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DIY Picture Framing

Priya Johnson Sep 29, 2018
People who love artwork often have to compromise with standard frames available in the market. However, by making your own picture frames, you can have customized frames according to your choice and preference.
Picture frames enhance the beauty of photographs, sketches, and various other kinds of artwork. However, getting a customized frame made by a professional can prove to be quite expensive. By making one's own frames, one can save a lot of money.
Frames can be made from different materials such as wood, metal, cardboard, etc. Besides material and artwork, there are several tools that are required for framing.
DIY picture framing not only saves money, but also gives people the satisfaction of framing their own artwork in the way they desire. Let's take a look at how it's done.

Required Materials

The materials required for carrying out the framing at home are:
  • Photograph or sketch that needs to be framed.
  • Piece of a chip board
  • Piece of a matt board
  • Acid-free paper
  • Acid-free glue
  • Piece of glass (lexan, plexiglass, or lucite)
  • Glazer's Points
  • 4 pieces of molding, strait boards or picture frame boards
  • Stain or paint for finish
  • Hardware in order to hang the frame later
  • Wood filler to fill the gaps

  • 4-5 joint fasteners

  • Wood glue to help reinforce the joints

Tools Required

In order to convert the materials mentioned here to an elegant picture frame, certain tools are required.
  • Clean and flat workspace, which is larger than the size of the frame to be made. Using the floor as workspace is a good option, if the frame is too large for a table or workbench.
  • Angled mat cutter
  • Sharp box knife
  • Straightedge
  • Hammer
  • Corner clamp
  • Sandpaper

  • Pencil

  • Table saw or router to create a rabbit

  • Glass cutter

  • Hand saw and Mitre box

  • Tape measure

Instructions to Make the Frame

Mounting and Mat Board Preparation

The mounting board must be strong and stiff to support the picture, because the picture is mounted on it (bottom layer of frame). The mounting board must be measured (according to the size of the picture) and marked using the pencil.
Using the straightedge, cut the mounting board with the box cutter, along the marked lines. The mat board must be handled carefully, so that no stain or smudge is created. The method of cutting a mat board is the same as that of a mounting board.

Picture Mounting

The acid-free paper must be cut in such a way that it covers the mounting board. Using acid-free glue, glue the acid-free paper to the mounting board. Make sure, ample amounts of acid paper is left over to make mounting corners and strips. The glue needs to be dried completely before mounting the picture.

Mounting Corner and Strip Formation

To make mounting corners, cut 4 strips of acid-free paper and fold in half lengthwise. Next, unfold it. Fold the left edge, so that the top edge lies along the center crease. Do the same with the right side and turn it over. Once the mounting corner is ready, prepare the three other mounting corners.
For the mounting strips, cut out some strips of the acid-free paper and glue them to the rear of the picture using the glue. This is to stabilize the picture. Using glue, stick the mounting corners onto the mounting board (outside corners). The picture must be positioned in the corners correctly and place the picture neatly.

Matt Center Cutting

Place the mat board on scrap chipboard surface to protect the flooring. Take measurements accurately, make markings, and place the straightedge on the markings made. Plunge the knife into the mounting board and cut along the straightedge.
Cut off the peaking mounting corners after matting, however, make sure the picture is removed before trimming the corners. The mounting strips must be glued to the mounting board.

Mitre the Boards

Mitre is nothing but a 90 degree joint formed by the union of two boards cut at 45 degree angles. The board must be oriented in such a manner, that it is perpendicular to you. A mark from the bottom left corner to the top of the board at an angle of 45 degree must be made.
Then, using a mitre saw, cut the corner along the previously made mark. Sandpaper can be used to clean the edges. The board must be cut in such a way, that when assembled later, the glass, mounted picture, etc., fit perfectly. Assemble the frame using fasteners or wood glue.

Staining of the Frame

Once the frame assembling is done, the mitre corners can be checked for gaps. Wood fillers can be used to fill the gaps. After drying, sand the frame and apply two coats of glossy black enamel, or any other preferable finish.

Final Mounting of the Picture

For final mounting, the frame is to be kept back side up, into which the clean, dry glass is dropped. The mat board follows the glass, which is followed by the mounted picture board.
Ensure that the latter two boards are placed in upside down position, that is the side to face the floor. Using glazing points, keep the entire structure intact. Using a screw driver, the points can be firmly pushed into the wood.
Irrespective of the technique used, the measurement taken must be accurate. Making picture frames can be quite convenient when the skill has been mastered. One can present picture frames as birthday gifts to near and dear ones.