How to make a wood picture frame

Updated February 21, 2017

Tired of looking for the right-size frame for your favorite picture? Don't fret. Try making your own! This is also a good project for the novice woodworker. Here are a few steps to create the a wooden picture frame.

Determine the desired picture frame dimensions. Remember to use the mat, not the picture, as a guide to determine the finished dimensions.

Choose picture frame moulding, builder's moulding or lumber for your frame. Picture frame moulding can be obtained at framing stores, art stores and larger craft shops. Builder's moulding and lumber can be found at your local home improvement store.

Measure the width of your chosen framing material and multiply this number by 8. Add to this measurement the length of each side of your desired frame. Divide the total inches by 12 (most wood material is sold by the foot). Purchase this amount of framing material plus a few inches extra in case of a cutting error.

Use a handsaw to cut the moulding into four pieces, one for each side of the frame. Each piece should measure the desired length of the side plus twice the width of the wood. This extra amount is for the mitered corners.

Use a mitre box and a handsaw to cut the end of each piece to a 45-degree angle. The mitre box allows the piece of wood to be held firmly and will guide the saw so that it cuts at the correct angle.

Lay the cut frame pieces out onto a flat work surface and arrange them so that they form a frame.

Use wood glue and corner clamps to join the corner sections of the frame. Apply the wood glue along the cut edges, press the pieces together, and hold the pieces in place with a corner clamp. Glue and clamp all four corners.

Turn the frame over so that the back is facing up.

Apply two V nails along each glued corner seam with a hammer. Pace one nail toward the inside edge of the frame and the other toward the outer edge. The midpoint of the nail should rest on the seam and the open portion of the V should be pointed toward the inside edge of the frame.

Remove the clamps and allow the frame to dry overnight. Do any sanding or staining of the frame after the drying process is complete.

Attach the hanging mechanism to the frame.


Use picture frame moulding. It comes with the groove for glass insertion already made. With the other choices ' builder's moulding and ordinary limber ' you will have to make this groove yourself with a router. Make sure that raw lumber pieces are planed, if necessary, before you join them. Practice using the mitre box before you tackle the frame pieces. Make sure that the 45-degree angles are oriented correctly at the ends of the wood pieces. Fill in any gaps at the mitered corners with wood putty.

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