Footage are among the most private decorations you possibly can have in your house. They symbolize recollections, hopes, and even only a glimpse into your passions. One solution to improve the deep connection you have got with the photographs you show is to construct the body your self.  

DIY image frames are a easy, simple challenge that any newbie can tackle. They’re additionally a superb academic endeavor, as they type the muse of many initiatives, just like the wall-mounted laundry drying rack I made a couple of months in the past. You can also make one thing easy, like the fundamental body I describe beneath, or check out some artistic upgrades. Possibly you wish to add splines, make the frames out of fancy moulding, and even discover learn how to do inlays for visible distinction.

I made a decision to go the fundamental route as a result of I wanted frames for my children’ 5-by-7-inch college footage in my workplace, and I didn’t wish to distract from their good-looking little faces. I additionally didn’t wish to spend a ton of cash, so I made as a lot of the body as I may from supplies I had kicking round. I scavenged the wooden from the rails of an outdated mattress, and the backer is cardboard from one of many many Amazon bins we obtain every week. And the most effective half is that nobody will ever know they’re produced from scraps. It’s wonderful what a pleasant coat of paint will conceal.

Warning: DIY initiatives might be harmful, even for probably the most skilled makers. Earlier than continuing with this or some other challenge on our website, guarantee you have got all needed security gear and know learn how to use it correctly. At minimal, that will embrace security glasses, a facemask, and/or ear safety. For those who’re utilizing energy instruments, you need to know learn how to use them safely and accurately. If you don’t, or are in any other case uncomfortable with something described right here, don’t try this challenge.


  • Time: 2 to three hours
  • Materials price: $5 to $50
  • Problem: Simple


construct DIY image frames

1. Clear up your reclaimed wooden as wanted. When working with recycled or reclaimed wooden, whether or not it’s from pallets, outdated furnishings, or a random board you discovered buried in your shed, you’ll want to scrub it up earlier than it touches instruments. A store vac and scrub brush may help take away filth and particles from the floor. Then take out any {hardware} like hinges, screws, and nails. Think about using a nail-finding magnet in the event you commonly work with reclaimed wooden—you don’t wish to uncover a missed nail together with your desk noticed. If the boards are particularly tough, you too can sand them down with 80-grit sandpaper.

2. Mill your wooden to tough dimensions. Milling wooden is a important talent in woodworking, and PopSci has a complete information on learn how to do it. Primarily, milling entails flattening all sides of the board with a jointer and planer so the faces and edges type proper angles. For those who don’t begin with flat wooden, your nook joints received’t be as robust, and your body would possibly cling crooked on the wall. Relying on what sort of wooden you’re utilizing, you might not should do a lot milling. My recycled mattress rails had been already flat and sq., so I didn’t mill or joint them. I simply lower them right down to tough size on my miter noticed and to precise width on my desk noticed. 

[Related: Tune up your table saw the right way]

On the finish of your milling course of, you need to have two 9-inch-long boards and two 7-inch ones, all ⅝- to ¾-inch broad.

3. Reduce the mitered ends on every board. Since this challenge is a body for a 5-by-7 image, with ¼-inch rabbet joints on all sides, the quick aspect of every miter must be 4.5 inches on the smaller boards and 6.5 inches on the longer ones. The size of the longer aspect of every miter will rely on precisely how broad your boards are.

There are a number of methods to chop miter joints, together with, as you might have guessed, on a miter noticed. Nevertheless, I want to make use of a desk noticed on smaller boards like this. It feels safer and extra correct. You should use the miter gauge that got here together with your desk noticed to make this lower, or you possibly can construct a mitering sled.  

  • Professional tip: Nevertheless you resolve to chop the items, use cease blocks to set the lengths somewhat than measuring every lower individually, in the event you can. Cease blocks assure that the paired items are precisely the identical measurement, which is important to getting well-fitting miters.
make DIY image frames
Utilizing a cease block like this may guarantee constant cuts. Jean Levasseur

4. Reduce the rabbets. A rabbet is a small channel lower alongside the sting of a chunk of wooden. On this case, the rabbets are the place the glass and movie sit within the body with out falling by means of the entrance. You’ll want so as to add these channels to the again of every board alongside the within edge, so all of them face inward when assembled.

Like many woodworking duties, there are a number of strategies for reducing rabbets. My most popular methodology for slender rabbets like these is on the desk noticed, utilizing a single blade as an alternative of a dado stack. Making two passes with a single blade is quicker than altering over my noticed to take the dado. 

Lay a board down flat subsequent to the blade, and set its peak to about half the thickness of the wooden. In my case, this was about ⅜-inch tall. Then set your fence so the blade will lower the within portion of the rabbet. Make your lower on all 4 body items.

As soon as all 4 are lower, transfer your fence to the appropriate an eighth of an inch, then lower once more, eradicating extra wooden and widening the rabbet. For those who nonetheless have to, hold shifting the fence over till you’ve eliminated all the materials for the rabbet. 

  • Warning: Despite the fact that the blade received’t stick out the highest of the wooden, nonetheless use a push stick or push block. You by no means know when a board would possibly break, bounce, or sit back, leaving your fingers behind to fall on the blade.  

5. Glue the frames collectively. The best solution to glue up miters is with specialised clamps. I used nook clamps for this challenge, that are designed for 90-degree glue-ups. You can even use a strap clamp, which goes to be my subsequent store improve. However don’t have any worry in the event you don’t have specialised clamps for corners but—painter’s tape works in a pinch.  

A extra detailed clarification of learn how to use painter’s tape this fashion is accessible in an article I wrote about constructing a small marriage ceremony card field. The gist, nonetheless, is that you just begin by laying all 4 items of the body down flat, finish to finish, with the outer factors of the miters touching. Then join them with a 2- to 3-inch piece of painter’s tape, pulling the tape as tight as you possibly can. This can create a protracted prepare of body items. Flip the entire unit onto its again, so the tape is down and the valleys of the miters are going through up. Unfold a skinny layer of glue into these valleys, then fold the miters collectively. The final nook received’t be safe, so stretch a chunk of tape over it to carry it in place, then modify the whole lot as wanted to verify it’s flat and sq.. 

6. Reduce the acrylic to measurement. Slicing acrylic is as simple as reducing a skinny sheet of plywood on the desk noticed. You don’t want a particular blade or something. Measurement the acrylic to suit contained in the rabbet throughout the body. I lower mine a couple of sixteenth of an inch small so it slips out and in simply.  

There are a couple of ideas that may make this step a bit simpler:

  • Depart the protecting plastic on the acrylic whereas reducing. This can hold it from getting scratched by any mud or particles in your noticed. 
  • Be certain that the acrylic can’t slide beneath the fence. If there’s a massive sufficient hole beneath the fence, clamp a flat, well-milled board to it, with one edge flush to the tabletop.
  • Frivolously sand the sides of the acrylic once you’re accomplished. The friction of the noticed blade melts the plastic, so that you could be left with uneven edges. These burrs come off no drawback with 120-grit paper.

7. Sand the image frames clean. As a result of picture frames aren’t a high-contact merchandise, and I used to be planning to color them anyway, I didn’t do a lot sanding for this challenge. I solely did a single move with my orbital sander utilizing 120-grit paper. This cleaned up any glue squeeze-out and small imperfections on the corners, whereas getting ready the wooden properly for paint.

[Related: The surprising woodworking tools you already have around the house]

8. Apply end. What sort of end you employ is a matter of non-public style. I made a decision to color my body black, for 2 causes. First, I had some leftover black paint, so I didn’t have to purchase something new for this challenge. Second, the reclaimed wooden I used didn’t look tremendous good. It didn’t have any attention-grabbing grain, there have been a couple of imperfections, and among the outdated stain was nonetheless seen. Paint’s a simple solution to cowl up less-than-stellar wooden, so I paint recycled wooden initiatives quite a bit.

9. Reduce your body backer. There are every kind of merchandise you should use for this, however within the spirit of recycling, I used a chunk of cardboard that I lower to measurement, utilizing the acrylic as a template. It doesn’t actually matter what you employ, as a result of nobody ever appears to be like behind an image body.  

10. Set up hanging {hardware}. That is one other determination that comes down to non-public choice. I like to make use of sawtooth hangers as a result of they’re fairly forgiving of a little bit imprecision within the hanging course of. Image body wire is one other simple methodology. No matter you employ, nonetheless, pre-drill the holes for any screws. You don’t need the body to crack after you’re this far into the method.

11. Put all of it collectively. Place the acrylic first, then the image, then the backer piece. The ultimate step is to safe that backer in order that the whole lot doesn’t fall out once you choose it up. There’s truly a specialised device for this known as a degree driver, and also you would possibly wish to choose one up in the event you plan on making a whole lot of image frames. If, like me, you’re one of many many woodworkers who don’t have one, simply use a staple gun.  

12. Dangle the body, stand again, and admire. The way you cling the image relies upon a bit on the {hardware} you select. As a result of I used a single sawtooth hanger, I used to be in a position to simply hammer a single nail into the wall, with a couple of quarter-inch protruding, and hung the body from that. 

Now, when company touch upon what a beautiful image you have got in your wall, you possibly can say, “Sure, however do you know I made the body?” And bask within the ensuing compliments.