How to Make Handmade Photo Frames


The right frame can transform a picture from a bland piece of decor to a stunning focal point. Whether you are interested in a bright colorful frame painted to match the room or a more subdued frame with a wood finish, you can easily create a custom piece to meet your needs. Making a handmade photo frame also allows you the flexibility to frame a photo of any size, with no care as to standard sizing options.

Step 1

Measure the finished, matted photo that you will be framing. Determine the desired width of the finished frame pieces. Note these measurements.

Step 2

Add the desired frame width to each of the photo measurements to determine the length and width of the frame pieces. Add 3 inches to these measurements to allow for adjustments.

Step 3

Select pieces of poplar or black ash and cut to the above measurements. A thickness of about 3/4 inch is a standard place to begin, although you can make the frame thicker, as desired.

Step 4

Sketch the desired profile face for your frame. The profile face is the side of the frame which faces outward and, typically, has several varying depths to it. Select the accompanying profile bits to create this shape.

Step 5

Attach a profile bit to a hand-held router. Pass each piece of wood over the router bit to create the molded face profile of each piece.

Step 6

Cut both ends of each piece at a 45-degree angle with a laser-guided miter saw. Begin by cutting the adjoining ends of two pieces. Fit these together, and measure carefully to determine the point at which to cut the opposite ends of each piece to achieve the desired width and length for the frame, as noted in Step 1.

Step 7

Apply wood glue to the joints of the frame and secure with miter clamps for 24 hours.

Step 8

Drill a pilot hole into each corner. Use a 3/4-inch finishing nail to secure the joints together.

Step 9

Cover the nails with wood putty and sand to create a smooth finish.

Step 10

Apply a primer to the frame if you intend to paint it, or use a wood finish if you prefer a more natural look. Use a small paintbrush for an even finish. Allow this coat to dry overnight.

Step 11

Apply two to three coats of paint to the frame for a painted finish. If you have applied a wood finish, seal with a water-based finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Profile bits
  • Hand-held router
  • Laser-guided miter saw
  • Wood glue
  • Miter clamps
  • Drill
  • 3/4-inch finishing nails
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer and paint or wood finish and water-based sealer
  • Small paintbrush


  • Knotty Plans
  • Bob Vila

Who Can Help

  • Art History: Picture Matting
Keywords: photo frames, making frames, woodworking

About this Author

Mandi Rogier is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about a wide range of topics. As a previous employee of Walt Disney World, she enjoys writing travel articles that make use of her extensive knowledge of Orlando theme parks.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Make Handmade Photo Frames