How to Build Floating Picture Frames

Written by drea christopher
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How to Build Floating Picture Frames
Build your own floating picture frames. (NA/ Images)

When you want to keep the focus on your artwork, don't detract from the piece with a colourful photo mat or an ornate picture frame. Design floating picture frames that seem to suspend your photograph behind a piece of glass. Create a version without a traditional wood or metal frame surrounding the glass or one that does feature a narrow frame bordering the floating image. The eye-catching, clear picture frames can also press and display objects such as dried leaves, flowers and memorabilia such as postcards, wedding invitations and love notes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Ruler
  • Custom-cut glass
  • Swiss clips
  • Plate stand or nails
  • Wood or metal picture frame
  • Screwdriver
  • Industrial adhesive

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    Assemble a Glass-Only Frame

  1. 1

    Measure the size of your photo or artwork with a ruler. Choose a size for your floater frame that's at least 2 inches wider and taller than the artwork to give the frame the most visually appealing result.

  2. 2

    Get two pieces of glass cut at a home improvement warehouse store to the dimensions you've chosen for the floating picture frame.

  3. 3

    Place one piece of glass on your work table. Position the photograph or piece of artwork in the desired spot on the glass. Place the second piece of glass on top of the first.

  4. 4

    Snap eight Swiss clips onto the frame to hold the two pieces of glass together. Affix two of the metal clips on each side of the floating frame -- position each clip at least 1 inch in from the nearest corner.

  5. 5

    Prop the frame against another object, display it on a plate stand or affix it to the wall by hanging it on nails using the openings in the two Swiss clips across the top of the frame.

    Make a Floating Frame with a Wood Border

  1. 1

    Remove the particle-board backing from an existing wood or metal frame by using a screwdriver to lift the metal tabs on the frame that were holding it down. Ensure the frame is at least 2 inches taller and wider than your artwork.

  2. 2

    Take the glass out of the frame and measure it with a ruler. Have an identically sized piece of glass cut at a home improvement warehouse store.

  3. 3

    Rest the wood or metal frame face down on your work table. Place one piece of glass inside the frame. Position your artwork face down in the desired spot on the glass.

  4. 4

    Situate the second piece of glass inside the frame and carefully use a screwdriver to push the metal tabs along the frame back down to secure both pieces of glass. The tabs are short and won't be visible behind the frame.

  5. 5

    Create a stand if you want to display the frame without propping it against another item. Use a screwdriver to remove the stand from the frame's original particle board backing. Attach the stand to the back piece of glass with an industrial craft adhesive, concealing it behind the artwork.

Tips and warnings

  • If you can't find Swiss clips to create the glass-only frame, use regular metal bulldog clips sold at office supply stores to hold the pieces of glass together instead. Place one large clip on each side of the frame.

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