Books Advises

How to Make Your Own Picture Frames
Ed Reinhardt, Hal Roger

Excellent book for the beginner. Clear and concise. Excellent step-by-step instructions with photos for each and every step.

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 picture
frames in wood

Manly Bannister


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

Clear instructions on matting, texturing, finishing....


Wood finishing...
Bob Flexner


I have bought a number of books on woodworking, as well as a few on wood finishing.

This is by far the best book on finishing that I have come across.

The book takes all the mystery out of all the different types of finishing materials and finishing processes...

How to make your mouldings and build your custom pictures frames !

If you are a handyman and if you wish to build yourself your picture frames, you can buy ready made mouldings and cut them to desired measurements.

But it is perfectly possible, starting from simple elements available to low-price in do-it-yourself stores, to make them without buying extra tools, just by joining several pieces of strip wood.

Here some examples of mouldings with particularly a low cost price. I buy all my woods at "Bricodépôt store" … but you have certainlt equivalent do-it-yourself stores near of your house. (see extracted from catalog).

With 2 rectangular cleats

Assemble by joining (see simple frame page) a strip of section 0.5"x2" and another of 0.5x1.5". You will obtain a pretty moulding to which you will be able to give a out-of-date completion:

making of moulding 1

What, painted in “Lindin” red, can give this…

framed Venice carnival


By shifting the lath of 30 of 5mm before joining, the form changes:

making of moulding 2

and once painted in gray and red…

picture frame with #2 moulding

With a rectangular cleat and a quarter-round round

Assemble a strip “quarter-round” with a rectangular lath 0.5"x2" or 0.5"x1.5"…

moulding #3

And, with a larger quarter-roung stuck with a shift of 0.3", a new moulding with rabbet :

making of moulding 4

With a lath and half-round strip

Two mouldings for a best effect with this lath 0.5"x2" associated with a half round of 0.7". For the first :

moulding #5

For the second, a shift of 0.5"mm which reduces the unit:

moulding #6

3 pieces combination

With the risk to appear a little “charged”, you can try this 3 lengths combination :

moulding #7

You can also try the combination : lath of 2", lath of 1.5" and quarter of round in end…


For all these mouldings, you can add a false-rabbet (see very simple frame page - improvements) in order to facilitate the fixing of the canvas in this frame (but it is not essential).


Very elegant one and easy to made with 3 laths...

Box frame with rabbet

This moulding has a rabbet... very handy.

Still two rectangular cleats.

Just like a recall of the pages Floaters frames 1 ,2 and 3 here the examples of frames obtained:

floater frame #1

floater frame #2

With “casing” or “framing moulding ”

In the page FlatFrame you already saw how to build a wooden frame with a strip 0.5"x2" and a casing of 1.5". This diagram is there just for memory:


making of moulding #7


To the assembly lath 0.5"x2" + casing one added a cleat 10x10 which serves as false rabbet:

moulding #7


You can see this completed and painted frame just below.

mouldings finishing

Start by sandpapering your mouldings once the adhesive is quite dry (4 or 5:00 for a fast woodworking glue, 24:00 for the others).

painted moulding achieved frame
(click for +)

Pass then a thin coat of acrylic paint and, afterdrying, stop the holes and possible defects of wood with a plaster coating before painting.

Give again a fine sandpapering now, you do not have to see any defect more.

If you do not wish to age your framework, give him two coats of the paint of your choice. It is finished!

If you wish to give an aged aspect to your frame , pass a coat of dark red paint on all your frame.

Let dry then pass now two coats of white broken paint (ivory, clear shell, vanilla…) or straightforwardly gray clearly.

painted moulding achieved frame
(click for +)

With a very fine sandpaper, sand these two last coats to reveal, by places, subjacent red painting…

A little black waxing to create stains in the grooves… nothing like it to give almost 100 years to this moulding coldly made!