These picture frames are inspired by furniture and frames made from reclaimed boat wood which came from fishing villages in many parts of the world. The layered chippy paints and spontaneous colors tell the stories of the wind and dreams of the sea.
In this tutorial we are going to make a frame for standard 8″x10″ picture / glass size, so we can easily reuse the glass from an old frame. Our frames here are made from readily available materials – the humble fence wood boards, some stores call it lathe. Reclaimed fence would be great! But even the new ones have a rustic look. They are easy to make, and the bonus: no power tools needed! The wood components are all small enough to be cut with a craft handsaw.
Before we start working,we will use the plans to figure out how much wood to get. The 3 components are colored differently and dimensioned in the plan. Don’t forget the braces on the back, they will hold the glass in place, and allow us to attach hardware later.
- (2) redwood lathe: 8’L x 1.5″W x 1/4″TH (although labled as 3/16″ thick @HomeDepot)
- (2) wood trim: 0.5″W x 1/4″THx3″L
- (2) wood molding: 0.5″W x 3/16″THx3’L ( 1/4″TH works great too)
- (4) picture frame turn button with screws – 100 Black Plated Ridged Picture Frame Turn Button 1″ with Black Screws
- (4) sawtooth picture hanger with nails –100 Sawtooth Picture Hanger 1-7/8 with Screws
- paints such as acrylic paint, milk paint, etc
- 8″x10″ glass and hardboard backing, feel free to reuse from old frames
- craft hand saw (a lot of them comes with a miter box which is helpful when cutting the molding pieces)
- small hammer
- screw driver
- wood glue
- bar clamps or c-clamps
- tool for measuring and marking (I used pencil and a combination square)
Measure and cut the pieces. Sand the surface and cut edges with 120 or 180 grit sand paper. I left some texture on the surface so it looks more rustic. If you want to leave the wood natural then skip all the painting and give it an oil finish at the end. I always find it hard to resist the beauty of natural wood!
For the base coat, use a stain you like or use a thin wash of paint. I used acrylic paints, mixed some colors till I got the golden rust color that I liked, and diluted the paint with water to make the wash. Some test pieces are always helpful. You may notice that I only painted the front face and sides, and left the back blank – well, the path of least effort! =)
Using a Dunn Edwards color fan deck, I chose a palette of subdued blues, greens, a little yellow and white. I like acrylic paints because they are non-toxic. Mixing colors becomes a lot easier with the guidance of the fan deck.For some pieces I used stiff bristle brushes to give them a chippy paint look. We also made one that is 8″x8″ picture size, see below.
Glue the back braces first, make sure they are slightly bigger, about 1/8″, than the 8″x10″ glass we have! After these are firmly glued, carefully glue the long edge of the molding pieces. Sand any bumpy surfaces or uneven cuts to create really good contact for gluing. I can’t figure out how to clamp these small pieces with curves, but luckily the 4 pieces fit pretty tightly inside the opening and held themselves together nicely.
When the glue dries which takes about 1 hour, it’s time to attach the hardware. We got the 2 items- picture frame turn buttons and sawtooth picture hangers – from Amazon.com, and they worked great! Due to the asymmetric character of these frames, you may want more than one picture hangers so you can hang it in different ways.
The final step is to enjoy your lovely frame with a beautiful picture in it! One of the photos shown are from our kayak trip in Vermont, the other one with the stunning whale is taken by my friend Heather(thank you Heather!) at a perfect moment on her trip to Alaska.
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