Books Advises

How to Make Your Own
Picture Frames

Ed Reinhardt, Hal Roger

This book covers all aspects of frame construction, painting, mats, glass-cutting and usage. A great book to trigger your own ideas to create custom frames.


Making pictures
frames in wood

Manly Bannister


Create all kinds of picture frames from simple wood mouldings to elaborate carved types.

Frame It!
by Tonia Davenport


Framing isn't something one has to leave to the professional.

With Frame It! readers will learn how to use ready-made frames and inexpensive framing materials to create frames perfect for their favorite photo, piece of artwork, canvases or souvenir.

Framing canvases : how to build an Canvas floater frame #2

DIY a canvas float frame #2

Modele terminéThis second model differs a little from floater frame #1 : the principle of making is the same, only the moulding shape changes.


Wood strips : I chose here wood strips of dimension 2"x0.5" (also called ??? lumber in do-it-yourself stores... if you read these lines, please help me to put the right word here) and 1"x0.5" strip.

Once more, these dimensions are not critical and you can adapt them according to the strips dimensions you will find in your do-it-yourself stores.

You will also need a miter box or best a frameworker saw, some good wood glue… All that was specified in the material for wood frames page.

The painting you have to frame :

It is a small oil painting (1) of dimensions 7.5"x10" painted out on a fiberboard.

children playing ball

Assembly of the wood strips

One strip is perpendicularly stuck on the other. Paste the edge of the first strip and stick it on the other to 0.5" of the edge (see diagram if the explanations are not clear).


To join firmly during glue drying, use small screw clamps or some small nails incompletely inserted. You will tear off these nails after drying.

Repeat the operation with other strips to have a sufficient* length of moulding to frame your artwork. Do not use too much adhesive. It should not overflow on each side of joining !

* Remember : The good total length is given by the result of the perimeter of your canvas and 10 times the width of your molding you add… Here I calculate 55". {2*(7,5+10)+ 10*2}

You must obtain a moulding having a shape as on the diagram.

profile moulding for floater frame

When the glue is dry, sand with a fine sandpaper to eliminate the possible defects and smooth the surfaces before painting. Scrape the traces of adhesive if necessary.

Cutting out the moldings

Start to cut out the first side of your framework with a frameworker saw. Cut out initially an end with 45° angle. The small edge of each element constituting the frame will have 1" less than the corresponding dimension of the artwork.

For example, if your painting measures 7.5"x10", then the small edges will respectively measure 6.5" for two shorter and 9" for the two others.

Thus, your canvas could be posed on the frame base, by recovering it of 0.5" in all directions.

Set up the stop of your pictureframer saw (if you have one) and regulate it with the good length. Cut the second end with 45° angle.

If you don't work with the stop, you will use this first side of the frame like a gauge to trace and cut the second side.

While thus acting, you will have two elements of molding with exactly the same length.

Continue in the same way to obtain the two other sides of the frame..


Assembly of the floater frame

When all the 4 sides were output, apply glue to the mitered ends and assemble the frame on a well flat surface.

You can then put heavy presses or objects to maintain the frame. Better : Clamp the frame bars together using a picture frame clamp, miter clamp or similar device. If you have screw clamps, use them ! See floater frame #1. Put the two screw clamps places from there without tightening them, then, while alternating, tighten in then other. Check that the angles are quite jointed and do not shift.

Allow the glue to dry from 30mn to 24H according the glue you use... Don't be anxious… Modern wodd glues are very strong and once dried, it will maintain fiemly your assembly.

If you do not have confidence in the glue, you will be able to consolidate your frame with some stapples on the back with a mural stapler but it is not essential.


see other mouldings models



Sanding and painting

When the glue is dry, sandpaper slightly to clean off possible defects of wood. Mask the defects and holes with wood filler. Sand again to obtain a smooth surface.

The color of the paint that you will have chosen must, in the colors used in the art-work (not necessary the dominant color). It must be also matched with the colors of the room where the frame will be placed. If you hesitate, a white slightly shaded or a shiny black color is appropriate most of the time.

I prefer semi-glossed acrylic paintings, very covering, which have the advantage of drying quickly and of not spreading solvent odors.

Pass one or two coats of paint with a very light sandpapering between the coats.


Fix the art in its frame...

Your art-work is slightly larger than the interior opening of the framework: if you frame a canvas on wood structure, present it by front and fix it by the back with small screws which cross at the same time the structure and the frame.

If the painting (as that presented Ci below) is made on a bardboard (isorel or plywood), you can maintain it inside the frame with small bands of double coated adhesive tape on all its periphery.

See also the page “Fixing in the frame” for complementary explanations.


children on the beach framed