DIY Picture Framing Tips: The Proper Way to Back a Wood Frame

Framing specialist and Plant Manager Mike Cromly shows you step-by-step directions for backing a wood frame with a protective kraft paper backing that not only looks professional, but protects your art work.

Apply ATG Tape

applying atg tape

Apply a strip of ATG tape to the back lip of the frame, all the way around the perimeter.


Step 2 - Attaching to Kraft Paper

lay frame on kraft paper

Flip the frame over onto a piece of kraft paper that is slightly larger than the frame (or Tyvek if framing something that will be in a high-moisture area). Press down firmly to be sure the paper sticks. Flip the frame back over.

Trim Kraft Paper

using the dust cover trimmer

Using a dust cover trimmer or a utility blade, cut off the excess kraft paper. If using a blade, be sure to cut the paper slightly on the inside of the edge of the frame so that it won’t be seen when viewing from the side or front. The dust cover trimmer does this automatically, which is nice, especially if you want to give your DIY picture frames project the most professional look possible.


dust cover trimmer close up

Close-up of how the trimmer blade works.

view of the completed frame

When finished, it should look something like this.

Apply The Hanger

Next, apply a saw tooth hanger. For a larger or heavier piece, be sure to use wire or the Hangman Mounting System.


measure to find the center

Find and mark the center of the back of the top part of the frame.


attaching the saw tooth hanger

Align the hanger with the center mark and hammer the hanger into the wood frame.


frame with hanger attached

It should look like this when completed.

The Final Touch


adding bumpers to the frame

The final step is adding 2 foam bumpers to the bottom 2 corners of the frame. These protect the wall and also help prevent the frame from shifting or tilting once hung.

Following these DIY picture framing steps will help prevent dust and/or moisture from entering your frame and prepare your finished piece for being hung on the wall!

AubreyK | 2/17/2014 2:39:57 PM | 4 comments
I see frame sealing tape for sale, but it seems everyone is using atg tape. Also archival backing paper is available, but brown craft paper seems to be used instead. Are these products used because of the reduced cost?
11/26/2015 11:44:01 AM

Joseph Rohdes
I created a pattern using vertical, horizontal, and diagonals lines. I cut the washi tape in half for the picture boarder.
8/25/2015 6:45:02 AM

American Frame

We generally use them on all of our picture frames (thats why we send them out with all of our frames) but putting them on frames that hang near doors is an especially great place to have them!
3/20/2014 7:57:25 AM

Laura C.
Great tip to apply the foam bumpers on the back of the frame. I think these would be helpful for prints that are near doors so they don't shift when the doors are open and closed.
3/19/2014 9:52:00 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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