DIY Picture Frame – On the House

DIY Picture Frame

By on March 19, 2016

Except for Hawaii most of the rest of the country is either cold, wet, covered with snow or besieged by some combination thereof. On a scale of one to ten this reduces most folks interest in outdoor projects to somewhere around minus eighteen.

So, turn up the furnace and clear off the kitchen table and we will show you how you can enjoy doing a home improvement project without having to deal with mother nature. By the way, for our Hawaiian readers, this one can be done in good weather too.

We recently designed a picture frame that has proved to be very simple to create. It is made without special cutting such as mitering (angle cutting) or dadoing (notch cutting). And, the design eliminates the need for connectors such as nails, screws, dowels and biscuits. Furthermore, the frame can be made to hold just about any size photo. As for materials, you will need wood for the frame and glue to hold it together. If you don’t own clamps we will show you how you can use scrap wood to make your own.

The key to this project is simplicity. The most simple direction to cut across a piece of wood is at a 90 degree angle to its’ length (a “straight cut” or “butt cut”). And that’s the type of cut that we have chosen to use. Although we definitely do not want to dissuade more experienced DIY’ers from using power equipment, this project is directed at the beginner whose workshop is still in its’ developing stages.

Our unique picture frame is made from two simple, individual wood frames glued together. Note: Alone, the individual frames are not designed to be used to hang a picture.

To begin, the wood you have selected must be measured and cut to create the two individual frames. Each frame is assembled by “butting” pieces together. Glue is used to make the connections permanent. Once the two frames have dried, they are sanded and a thin coat of glue is applied to one face of each frame. At this point the glued surfaces are clamped together over night or until the glue has dried. Clamps or heavy weights can be used to accomplish this task.

It is important to note that the overall size of the frames must be different from one another (in height and width). This difference lends interest to the front of the frame by creating a stair-step edge. But more importantly, at the rear of the frame a dado-like offset is produced that is perfect for holding a sheet of glass, a picture, backing and retainers. A must for any respectable picture frame.

The inside dimension of one frame should be about the same size as the picture. In this example, 11 by 14 inches. Imagine the picture to be a portrait of your mother-in-law — a horizontal view. A second smaller frame is built so that its’ inside dimension is approximately three-quarters of an inch less than that of the first frame — 10 1/4” by 13 1/4”. This difference is not critical. However, by using our suggested size difference, a margin of three-eighths of an inch will exist when the larger frame is centered over the smaller one. When viewing the frame from the front the margin is seen at the outside perimeter. When viewing the frame from the back the margin is seen surrounding the inner opening of the frame.

Note: The outside measurement of the frames will depend on the width of the material you elect to build with. There are no rules here. Also, varying the thickness of the wood used for one of the frames can add interest and dimension.

This is definitely one of our more inexpensive projects. The frames actually can be made from scrap wood — very inexpensive. However, clear dry wood is nice if you can get it. Soft woods such as Pine and Cedar are easier to work with. Hardwoods such as Oak and Ash are more difficult to work with, but have interesting texture and color.

Clamps are normally used to hold glued connections together. Unfortunately, clamps can be expensive. If you don’t already have clamps don’t go out and purchase any until you’ve tried our technique. All you will need is a pieces of old scrap plywood. Build your own “home made” clamp by attaching a wooden block onto the face of the plywood. Align the long side of the block with any one of the four edges of the plywood. Glue and assemble the frame so that its’ two LONG sides are parallel to the block. With one long side of the frame against the block wedge another block against the opposite side of the frame — and nail the block in place. Driving a couple of nails through the block and into the plywood base is all you should need to hold everything tightly together until the glue dries.

Finally, sand and finish your new picture frame to match the decor of your home. Stay dry. And, good luck!

For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.


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