Easy Picture Frames

Attractive and unique picture frames can be made with basic tools, for some only a saw and a square are needed. It is much easier to cut mitered corners with a miter box or trimmer, if the fit is not exact the angles can be fine tuned by sanding them. Often a cause of poor fitting joints is that the two opposite side pieces are not exactly the same length. A disk sander is a very handy tool to have to adjust the angles to fit, there are plans to build one here.

Miterless Frame

Make a base using 3/8" thick material as shown in fig.1, the inside dimensions should be standard photo sizes, 5 X 7, 8 X 10, 11 X 14, etc. For the top use strips 1/2" wider than base, use thicker and wider material for the corner blocks. Glue top pieces to the base as shown in Fig 2.

Rather than using corner blocks, cut strips 3/8" wider and glue on top of base lapping the joints as shown in Fig. 3

Traditional Molding Profiles

Make Your Own Profiles

Even if you don't have a router or a shaper you can use stock pieces of molding to build your own profiles.

 Cutting Miters

Precise cuts are best made using a miter saw or trimmer, use a combination square to mark the cut position, you will have to extend the line from the inside of the rabbet to the outside of the frame.

For additional strength on larger frames use a spline to reinforce the joint.

Gift Idea!

patent thmb

VIntage Patent Prints are available
printed on 10 X 13 parchment paper
to put in your unique frame .

Clamping

There are several ways to clamp your frames, perhaps the easiest way is to use a picture frame clamp. There are manufactured ones available or you can build your own. Masking tape will also work, simply lay a strip around each corner to hold it together until the glue sets. Rubber bands cut from innertubes can be used but it is difficult to keep the parts together while stretching it around the frame.

Special Tools

There are other tools made especially for framing in addition to saws and trimmers, a miter vise, brad pushers, point drivers and mat cutters are helpful additions to the serious frame maker.

Framer's Pliers


Brad Setter


Brad Pusher


Point Driver


Mat Cutter

 


Picture Frame Clamp




Picture Hanging Jig

To locate the exact spot for the nail to hang a frame drive a short brad or screw into a strip of wood so the point protrudes just a bit, hang the picture on the brad and holding the strip determine the location of the picture. Press the point into the wall to make an indentation. If you are using a nail insert it at this point, if you are using a hanger position the bottom of the hook at this point.