DIY: Make Beachy Style Picture Frames From Fence Wood

DIY picture frame from fence wood - apieceofrainbow.comThese 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.

pic-frames-frontpic-frames-backBefore 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.

Materials list:


  • 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)


apieceofrainbow-2-1wapieceofrainbow-2-2wapieceofrainbow-2-2bwMeasure 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!

apieceofrainbow-2-3w  apieceofrainbow-2-4wapieceofrainbow-2-5wFor 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! =)

apieceofrainbow-2-7wapieceofrainbow-2-6wapieceofrainbow-2-8wapieceofrainbow-2-9w  apieceofrainbow-2-10w 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.

apieceofrainbow-2-11wWhen the paint is completely dry, we can move on to gluing.

apieceofrainbow-2-12wFind a really flat surface, if that is your dining table or someone’s shiny glass desk, protect the surface with a piece of cloth. Clamps are our best friends when it come to woodworking!

apieceofrainbow-2-14wGlue 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.

apieceofrainbow-2-13wWhen 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, 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.

apieceofrainbow-2-25wapieceofrainbow-2-24wHappy creating and see you in a few days!


  1. Thanks for explaining that it would be a lot easier to work on custom wood picture frames using a lathe. I’d like to know more about such frames because I think they would be great to have in my kitchen. Having a picture of my mom there will be a great way to show that she is my inspiration when it comes to cooking.

  2. Greetings! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

  3. Came over from Knockoff Decor. I LOVE your frames. Don’t think I am clever enough to make them myself, but wish I could!

    • thank you so much becky for being so generous and supportive to a newbie like me!! much appreciation and big hugs! =)

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