DIY Frames for Pictures and Displays
How many times have you walked through a craft store and wanted to buy some of the creative and colorful painted frames but had to keep walking when you saw the price tag? Fortunately, making your own customized DIY frames is easily within your reach if you have the proper tools and a little bit of knowhow. And the best part is that because the main expense with these is your own time, you can cut frames and paint patterns to your heart’s content without overworking your wallet!
Here’s everything you’ll need and details on how I created my own chevron patterned framed wall art:
- ¼” Plywood for crafts cut to the appropriate dimensions
- Pieces of decorative trim moulding (enough for all 4 sides of your frame)
- Tape Measure and Pencil
- Miter Saw with Laser Line
- Quilter’s Ruler (optional)
- Frog Tape (or other type of painter’s tape)
- Small craft paintbrushes
- Craft paints
- Brad Nailer with 5/8″ brads
Start by asking the store associate to cut you a piece of ¼” crafting plywood into the appropriate dimensions (mine was 24″ x 24″).
Measure trim for all four sides of the frame. Since the frame will be attached flush to the plywood, make sure your outer edges line up with the outer edges of the board.
Set your miter to a 45 degree angle for the first corner and line up your laser with your marked cut point on the trim so that there’s an extra 1/8″ to the right or the left (depending on which side you’re cutting) of the line to allow for the width of the blade.
Ensure your miter table is secure at the 45 degree point and that your trim is flush to the fence (the back of the miter saw that you keeps your cuts square) before making any cuts. And as always, follow proper safety precautions included with your saw and always wear protective eye and ear gear when cutting.
Continue cutting all four pieces until you have rough corners.
And here’s what the project looks like pre-paint and designs:
From here, I painted the plywood with a dark gray base and plotted my points to guide the placement of the Frog tape for creating the chevron lines.
Because the Frog tape is approximately 1 ½” wide, I made pencil marks across the entire board at 1 ½” square points to form the rough outline of a large grid. This is where my quilter’s ruler was indispensable. I highly recommend using one for this type of project.
Using the pencil marks as your guide, place little pieces of tape (each cut at about 3 ½” inches long) in an alternating diagonal pattern across the entire board. This is the most tedious part of this project and placing the tape alone took several hours. But the overall impression is fantastic when it’s all said and done, so the time investment was worth it to me!
After you have the entire board taped, paint over the exposed lines with the color of your choice. I went with a glossy white (the same white that I used to paint the pieces of trim for the frame).
Carefully peel back the pieces of tape when you have sufficient color saturation and use a tiny craft paintbrush to touch up any under-bleeds or smears of paint. This part was also tedious, but taking the time to address the details ensures you have crisp lines and a great contrast between your chevron colors and lines.
Line up your trim pieces to create your frame and attach them to the board (once it’s completely dry, of course) using your brad nailer. Use the caulking to fill in any gaps at the corners and to fill in the nail holes made by the nailer.
And here’s how the edges look when the frame is assembled:
I love the contrast between the scalloped curves of the trim and the sharp points of the chevron lines. You can either leave the board as is at this point or create a center medallion with a monogram, initial letter or even paint an inspirational quote or phrase over the chevron background!
For a dark gray and white frame like this, something in orange, turquoise or hot pink would stand out really well and give you an added pop of color.
But even without additional embellishments, the frame is beautiful and you can always say “I made that!”
What types of designs and patterns do you plan to use in your DIY frame projects?
Rheney Williams is a DIY crafter who lives in Charleston, S.C., and writes for Home Depot about the projects she’s doing at her home using power tools. To view a large selection of tools, including the type of miter saw Rheney used for the picture frames, you can check out the Home Depot website.