At a yard sale recently I picked up this vintage plastic sign. A fan of yellow and red together, I thought it could brighten my basement study. Plus remind me and the Mints to look out for loons.
Ana White has a post called “Build a Barnwood Frame – $1 and 10 Minutes” that had caught my eye. I was excited about it because while I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making a frame, I don’t have a router, which every other frame plan seems to call for. Though I was pretty sure it would cost me more than a buck and ten minutes, it seemed perfect for this. As usual, the plans were helpful and easy though it took me more than 10 minutes. For details, be sure to check the Ana White website.
I’d already splashed out a $1.50 for the picture, so I was happy to find scrap 1×2 pieces in the lumber pile that would work for this. No pieces were long enough to frame the whole picture so I’d need to trim it to keep it cheap. I also already had leftover paint, nails and staples.
Once I figured out how much lumber I had — and how big the frame could be, it was time to start doing the miter cuts. I’m prone to errors so that meant measure thrice and do the big pieces first. The biggest pieces will be the outer frame so account for that in cutting.
Next I laid out the pieces against the picture to make sure they’d fit.
Next it was time to whip out that brad nailer and wood glue. Once the corners were clampled together, it was time to pop in the brads. Either my skills are getting better or I was lucky because this time, I only had to extract a couple of misfired nails!
Wood filler was next, to smooth out all those awkward gaps. My frame was going to be painted so I felt free to enthusiastically ladle it on.
Once it was dry, I sanded it well so it would be smooth for painting. It’s important to do this step now because once it’s joined to the outer frame, it’s hard to get to the very edges.
Now it was time to build the outer frame. This baby lines up perpendicular to the inner frame so it was a similar process, with the wood flipped onto its sides instead of laying it flat. Again, the Ana White plans have the details on getting it done.
Before cutting, it’s important to measure a couple of times and size it against the inner frame as you go. The two frames fitted together will look like the pic below. Remember that the outer frame is going to be about 1.5″ bigger than the inside frame.
When you join them, the inner frame needs to be a little inset — perhaps a fourth or half inch — so there’s a little lip. You don’t want it set too far in — for example, flush to the back — because you need room to mount the picture inside. Remember, there’s no router in this project so the outside/inside frame approach is how you get the inset you’d normally create with a router.
Note: my project didn’t call for glass inside the frame but you could use this approach to do it.
Gotta love paint. Keeps the rustic look and hides all the ugly. Once painted, I sprayed the frame with some Varathane. It wouldn’t change the rustic look too much and would make it a lot easier to dust . . .
I taped the top of the picture in and then just stapled it to the inner frame. I put dishcloth covered blocks under the inner frame before stapling — didn’t want the pressure of the staple gun to dislodge the inner frame (the dishcloths were for padding so it wouldn’t mark the painted frame).
Once that looked good, I FINALLY cut the bottom of the plastic picture off and stapled that in too.
And now here it is in situ.
What about you? Have you tried making a frame before? Successes? Failures? Other ideas or plans for a router-free frame? Next I’m going to try this one with a fabric picture . . .