How to make a box picture frame

Updated March 23, 2017

A box picture frame creates a three-dimensional housing for photos or items on display. Box picture frames can be expensive if bought custom-made or purchased in a shop -- so a homemade box picture frame is a less expensive alternative. The frame can be personalised and decorated to suit the picture or speciality items.

Place the picture for the frame on top of the cardboard. Trace the outline of the picture with a pencil. Apply glue within the rectangle drawn and place the picture on top. Cut out the picture using scissors.

Measure the height, width and depth of the picture or collage that will be framed in the box frame.

Mark two pieces with a pencil using the height and depth measurements on the 6 mm (1/4 inch) plywood. Cut them out using a saw. These are the side pieces of the frame.

Trace the top piece and the bottom piece. These two pieces should measure the width and the depth of the picture being framed, plus an extra 1.2 cm (1/2 inch). This extra 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) will provide 6 mm (1/2 inch) on each side, where the side pieces can be connected.

Cut out all four pieces using the saw. Sand all the edges smooth. Paint or stain each piece if desired. Paint additional decorations such as flowers, vines or patterns. Let all the pieces dry for a couple of hours. If several coats of paint or stain have been added for a bolder look, let them dry overnight.

Place the top piece on its side and place one side piece on its side, perpendicular to the top. Place it so the top of the frame overlaps the side. Hammer two nails into the top, so both nails connect to the side.

Attach the other side piece to the top piece as well by placing it on its side and lining it up under the edge of the top piece. Hammer two nails into the top piece, so they connect to the side piece, in the same manner as the previous step.

Slide the picture and glass plate, if applicable, into the frame from the bottom. The frame should now look complete, but without the bottom attached. It may be a tight squeeze, so make sure not to rip the picture.

Attach the bottom piece once the picture has been placed in the frame. Lay the frame down and line up the bottom piece to the frame, by placing the piece on its side. Line it up so it covers both ends of both side pieces. Use nails to connect the bottom piece to the side pieces by hammering nails from the bottom piece upward into the ends of the two side pieces. The box frame is now complete.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood, 6 mm (1/4 inch)
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Stain or paint
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Glass cover (pre-cut, same measurements as the picture), if applicable
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About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.