How to Make a Wood Framed Picture Frame

Lead Image
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-20
What You'll Need
Wood pieces for the frame
Measuring tape
Hand saw
Miter box
Wood glue
V nails
Hanging clips
Finish and paint (optional)

Whether you're frustrated as you try to search for the perfect sized wood framed picture frame, or if you're simply interested in making your own unique design, it's often easier to build a frame yourself than to turn to one that you can buy. Wood frames are surprisingly easy and inexpensive to make, and they require very little in the way of carpentry experience. This can make for a fun and useful do-it-yourself activity that will take you only an hour or two.

Step 1 - Measure Out Your Frame

Some of the most popular options for a wood frame are cedar and birch, both of which are attractive and strong. Once you've decided on the type and style of wood that you'll use for your frame, it's time to measure it out. Be sure that you measure out the area around the mat of the picture, not the photograph or the picture itself. This will give you an accurate idea of how large the frame needs to be.

Step 2 - Cut the Frame Pieces

Use your handsaw to cut out four pieces for the frame. They should each be the full distance across the mat, plus two times the width of the pieces themselves. Therefore, if your mat is 8 inches across and the width of the frame piece is 2 inches, you should cut a 12-inch piece. Make sure that you cut two pieces for the top and bottom dimensions and two pieces for each of the sides.

Step 3 - Miter the Corners

Using the miter box, line up your frame edges so that you can cut out a 45-degree angle at the end of each frame piece with the handsaw. The two 45-degree cuts should be able to fit together to make a 90-degree angle, just covering the edge of the mat. Sand down the corners.

Step 4 - Glue the Frame

Making sure that each of the frame pieces is facing the proper direction, glue the 45-degree angle mitered corners to each other, completing the shape of the frame. Allow the frame plenty of time to dry. Leaving it overnight is typically sufficient.

Step 5 - Secure the Corners

Using a hammer, attach the bent, v-shaped support nails to each of the corners of the frame. This will give your frame the support that it requires in order to stay steady throughout the hanging process. Finally, attach the hanging material or apparatus as is appropriate. Picture wire and sawtooth hangers are two popular options, and can both be attached to the top of the backside of the mat.

When you go to hang your picture frame, be sure that you've carefully mounted it over the picture or image that you're interested in framing. Check the framing mechanism to be sure that it's secure before you attempt to hang the frame, as it might cause the frame to drop otherwise.