How to make wood photo frames

Written by jessica furgerson
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How to make wood photo frames
Make your own wooden photo frame. (picture frame corner image by Jim Mills from

From valuable art to priceless family photos, the way you frame these pieces can make all the difference. Having your pieces custom framed can be pricey and if your art is an unusual size, it may be impossible to find a frame that works. While it may seem like a daunting task, making custom wooden frames for your art or photos is achievable. With supplies from the local hardware store, in just a short time, even the most inexperienced carpenter can create a beautiful photo frame.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Picture moulding
  • Pencil
  • Table saw
  • Mitre box
  • Wood glue
  • Corner clamps
  • Power drill
  • 2 cm (3/4 inch) finishing nails
  • Nail set
  • Wood putty
  • Small paint brush
  • Primer
  • Paint or stain

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  1. 1

    Measure the size of the piece you want to frame. Measure both the art or photo and any matting to determine the size frame you need to make .

  2. 2

    Measure the picture moulding based on the dimensions of your art or photo. Mark the dimensions on the back side of the picture moulding to avoid damaging the front. Number the sections one to four, representing the four sides of your frame. Using your table saw and mitre box, cut the picture moulding on a 45-degree angle. The angle should extend past the line you sketched on the back side with the 45-degree angle pointing to the left on the left-hand side of the picture moulding and towards the right on the right-hand side.

  3. 3

    Place a dollop of wood glue at each of the joints. Line up the two sections of picture moulding and press the joint together. Secure the two lengths of the frame inside the corner clamp. Wipe away any excess glue. Let the frame dry for 24 hours before proceeding.

  4. 4

    Drill a pilot hole in each corner of the photo frame using your power drill -- leave the corner clamps in place. Drive one 2 cm (3/4 inch) finishing nail into each pilot hole leaving the head exposed to avoid damaging the wood. Use your nail set to gently push the nail head into the frame.

  5. 5

    Apply a small amount of wood putty to each of the nail holes with your finger. Allow the putty to fully dry. Apply the primer to your photo frame. Make sure to cover the entirety of the frame with primer. Allow the primer to dry for 24 hours before moving on. Rinse paint brush completely. Use your small paint brush to apply your desired paint or stain finish. Allow to fully dry.

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