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How to Make a Picture Frame

Posted by 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 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 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 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.

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.

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 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!

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 ,, , , ,