Turn a Window into a Picture Frame

What You'll Need
Old window sash
Sandpaper of various grits
Putty knife
Painters caulk
Caulking gun
Masking tape
Matte cutter
Mounting bracket
Finish nails

As an interesting way to make a picture frame, consider using a sash from an old window. Old single pane windows are comprised of two sashes that overlap in the middle. A sash is a pane of glass surrounded on all four sides by a wooden frame. One sash is fixed in place while the other slides along a track to open and close. They come in virtually all sizes, so given the right size matte and photograph or picture you can find a used window sash that can serve as its picture frame. Not only does the sash provide you with a unique type of frame, but you recycling something that might otherwise end up in the landfill.

Step 1: Clean Up the Sash

The first thing to do is clean up the old sash so it is usable as a picture frame. With the pliers, remove any tacks, stapes or nails that are visible or able to snag clothing or skin. Go over the entire wooden frame of the sash with heavy grit sandpaper to sand away splinters and other loose pieces of wood. Follow this with finer grit sandpaper until the entire wood portion of the sash is smooth to the touch.

Step 2: Fill in Any Gaps

With the putty knife, apply carpenter’s putty over any area on the wooden frame that has chipped away and any small cracks or gaps. The exception to this is the tracks. If there are large uniform tracks on either side of the sash, you can opt to leave it rustic looking, or you can cap the ends with fine pieces of trim. After any putty has been applied, go over the areas with fine sandpaper to remove any rough spots.

Step 3: Paint the Wood

After you have capped any unwanted gaps, it’s time to paint the frame. Pick your color first and prepare the molding immediately adjacent to the glass first. Apply straight strips of masking tape on the edge no more than a millimeter from the wood. Make sure they are very straight. Do this for all four sides. With painter’s caulk, run a small bead between the wood and the edge of the masking tape and smooth it with your finger. Now you can easily paint the wood trim without getting any on the glass and making a perfectly straight line. Don’t paint the whole frame just yet. After the trim is cut in, pull the tape off carefully out from the trim. Wipe off any paint that has run onto the glass and paint the rest of the wood.

Step 4: Prepare the Matte and Image

With the matte cutter, cut a piece of backing matte to the exact size of the back inside of the frame. The matte will fit in the back with the image and perhaps another piece of matter atop it. Decide if you want the image pressed directly against the backside of the glass or if you would rather have set back a bit. Measure and cut accordingly.

Step 5: Mounting Bracket and Tabs

With a hammer, lightly tap in four finish nails, one on each of the four back sides. Place the matted image where it will rest and use the pliers to bend the finish nails so they secure the matte. Lastly, attach the mounting bracket with the hardware provided.

Now that the makeshift picture frame is complete, it is ready to hang wherever you’d like. Rather than a store-bought frame, you have recycled something and made a unique and interesting picture frame.