on how to build a wood frame.

Materials Required

  • Frame molding or lumber
  • saw
  • router
  • wood glue
  • corner clamps
  • V-nails

First measure your picture. Do not round to the nearest inch (for instance, if the artwork is eleven inches and three fourths of an inch, do not round to eleven or twelve.). Improper measurements can result in the frame being too small or too large. A popular saying when it comes to measuring is "measure twice: cut once." If you remember this, you won't have to drive back to the lumber yard for extra materials.

Next choose your molding. Frame molding can be purchased from some craft stores, frame shops, or frame-mold suppliers. You can also use lumber from a hardware store or even trim or crown molding board for a special design. Purchase extra material to allow cutting allowances or in case you make a mistake.

Once your wood is selected, cut four pieces at the desired length (plus two inches so that you can miter the corners later). A handsaw would work fine for this step.

Next, cut the ends at a 45-degree angle. This will allow the pieces to fit together at a 90-degree angle and form a perfect square or rectangle. A table saw or a miter saw is ideal for this step.

Some frame moldings will already have the inside routed out, creating a lip for the glass and artwork to sit on. If you are using lumber, you will want to use a router and cut out a lip that is at least a fourth of an inch wide.

To attach the corners, put some wood glue on the ends and clamp them together until they dry. Place the frame so that the backside is facing up and insert several V-nails in each corner to secure the ends. V-nails can be purchased from a framing-supply store, home-improvement store, or ordered from a supplier. They are necessary to make the corners strong enough to hold the frame together.

Once the glue is dry, the frame can be sanded and stained or painted if required. Then you can place your artwork, glass, backing, or matting in the frame. Seal it in the back with glazier points, staples, nails, or special framers points, and your custom-made frame is finished and ready to hang.


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