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How to apply a dust cover to the back of your wooden picture frame

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

Our framing specialists show 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

Mike Cromley applying tape to the back of a wooden frameMike Cromley applying tape to the back of a wooden frame
Applying tape to the back of a frame 

Attaching to Kraft Paper

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

A frame laying on craft paper tape side down A frame laying on craft paper tape side down
Attaching the kraft paper

Trim Kraft Paper

Flip the frame over onto a piece of kraft paper or acid-free backing paper that is slightly larger than the frame. Press down firmly to be sure the paper sticks. Flip the frame back over.

Mike Cromly using a dust cover trimmer on the back of the frame Mike Cromly using a dust cover trimmer on the back of the frame
Using the dust cover trimmer 
A dust cover trimmer cutting through the craft paperA dust cover trimmer cutting through the craft paper
A close up of the dust cover trimmer

Close-up of how the trimmer blade works. 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.

A completed frame with kraft paper on the backA completed frame with kraft paper on the back
Fully trimmed kraft paper on the back of the frame

Apply the Hanger

When finished, it should look something like this.

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

Measuring the back of a frame for the hangerMeasuring the back of a frame for the hanger
Measuring for the hanger
Hammering in the hanger on the back of the frame Hammering in the hanger on the back of the frame
Putting the hanger in

Align the hanger with the center mark and hammer the hanger into the wood frame. Find and mark the center of the back of the top part of the frame.

The hanger fully in the back of the frame The hanger fully in the back of the frame
The hanger after being fully applied 

The Final Touch

It should look like this when completed.

Adding bumpers to the back of a frame Adding bumpers to the back of a frame
Putting on bumpers

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!

February 17, 2014
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