How to Make a Picture Frame? – Tutorial on Building a Frame from Scratch

Quite often, we get asked ‘how to make a picture frame.’ Well, we’ve decided to show you just how easy it is to craft a DIY custom picture frame at home.

Step 1: Gather the following supplies: framer's hammer, nail punch, white putty, paper towels, a Dremel drill and a bit, wood glue, finishing nails, 2 frame corner clamps, one large vice clamp and eye and ear protection. We recommend using 8 ft lengths of chair rail that can be found in any hardware store.

Step 2: Set the miter box to a 45 degree angle and cut off the end of each frame section. Now it’s time to do a little math. Our frame is 18” x 24”. Take the frame length + 2x the frame base width + 1/8” for play. For example,  our moulding has a base width of 1 ¾”. So, 18 + (2 x 1 ¾) + 1/8  equals 21 5/8.” On the other end, mark the frame with a pencil, on the outer edge, at 0.

Step 3: Now switch the miter box from a 45 degree right angle to a 45 degree left angle. Make your cut.Once cut, you should have a frame rail that is 18 1/8” on the inner edge. Repeat the steps above for the second 18” length.

Step 4: Follow the same steps for the 24” lengths. Refer back to the formula. Change the 18” length to 24” and your outcome will be 27 5/8”. Cut moulding to this length.

Step 5: When finished you should have 4 lengths ready for assembly. One pair of 18” and one pair of 24.” Secure one of the corner clamps to the edge of the table with your vice clamp. Carefully insert one 18” length and one 24” length into your vice. Line up and tighten down firmly. Now you’re ready for gluing. Remove one section from the vice and cover the edge with glue, place the section back into the vice, align, tighten and wipe off excess glue.

Step 6: Carefully drill two holes in the edge of the frame, making sure the drill bit goes through to the other section. Hammer in finishing nails. Then take the punch and sink the nails in carefully. This will allow you to hide the nails when puttying.

Step 7: Once completing two opposite corners, allow them to dry overnight before final assembly. The next day, take two opposite corners and join in vice. Align and tighten down. Remove one section of the frame from the vice and cover the edge with glue. Place it back in the vice, align, tighten down and wipe off excess glue.

Step 8: Carefully drill two holes into the edge of the frame (like before) and hammer in finishing nails. Use the punch to sink them in carefully.

Step 9: To finish, take the framer’s putty and fill in all cracks, holes and imperfections.

Now your frame is ready for painting or any other creative finishes! 

AubreyK | 1/14/2015 2:51:41 PM | 1 comments
Thanks for the post! But it seems like a lot of work. I'd rather order frames from you instead!
1/16/2015 2:33:17 PM

About this blog

Mike Cromly
So, who’s Mike? He is the man behind the mission of getting your picture frames produced and out the door quickly, correctly, with custom frame shop quality. Once your order is placed, it is in the hands of Mike and the many people he has trained over his 35+ years with the company. A natural teacher, he loves to tinker and experiment. Of course he has a nice office, but we rarely find him there. Working in the plant and improving our processes is his passion. Outside of American Frame, Mike is an outdoorsman, avid fisherman, devoted family man and Ohio State Buckeye fan. Mike's Twitter
For more tutorials and articles, take a look at our other blogs - A Good Frame of Mind or At Your Service

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