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Easy wooden picture or photo frame

Use PAR pine and pine moulding to make a wooden picture or photo frame that can be stained or painted to match your existing decor. I made this frame 300 x 300mm in size, but you can make a smaller frame and get two frames out of a single length of PAR pine to cut down on the cost.

 

I was shopping around for decent photo frames - something that wasn't cheap and nasty or fake wood - but the only ones I found were priced anywhere from R100 upwards for a simple pine frame. Time to pop into my local Builders, buy some PAR pine and moulding and make my own wooden picture frame.

4 of 69 x 300mm pine - frame

2 lengths of pine moulding (one should have a lip to support the centre glass)

Ponal wood glue

Wood filler

4 plastic glass clips and 16mm screws

Rags

Woodoc gel stain - antique wax

Woodoc 5

TOOLS:

Drill / Driver plus assorted bits

Biscuit joiner and #0 biscuits - we used a Tork Craft biscuit joiner*

Mitre box and backsaw - *you can also use this instead of a biscuit joiner

Sander plus 80 / 120-grit and 240-grit sanding pads

Paintbrush

Tape measure and pencil

Optional: Tork Craft clamp frame | quick clamps | hammer and panel pins

 

1. I made this frame 300 x 300mm, but you can make a smaller frame and possibly get two frames out of a single length of 69mm PAR pine. You will find tips on cutting mitre joints here.

GOOD TO KNOW:
While I used a Tork Craft biscuit joiner to cut the slots to assemble the frames, you can substitute using dowels, pocketholes, or adding steel braces to the back.

2. Use the biscuit joiner to cut slots for #0 biscuits at each end. 

3. Fill the slots with Ponal wood glue. It's best to use this glue as the runny consistency is easily absorbed by the biscuits to create a strong joint. 

4. If you don't want to wait for glue to dry overnight you might want to invest in a strap clamp. I have a Tork Craft strap clamp that allows for clamping frames - no waiting for glue to dry while I continue to work! 

 

5. With the strap clamp in place it's safe to carry on working. Even perfect mitre joints need a small bit of wood filler now and again... nobody's perfect. 

6. Once the glue is dry you can remove the strap clamp to apply a small amount of wood filler to any gaps at the corners. 

7. Sand the front and back of the frames with 80- or 120-grit sanding pads to remove any uneven edges and then with 240-grit for a smooth finish on the front and edges. 

8. Use a mitre box or mitre saw to cut the moulding to fit on the inside of the frame. To determine the length of the moulding you need to ascertain the total width of the moulding you are using. For the inside of the frame I used a moulding with a 5mm lip, which makes it a bit trickier to work out the cutting length. 

9. Before you glue the moulding in place, do a test fit to make sure the pieces fit snug and tight. Apply wood glue to the moulding and fit to the inside of the frame. 

GOOD TO KNOW
Have a damp rag handy to immediately wipe away any excess glue. Any glue left behind will spoil the stain finish.

10. The outer moulding is much easier to measure and cut. Simply measure from the corners and cut mitres. However, moulding is not always perfectly straight and you will encounter pieces that simply will not lay flat. In this instance you will need to clamp the pieces until the glue dries.

GOOD TO KNOW
Pieces that are badly warped might need a little persuasion and you can hammer in a couple of panel pins to make sure the moulding sits flush on the frame. I use a larger nail as a punch to make sure the panel pins are not visible. Touch up with a bit of wood filler.

11. Use wood filler and sandpaper to touch up any areas on the frame and moulding. Sand smooth and wipe clean.

12. The frame was stained with Woodoc gel stain in antique oak. Apply with a sponge and make sure to get into all the corners and crevices.

 

13. To finish the frame I applied two coats of Woodoc 5 polywax. This dries to a matt finish, so if you prefer a gloss finish use Woodoc 20.

Making the photo frame support

I wanted to make a picture and / or photo frame. To use as a picture frame you will simply mount a picture hanger at the top on the back of the frame. If you want to make a photo frame that needs to stand on its own, there needs to be a support at the back of the frame.

My original idea was to use my Dremel MultiTool with routing attachment to cut out a groove at the back of the frame to simply slot in a support. This would allow the slot to be easily removed if you want to mount the frame onto the wall.

As the support I used a piece of 3mm masonite / hardboard cut at a 10-degree angle at the bottom and 45-degrees on the outer edge (side) to allow the frame to slant backwards at a slight angle. However, the support didn't sit firmly in the slot. Back to the drawing board. 

As an alternative you can use small brass hinges to secure the support to the back of the frame. Screw the brackets to the back of the frame and use epoxy glue to attach the bracket to the support, since screws would be too long unless you can find 3mm long screws!

However, I didn't have any small brackets lying around, so I made do with a couple of corner brackets to hold the support in place. Obviously, if you plan to mount the frame onto the wall later on the support will need to be removed.

The glass was fitted, the photo inserted and a piece of cardboard added as a filler. To hold everything in place glass clips were screwed to the sides of the frame. You'll find different types of plastic glass clips at your local Builders, I used one that has a small raised pin at the end that holds the contents inside the frame .

 

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