How to Make a Picture Frame

Posted by John on February 28th, 2013

As promised in Wednesday’s Reclaimed Wood Frame post, I’m going to go into more detail on how I made the wooden frame.  This process is really applicable to any wood and not just reclaimed wood, although there is typically a little more upfront effort required for reclaimed lumber.  Reclaimed wood may need to be planed down more to clean up the appearance and give it a polished look.  You can leave it as-is though for a more rustic look like we did in our frame project.

Here’s how to make a picture frame…

First, I ripped the large board I bought into smaller 3.5″ wide pieces on the table saw.  If you’re building a picture frame from lumber bought at a local hardware store, you can skip this step and just buy a piece of wood that’s already as wide as the frame you want.

ripped boardWith the wood cut to the proper width, I can now add a rabbet to one edge of the board.  The rabbet is a small cut that allows the picture, glass (if you’re using it) and the mat to fit into the frame.  To make this cut, you can either use a dado blade setup on a table saw or a router with a rabbet bit.  I used a router.

rabbet router bitHere’s what the rabbet looks like in the wood:

gorilla glue on wood jointsYou can see that little piece missing in the photo above, that’s the rabbet.  The rabbet side needs to be facing the inside of the frame when it’s assembled.

With the rabbet machined, the frame pieces can be sized for length and cut at the miter saw.  There are two basic ways to approach this.  You can either make the frame to a regular common size and find something to fit into it OR if you already have something you want framed, you can size the woodwork to accommodate your artwork or photo.  Since we already had a piece of art we wanted framed, we based our dimensions on that.

To get the dimensions of the cuts right, there are a few helpful tricks that pay dividends.  The first is to take a couple pieces of scrap wood, machine the rabbet into them and then cut them at 45 degree angles just like you did for your frame wood.  We’re going to use these to mark the 1/4″ thick piece of plywood that is our backer board.  We discussed the backer board in the last post.

wood frame tipsI mate the two corner scrap pieces together onto the back board and make sure the backer board is firmly recessed into the rabbet.  I’m not gluing or nailing these, I’m just positioning them there temporarily.  Next, I take a pencil and trace the inner edge of those scrap pieces onto the backer board.

making wooden framesI repeat that step in all four corners.  Once they’re all marked, I measure the distance between the marks and that dimension is the length of the inner edge of our frame.  That’s the length that I’ll cut the frame wood to.  Now, remember, when you’re cutting a piece of wood at an angle, there is a long side and a short side.  This dimension is for the short side.

To make a quality frame, it’s crucial to make sure all four corners have tight seams when it’s assembled.  To get tight seams, you need to make sure that the frame boards on opposite sides are cut to the same lengths.  There’s an easy way to do that.  Just clamp them together when you cut them.

making picture framesYou only need to clamp the boards that are opposite each other because they need to be the same length.  By clamping and chopping them together, you pretty much guarantee that.

To assemble the frame, I used a polyurethane glue (Gorilla Glue).  You can’t use a regular wood glue for this and expect a solid joint.  Wood glue isn’t ideal for end grain application like a miter joint.  I also used a couple finish nails in each corner to hold it together until the glue cures along with a couple clamps.

clamping wood picture frameAfter the glue sets up, you can sand the frame down if you want to stain or paint it.  That’s all there is to it.  If you get the hang of it, you can put one together in a couple hours.

reclaimed wood map on wall

Fun stuff.  Anyone doing anything exciting this weekend?

Posted in Carpentry,Crafts,Home Decor. Tagged in ,, ,

Pinterest Challenge: Reclaimed Wood Frame

Posted by John on February 26th, 2013

Hey everybody!  Thanks for stopping by our Pinterest Challenge post!  We’re very excited to be sharing with you a project that was a lot of fun for Lisa and I to work on together.  If you haven’t been following along lately, we’ve been making built-ins for our sitting room and have been pinning some cool ideas to dress up the room once it’s done.  One of those pins I thought would make a great DIY project is a reclaimed wood frame.

Here’s the original pin:

map in wood frame
(via Better Homes and Gardens)

 Here’s our version:

reclaimed wood frame with map

Not too shabby.  Since this project involves an arts and crafts portion and carpentry work, we’re breaking the “How-to” into two posts.  In a day or two, we’ll show how to do the woodwork in a follow on post.  Today, we’ll discuss the map and the general overview.

So the original pin had two beautiful, blue maps, one of the world and the other of the US.  Since this project was sort of under the gun, we didn’t really spend a ton of time searching for maps online.  We discussed using a map of Paris, where we honeymooned, as our first choice and luckily, I was able to score one for around $8 from Barnes and Nobles.  Bigger bookstores have a decent map selection, but the challenge is finding one small enough, since most are enormous.  A small Jersey map would’ve been fun too.

Lisa had the idea to mod podge the Paris map to a poster board to keep it stiff.  We picked up the poster board for $.50 from the Dollar Store.

mod podge on map

mod podge paris map

With the mod podge applied liberally on both sides of the map and one side of the poster board, we slapped the map onto the board.  We used a credit card to smooth out the folds and force out the mod podge.  The poster board was then cut to size using regular scissors.

To further support the map in the frame, we cut out a thin piece of plywood 1/4″ thick.  The map and poster board will get squeezed into the frame with this thin plywood.

map on plywood

The reclaimed wood was bought from Manayunk Timber in Philadelphia and I only paid around $15 for a 6′ long board.  The species is yellow pine and the board I bought was originally part of a barn that was built in the 1860’s.  When the barn builders cut down the tree in 1860, it’s likely the tree was somewhere between 200-400 years old at the time.  That means this board may well be from the 15th century!

reclaimed wood

The board was cut down to size on my table saw and I added a rabbet to one edge so the plywood backing and map would sit inside the frame.  Then it was just a matter of making some miter cuts, gluing and nailing the frame together.  I didn’t sand, or poly it.  It’s “as is”.  I’ll go into greater detail on how exactly I made the frame in our next post.

gorilla glue on wood joints

To make the frame hang-able, I added an alligator clip on the back and used one of those gorilla hooks to place it on the wall.  For the meantime, the frame is on the same wall where our built-ins will soon be located.  We’ll probably move the frame to the couch wall sometime soon.

reclaimed wood frame with map

What I really like about this frame is the character of the wood.  Every square inch of this frame is interesting.

reclaimed wood (2)

knot in reclaimed wood

Overall, this project cost us about $23 since we already had the mod podge and tools to do the job.  Not bad.  We didn’t permanently attach the map to the frame either, so we may end up swapping that out at some point if it clashes with our room decor.

Looking forward to checking out everyone’s projects!

Posted in Carpentry,Crafts,DIY Projects,Home Decor. Tagged in ,, ,

Thanksgiving, Revisited

Posted by Lisa on November 14th, 2012

Hey hey! Can you believe Turkey Day is a week away? I feel like Halloween was just last week! Wait a sec, if you live in New Jersey, then Halloween may have been celebrated last week. Time is really flying by. Good ole Saint Nicholas will here before we all know it (or have time to shop and decorate!). I am thinking about decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. I usually wait a week or two after, but I am thinking about changing it this year – do any of you decorate early?

With the big day fast approaching, many shopping trips to the grocery store have already occurred and at least one more is needed for next week to pick up my fresh grocery items needed for my recipes.

We aren’t hosting Thanksgiving this year, but we do plan on making our own Thanksgiving meal Friday for extra leftovers and to refuel from Black Friday shopping. Here is our traditional Thanksgiving menu (all from scratch):
– Turkey, oven roasted
– Dressing/Stuffing, cooked outside of the bird
– Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows
– Mashed potatoes
– Cranberry sauce
– Green bean casserole
– Dinner rolls
– Pumpkin pie

My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner are the sides, we could definitely skip the turkey, but then John couldn’t make Turkey BLT sandwiches!

Here are some pics of Thanksgivings past for your enjoyment.

2009, in our old home:

My first cooked turkey!

The tablescape.

I loved those DIY tea light pumpkins. All I did was carve the tops of by Jack-be-little pumpkins to fit a tea light, and voila – a beautiful candle holder!

2010, John and Lisa plus one at my parents’ house:

2011, in the new house:

Pumpkin candle, take two.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?? Are you hosting it this year or are you going to a friend or relative’s house?

Posted in Cooking,Crafts,Fall,Holiday,Home Decor. Tagged in ,, ,

DIY Fall Wreath

Posted by Lisa on September 17th, 2012

Hi kids!  We hope you had a great weekend – we sure did.  We kept the projects minimal and got to spend some great family time together.  I am not sure about you guys, but the weather here has been beautiful!  Fall is definitely in the air and we are so happy about it!

One of the projects I was able to was able to wrap up this weekend was a DIY Fall wreath for the inside of our front entry door.  If you remember, we recently painted the inside of our front door black, and I couldn’t wait to decorate it for Fall.

This is my first attempt at making a wreath from scratch.  I was able to get all the supplies from local fabric and hobby stores.

I started with a basic hay wreath.hay-wreath-1024x682


I decided to wrap the hay wreath with this awesome burlap wired ribbon.  Since it is wired, it was relatively easy to wrap around the wreath and keep it in place.



I glued the last bit of ribbon to the back of the wreath with hot glue.



I also purchased an orange and burgundy berry garland to add to the wreath.  I carefully untwisted each strand so at the end, I have about ten single berry strands.

I kept the main strand that the smaller berry strands were attached to so I could use it to adhere each strand to the wreath.  Catch my drift? This way I wouldn’t have to hot glue anything else, and I could always remove the berries to add something different.wire-on-wreath-1024x682


After the wreath was completed, I used orange wired ribbon to hang the wreath on the door.  I added a fancy silver command hook to the very top of the door (let’s hope it actually removes cleanly from the door – I wouldn’t want to have touch ups), and hung the wreath from there.

Here it is with the black door.



It’s tough taking a photo of anything against that door!!  I think it’s time to read a how-to book on our SLR.

Are you adding any wreaths to your home this Fall? 

Posted in Crafts,Home Decor. Tagged in ,, , ,

Chalkboard Labels

Posted by Lisa on July 23rd, 2012

Hope everyone had a great weekend! We sure did – we did some home projects, spent some much needed family time together, and enjoyed the not-too-hot weather!

I wanted to share a tiny project I did.  While my mom and I were shopping for back to school sales at Staples, she stumbled across these amazing chalkboard labels from Martha Stewart!Chalkboard-Labels


Don’t they look amazing? We just couldn’t resist. Martha Stewart has an awesome line of office supplies at Staples.  If you haven’t checked them out I suggest you do – that is if you like to organize and label everything.  Her stuff looks great.





I love these canisters hanging out on the counter… but I love my clutter-less counters more, so back to the pantry the canisters went.

So, do you like? How was your weekend??

Posted in Crafts,Home Decor,Kitchen. Tagged in ,, , , ,

Repaint Framed Artwork

Posted by Lisa on June 19th, 2012

Hey friends!

Over the weekend I did a little project that has been on my mind for over two years! When I knew we were moving I tried by hardest NOT to buy a lot of decorating items before we moved because I didn’t want extra boxes to move from one house to the other.

One purchase I did make was this bathroom framed artwork from HomeGoods. If you have ever shopped at HomeGoods, or Marshalls, or TJMaxx, then you know if you see something you like you have to purchase it then because it won’t be there next week!

The photo makes the accent colors look more blue than in real life. I have a lot of jade accented throughout the house and this artwork matches great.

I haven’t done much with the powder room where this is hanging. We still have white walls but I did buy matching handtowels. This frame is hanging over the toilet. You all know what a toilet looks like, so I opted to crop it out.

So onto how I painted this guy…

I removed the picture from the wall and noticed that there was brown paper covering the back. I was planning on taping the framed picture as is and painting it, but John convinced me to take the frame apart. I used a box cutter to remove the paper and a flathead screwdriver to remove the staples. (Bonus: made in the USA! woohoo)

I cut a trashbag to cover my table where I was painting and used some tiles to keep the frame elevated while I painted.

The two cans you see in the picture? They are the remaining primer and paint from when my mom repainted furniture for our living room – thanks, Mom!

I put on three coats of the primer (not knowing it was the primer) and one coat of paint. I could tell we had used the primer as paint when John used the real paint as touch-up and it was much glossier than the rest of the frame.

After the paint was completely dried, I used white caulk to seal up the back.

I let that dry overnight, and hung up the frame in the morning.

I am really so happy that I finally got around to painting this frame! I can’t wait to paint the wall so the picture really stands out.

What do you think? Do you ever buy something knowing your going to change it up?

Posted in Crafts,Home Decor. Tagged in ,, , ,

Birthday Pennant Banner

Posted by Lisa on February 9th, 2012

This is the banner was hanging in our morning room for the party.  It’s still there (I’m going to try to see how long I can keep it up).

All the crafts and goodies for the party were a lot of fun and I thought I would start off with the most time consuming project – a birthday pennant banner.  Making banners is not new to me – check out one I made for Halloween

A lot of blogs have how-to’s for banners.  So I perused the web to check them out.  I had bought the paper for the banner way back in early December, since I knew I had to make one.  The paper I purchased was from Michael’s and was on sale for 25 cents per sheet (usually it sells for a dollar!).

I printed this template at 50% size (my banner was 26 letters long including spaces) on 110lb card stock I had leftover from my invite.  Then I just traced two pennant templates per sheet of paper.

After the first two, I smartened up and figured out that I should be tracing on the back of the paper and lined the pennants up so each would be sharing one cut.


Twenty-six pennants later, I began printing the letters.  I used Word to spell out “Happy Birthday” in size 300 font in hot pink.  I printed the document on 8.5″x11″ full sheet labels I purchased from Amazon. I am obsessed with this paper! It’s awesome 🙂

Then I cut out each letter by hand (ouch!) and used an exacto knife to cut the small parts. I removed the backing and placed the letters on the banner.

Now, I am sure there was an easier way to do this – say, purchasing sticky letters – but I never found any I liked and I figured I bought the label paper for some reason.

Then I took a standard hole puncher and punched two holes at the top of each pennant. Next I threaded my ribbon through.  After a lot of tweaking .. the banner was up!

The whole process didn’t take TOO long, and I was super proud to display a banner I made all by myself!  Hopefully John likes it too, because it’s staying up until his birthday… in July.

Next up… our cake pops.  Any Birthday plans coming up for anyone soon?  And what’s everyone doing for Valentine’s Day?  We’re staying in and cooking!




Posted in Crafts. Tagged in ,, ,

We’re Versatile Bloggers

Posted by Lisa on November 3rd, 2011

Whenever I watch those swanky awards show (AND the pre and post shows) I always imagine what I would say if I ever won an award. Well, here is my thank-you attempt in being awarded “The Versatile Blogger” Award.

— I want to thank God, my agent, Gabbi @ Retro Ranch Reno, my fans, my family, (insert random peoples names), the key boy grip, so and so who gave me my first gig, whats-her-face who always believed in me … — cue commercial break music theme …

Of course, I would *mistakenly* forget to thank my husband, John, so all the tabloids would run stories about us for weeks later as a publicity stunt.
SEE I wasn’t joking when I said I always *imagined* what I would say. 🙂

First, thank you to Gabbi @ Retro Ranch Reno. Thanks for picking us!

Second, seven things about us me

1.  My family is who I am.  I love family time and I love spending time with my family. Being a mom is great and I love my baby girl and fur-baby Finnie very much.
2.  I thoroughly enjoy pajamas.  Not the matching PJ’s ya get for Christmas, but the black stretchy yoga pants and sweatshirt type.
3.  I am super organized and am ALWAYS re-organizing everything all the time or have plans in the works to redo something.
4.  I love to bake and cook. Baking is a major hobby of mine. It’s something I share with my mom too, so there is always something yummy in the house to eat.
5.  My favorite TV show is 30 Rock. I rarely watch TV, but I do make time for 30 Rock. And by make time I mean I watch episodes instantly on Netflix.  I am currently stuck in Season Four.
6.  I’ve always wanted to goto Italy and I hope to make it there sometime in the next few years.  I’m 100% Italian and this would be a blast!
7.  I can’t get enough Party Rock Anthem from LMFAO.  And I can definitely shuffle like nobody’s business!!

Third, pass the award on to three other bloggers:
1.  Amy and Tex @ Buffalo-Roam
2.  Maureen and Louis @ This (Kinda) Old House
3.  Megan and Andrew @ Fresh Nest Blog

Posted in Cooking,Crafts. Tagged in ,

Little Pumpkin Baby Shower

Posted by Lisa on October 12th, 2011

Last Fall my Mom (and Dad) threw me (and John) and our little one to be a beautiful baby shower. The theme was “Lisa and John’s Little Pumpkin.” I was thrilled! We did not find out the gender, so everything was neutral. The pumpkin idea was great (…and you know how much I love pumpkins!).

We had a lunch at a historical hotel followed by dessert and gifts.

The invitation was from Simply Cre8tive – it turned out great!

My Mom set up a clothes line with pictures of John and I growing up with an adorable onesie for the little one.

Two prize baskets …. filled with fall themed godies.

Table decor – of course it was pumpkin and fall themed!

Yummy dessert trays!

.. and the amazing cake!

I requested to make the favor. My mom said it should be something fall themed. I made pumpkin cake pops for everyone to enjoy.

.. and just for fun we snapped a few shots of the two of us. All pictures courtesy of Elissa Tuerk Photography.

It was a beautiful fall day for the shower and everything was amazing. My parents were so generous to throw us such a wonderful shower. I love them both so much!

The best part of the entire day was that my mom asked everyone for donations for a local charity that helps women who are pregnant with necessities such as baby wash, diapers, and wipes. Everyone was so generous with their donations we had much to donate to the charity. I am truly blessed with such a wonderful family.

Thank you Mom and Dad for your generosity and love this special day and every day!

Posted in Baby Stuff,Cooking,Crafts,Fall. Tagged in ,

DIY Pumpkin Banner

Posted by Lisa on September 29th, 2011

The Fall love continues! I bought these pumpkin cut outs at the dollar store way back in August when the Fall decor was just being rolled out.


I didn’t have any clue what I was going to do with them, but I figured I would think of something. I was going through my Fall decor tote to see what items I didn’t put out yet when I came across my baggie full of fall colored ribbons and vase fillers.  I figured I would make a fall banner with the pumpkin cut outs and ribbon.

The cut outs came in four colors.  I am not crazy about the green pumpkin so I tried out my banner idea with the green ones before I used the others.

Here’s the ribbon I used. I bought a couple spools of this one last year to tie ribbons around candlesticks and candles.


I used a hole punch to punch out two holes to run the ribbon through.


I tried threading the ribbon two ways.
First through the back.


And then through the front (my favorite).


Here’s the pattern I decided on too.


I used a total of nine pumpkins (three of each color).  I put three pumpkins together then made the hole punches. I took one pumpkin with holes and used it as a guide when punching the remaining holes so all the pumpkins would look even.

I wove the ribbon through the pumpkins.


Then the banner was all ready to be hung up!

Here it is!





Well, there you have it, a pretty simple pumpkin banner and I think it looks great!

Posted in Crafts,Fall,Home Decor. Tagged in ,,

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