DIY Moulding Picture Frames

Written by judy filarecki
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DIY Moulding Picture Frames
Picture frame moulding comes in all shapes, sizes and colours. (Colour Picture frame image by Dmitry Lisov from Fotolia.com)

Add a personal touch to framed pictures by making your own moulding picture frames. The options are endless and the cost variable. The least expensive option is buying wooden boards and cutting the moulding profile with a router, or combining two pieces of wood to form a new profile. The most expensive is buying preformed moulding. Doing it yourself does require some woodworking skills and special tools, but if you are making more than just a few, the cost of the tools is worth the freedom you get in designing and making the frames yourself.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Wood
  • Mitre saw
  • Router table
  • Router bits
  • Spring clamps
  • Stop blocks
  • Adjustable-strap corner clamps
  • Wood adhesive
  • Brads or finishing nails
  • Nail set

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the size of the picture you wish to frame. Add the measurements of one long and one short side and multiply by two.

  2. 2

    Measure the width of the moulding. Multiply the width by eight and add that amount to the sum from step one. This is the length of moulding you will need.

  3. 3

    Cut the moulding into four pieces on the mitre box with the blade set at 90 degrees. Cut two pieces that are the length of the picture plus two times the width of the moulding. Cut two pieces that are the picture width plus two times the moulding width.

  1. 1

    Established which side of the moulding will be the inner edge of the frame and which will be the outer edge. Establish which surface will be the underside of the frame and which will have the profile cut into it.

  2. 2

    Put a 1/4-inch rebating bit into the router and adjust the fence on the router table to make a 1/4-inch wide rebate. Adjust the router bit height so the rebate is 3/8-inch deep.

  3. 3

    Place the board on the router table with the inner edge against the fence and the underside facing down against the table. The board should be about 2 inches to the right of the router bit before turning on the power. Slowly push the board along the fence, keeping downward and inward pressure it as it passes through the router bit.

  4. 4

    Change the router bit to the profile bit you plan to use for the front of the moulding. Look in the Resource section for examples of different profiles. You can use several different bits to form one profile.

  5. 5

    Place the moulding face down on the router table with the edge that is the appropriate one for the profile against the fence. Run the board through the router as you did when cutting the rebate. High profiles require multiple passes starting with the bit only doing part of the cut and then gradually raising the bit until you have cut the full profile.

  1. 1

    Follow the previous steps for routing the rebate into the moulding. Some preformed mouldings already have a rebate in them so you may skip all of those steps.

  2. 2

    Combine two different preformed mouldings to make a finished profile, as an alternative. Stack the pieces to form the profile. Place the top one 1/4 inch back from the bottom one to form the rebate. That eliminates the need to use a router.

  3. 3

    Glue the mouldings together and clamp them in position. Allow them to dry 24 hours before proceeding.

  1. 1

    Put the outer edge of the moulding, with the profile facing up, against the fence of the mitre box . Turn the blade to the right 45-degrees. Cut the angle on the left end of the board. Do this for all four boards.

  2. 2

    Turn the blade to the left 45 degrees. Slide the board along the fence until the right end of the board is in position to be cut and make the cut. Repeat for the remaining three boards.

  3. 3

    Measure one board along the length of the outer edge starting at the left end and mark it 1/2 inch less than the original measurement for that side. Align the blade with the mark. Clamp a stop block to the fence at the left end of the board. Re-cut the 45-degree angle at the right end. Repeat for the board of similar length.

  4. 4

    Repeat step 3 for the two remaining boards.

  5. 5

    Dry fit the boards together using the adjustable-strap corner clamps. Make any minor adjustment. Apply wood adhesive to all four corners and clamp the frame together. Allow it to dry for 24 hours.

  6. 6

    Use brads or finishing nails to reinforce the corners. Recess any nails with a nail set.

Tips and warnings

  • Moulding for smaller frames is easier to work with if you do not cut them to length until all other steps are finished.
  • Feather boards mounted above and against the moulding when routing make the process easier and safer.
  • Opposite sides must be exactly the same length for the corners to be square.
  • Home-model planer/moulders are available for people planning on making a large number of moulding frames.
  • Follow all manufacture safety precautions when working with power tools.

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