How to make a wooden frame: A DIY guide

If you’re on the hunt for a budget-friendly way to make a wooden picture frame, there are ways to do it as a DIY project. While we always recommend using professional services – like ours – if you want to give it a shot, we’ve put together a simple guide on getting started.

The best part about this method is that you can use it as a blueprint to create frames of all sizes. If you need a custom or specific size for a certain object, we highly encourage you to get in touch with our team, as we have over 20+ years in this line of work.

Supplies you’ll need to make a DIY frame

  • Approximately 1x2x8 board per frame – pine board is particularly easy to work with. If you don’t like sanding, purchase some that come pre-sanded.
  • A cardboard mat
  • A compressor
  • Plexiglass for the front
  • 2-inch nails
  • A foam brush for applying stain
  • A hot glue gun, stapler or double-sided tap
  • A saw that can cut straight.

Step-by step

Step 1 – Measure the wood for your frame

Measure out how big you want your wooden frame to be, and then make 90-degree cuts into each piece, along the line that you’ve marked down. Use your original piece as a template so that all sides are the same.

If you don’t have a saw, take your measurements to a hardware store and they should be able to cut them for free or a small fee.

Step 2 – Apply stain

You can do this step either before or afterwards. Simply apply your choice of stain (diluting it if you need to) and leave it to dry.

Step 3- Piece it together

As a rule of thumb, glue the wooden photo frame where each side meets on the end pieces. If you don’t have wood glue, any glue should work just as well.

Wipe off any excess. This is particularly important if you’re staining the design after putting the frame together. Now fit the plexiglass  buy it cut to size) into your piece.

Finally, use your nail gun to make sure everything is kept in place.

Step 4- Mount a poster to your frame

The easiest way to mount to do this is through using double-sided tape. Just roll it across the border of the frame and adhere your poster or picture to it. If you don’t have double-sided tape, glue dots can also do the job here.

If the board seems like it needs more stability, mount your poster to a foam base using another adhesive, but this is not usually necessary.

Finally, if there’s a bit of excess poster over the edge of the picture frame, use a Stanley knife to trim it off.

Step 5- Put it to the test

Hand your DIY frame by using picture hooks, removable command strips or just by popping them on a shelf. Take a step back and look at the piece you’ve created – is it stable enough; does it need more adhesive? How is the stain?

You’re done!

Is it cheaper to make your own frames?

While it’s not necessarily cheaper to make a DIY frame, there is the added bonus of fun and a sense of reward after you’ve completed the project. Sometimes it’s nice just to enjoy something you made all on your own.

However, if you need some trial and error beforehand, or you end up making a mistake, costs can significantly climb.

Is there a way to paint a frame?

If your want to add a splash of colour, spray paint is a great way to add vibrancy without too much mess. Simply lay your frame on a piece of cardboard (preferably outside). Make sure you’ve set it all up on a solid surface.

Next, apply the first coat by spraying approximately 8 inches from the frame. Leave it to dry for an hour then add another coat. Leave it to dry for at least three hours before hanging.

Why we recommend professional picture framing services

Professionals in this field are skilled in preserving a wide variety of materials. The process actually takes a lot of insight and attention to detail, ensuring no damage comes to your valuables.

Beyond this, we know what kind of frame is best for certain documents of memorabilia, eliminating the risk that the final result won’t suit aesthetics or actually fit the piece at all.

While DIY is fun and worth giving a shot at, sometimes these tasks should be left to the experts, especially if you’re looking to preserve something like a university degree, certificate or incredibly sentimental photograph. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but we’re always here to help if you feel you’re not up to the task.

Working with a professional framer is about more than just convenience, too – it’s an opportunity to learn more about caring for your pieces. At the beginning of the process, we’ll discuss with you how you should go about preserving your work and suggest any alternatives if we feel they’re important.

Meanwhile, we’ll help you care for the final piece for the long-term, showcasing your art or documents for the long term.


Looking for an inexpensive alternative to this DIY method? Get in touch with The Picture Factory today to experience more than two decades of craftsmanship in the field. We’ll preserve your important documents, memorabilia or photographs so that they last the ages – no matter the size.

If you’re not sure where to start, simply get in touch with our team and we will provide you with helpful guidance and advice on the best option for your needs.