DIY Picture Frame: Step-by-Step Guide

Are you tired of spending money on expensive frames for your favorite photos? Or maybe you just can’t find the perfect frame to match your decor. Whatever the reason, learning how to make a picture frame is a valuable skill that can save you money and allow you to create custom frames tailored to your specific needs.

But where do you start? The thought of measuring, cutting, and assembling wood may seem daunting, but with the right tools and guidance, it’s easier than you think. This step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know to create your own beautiful picture frames. From choosing the right wood to painting or staining your finished frame, you’ll have all the knowledge and skills you need to get started. So roll up your sleeves and let’s get crafting!


If you’re looking for a unique way to display your favorite photographs or artwork, making your own picture frame can be a rewarding DIY project. Creating a custom frame not only adds a personal touch to your home decor but also allows you to showcase your creativity and craftsmanship.

With just a few simple tools and materials, anyone can learn how to make a picture frame. Whether you’re an experienced woodworker or new to the world of crafts, this project is a great way to hone your skills and create something beautiful.

When it comes to photo framing, the possibilities are endless. From classic wooden frames to more modern designs made from metal or acrylic, there’s a frame style to suit every taste and decor. Plus, by making your own frame, you can choose the perfect size, shape, and color to complement your photos or artwork.

So why not try your hand at picture frame making? With a little patience, attention to detail, and creativity, you can craft a one-of-a-kind frame that will add a personalized touch to any room in your home.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need

Tools and Materials You’ll Need

Before you start building your picture frame, you’ll need to gather some essential tools and materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  1. Measuring tape: This is an essential tool for any DIY project. Use it to measure the length and width of the photo or artwork that you want to frame. Make sure you measure twice to ensure accuracy.

  2. Miter saw: A miter saw will allow you to make precise cuts at a variety of angles. This is important when cutting the wood for your picture frame.

  3. Wood glue: Wood glue is necessary to hold the corners of your frame together. Make sure to choose a high-quality wood glue that dries clear and has a strong bond.

  4. Clamps: Clamps are necessary to hold the corners of your frame together while the glue dries. Make sure to choose clamps that are long enough to span the entire length of your frame.

When selecting your tools and materials, consider investing in high-quality products that will last longer and deliver better results. For example, a good quality miter saw will provide you with clean cuts and save you time in the long run.

It’s also important to have a clean and organized workspace before starting your project. Make sure to remove any clutter from your work area so that you have enough space to work comfortably. By having the right tools and materials on hand and keeping your workspace tidy, you’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful picture frame.

Choosing the Right Wood for Your Frame

When it comes to making a picture frame, choosing the right wood is crucial to ensuring that your finished product looks beautiful and lasts for years to come. There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting wood for your frame, including the type of wood and its grain.

First, you’ll need to choose a frame moulding that suits your needs. This can be made from a variety of materials, including metal and plastic, but we’ll focus on wooden frames here. Hardwood and softwood are two common options, each with their own pros and cons.

Hardwood, such as walnut, oak, or cherry, is a popular choice for picture frames due to its durability and natural beauty. It has a tight grain that resists warping and twisting, which makes it ideal for larger frames. Because hardwoods are denser than softwoods, they also tend to be more expensive.

On the other hand, softwood, such as pine, spruce, or cedar, is a lighter and less expensive option. Softwood has a looser grain pattern than hardwood, which can make it easier to work with. However, it may not be as durable over time and is more prone to warping or twisting.

Another factor to consider when selecting wood for your frame is the grain pattern. The grain refers to the pattern of lines and markings that appear on the surface of the wood. Some types of wood have a straight grain, while others have a more pronounced and decorative grain pattern.

For example, oak has a distinctive grain pattern that looks great in rustic or traditional settings, while maple has a more subtle grain that works well in modern or minimalist spaces. Be sure to choose a wood grain that complements the style and decor of the room where your picture frame will be displayed.

In summary, choosing the right wood for your frame involves considering factors such as the type of wood and its grain pattern. By selecting high-quality materials that suit your needs, you can create a picture frame that is both beautiful and durable.

Measuring and Cutting Your Frame

Measuring and Cutting Your Frame

When it comes to creating your own picture frame, accurate measurements and precise cuts are essential for a professional-looking final product. Here are some tips to help you get it right.

Cutting Angles

Picture frames require angled cuts at the corners to create the miters that will fit together seamlessly. The most common angle for a picture frame is 45 degrees, although some frames may require different angles depending on the design. Make sure your miter saw is set to the correct angle before making any cuts.


Measuring and cutting with precision is key to ensuring a perfect fit for your picture frame. Use a measuring tape to measure the length of each side of your frame, then mark the measurement on the wood with a pencil. Double-check your measurements before making any cuts to avoid mistakes and wasted materials.


After making your cuts, you may need to do some trimming to smooth out any rough edges or uneven areas. Use sandpaper or a sanding block to gently remove any excess wood, being careful not to over-sand and change the shape of your frame.


Cutting and sanding wood can produce a lot of sawdust, which can be messy and difficult to clean up. To minimize sawdust, use a dust collection system if you have one, or place a tarp or drop cloth under your work area to catch the debris. Wear a dust mask to protect your lungs from inhaling sawdust particles.

By following these tips for measuring and cutting your frame, you’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful and professional-looking picture frame.

Assembling Your Frame

Assembling Your Frame

Once you have your cut frame pieces ready, it’s time to assemble them. This is the part where you’ll need to take extra care to ensure that your picture frame comes together perfectly.


Apply a small amount of wood glue to one end of your frame piece and press it against the adjoining piece at a 45-degree angle. Repeat this process with the other two pieces until you have a complete frame. Use a clean cloth or your finger to remove any excess glue that may have seeped out. Ensure that you apply enough glue to create a strong bond between the pieces.


Use clamps to hold the glued pieces in place while they dry. When using clamps, be sure to apply even pressure across the entire joint. This will ensure that the pieces are held together firmly without any gaps or misalignments. Leave the clamps on for the recommended drying time specified by the manufacturer’s instructions.

Drying Time

Drying time can vary depending on the type of glue used and environmental factors such as humidity and temperature. It’s important to give the glue enough time to dry completely before moving on to the next step. Rushing this process can result in a weaker bond and a less sturdy frame.


After the glue has dried, remove the clamps and sand any rough edges or excess glue with sandpaper. Start with a coarse grit and work your way up to a finer grit for a smooth finish. Be careful not to sand too hard and accidentally sand away any of the corners or edges of your frame.

With these steps completed, your picture frame is now fully assembled and ready for the finishing touches such as painting or staining. Take your time during the assembly process to ensure a solid and professional-looking frame that will stand the test of time.

Painting or Staining Your Frame

One of the final steps in creating a beautiful picture frame is painting or staining it. This step will not only protect your frame from scratches and dings, but it will also add color and character to your finished product. In this section, we’ll cover everything you need to know about painting or staining your frame.


Before you start painting or staining, it’s important to apply a primer. Primer acts as a sealant, helping to prevent the wood from absorbing too much paint or stain. It also provides an even surface for the paint or stain to adhere to. Apply the primer evenly using a paintbrush, and allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Paint or Stain

When it comes to choosing between paint or stain, it ultimately depends on your personal preference and the look you’re going for. Paint can provide a solid, opaque finish whereas stain allows the natural beauty of the wood grain to show through. If you choose to paint your frame, use a paintbrush to apply the paint in thin, even coats. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying another. If you choose to stain your frame, apply the stain with a cloth or brush, making sure to follow the direction of the wood grain. Allow the stain to soak in for a few minutes before wiping away any excess with a clean cloth.


To protect your newly painted or stained frame, it’s important to apply a varnish. Varnish acts as a protective layer, shielding your frame from moisture and other environmental factors that may cause damage. Apply the varnish using a clean brush, making sure to keep your strokes even and consistent. Allow the varnish to dry completely before handling your frame.

In conclusion, painting or staining your picture frame is a crucial step in achieving a professional-looking finish. By following these simple steps and using quality materials like primer, paintbrushes, stain, and varnish, you can create a beautiful frame that will last for years to come.
In conclusion, making your own picture frame can be a fun and rewarding project that allows you to showcase your creativity and personal style. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this post, you can create a beautiful and unique frame that perfectly complements your favorite photos or artwork. Remember to choose the right wood for your frame, measure and cut with precision, use clamps and glue for a strong hold, sand and paint or stain for a polished finish. With these tips, you can take pride in creating a one-of-a-kind piece that adds a touch of personality to your home decor. So what are you waiting for? Grab your tools and start framing!

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