Easy DIY Frame For Large Artwork
I am super excited to introduce you to my new BFF, Mr. Moose.
I picked him up at my Habitat Restore for only $10, and frankly, think he’s adorable. Plus, he might actually be real art. And by “real art,” I mean he had this fancy tag on the back:
No idea what any of it means, but google tells me “EDL & Associates” is an art gallery in Atlanta, and that’s enough for me. Pretty sure everything else in my house is something mass produced for Hobby Lobby, so clearly I’m not terribly picky.
However, I was not a big fan of Mr. Moose’s frame. It was this large and chipped MDF monstrosity, and I thought it took away from Mr. Moose’s beautiful simplicity. And as you might know, I am not one to pay money for something I could build myself, no matter how many “60% off custom framing” coupons JoAnn Fabrics sends me. Thus began my “basic frame” project.
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How to Build a Basic Wood Frame for Large Artwork
Mr. Moose came stapled to a carved ledge in the MDF frame.
I have no idea if this is actually how artwork is framed (I’m guessing not,) but regardless I decided it was a good enough system for me to imitate on my own frame. But I don’t have a table saw or a router, which limits my ability to carve a ledge into something. So instead, I glued two frames together to make the ledge. See photo below.
- Four 3/8″ x 3″ x 3′ boards- For visible frame.
- Four 3/8″ x 2″ x 3′ boards- For base frame.
- Four Flat Angle Brackets- Extra support.
- 1/2″ Screws
- Angle Clamp
Note: Different stores have different thin boards available. The above is what I used, since that was what they had available in “premium pine,” aka, the cheap but still straight stuff.
Step 1: Build the Base Frame
I cut each of my 3/8″ x 2″ pieces to size based on how big Mr. Moose was. This frame needed to be just a little bit bigger than him. Since he was 32″ on all sides, I aimed for my opening to be 32 1/4″ inches on all sides. This gave the following measurements for my base frame pieces:
Two of the pieces were the exact length of the opening. The other two were 3″ longer, to account for the width of the first two pieces.
Then, using an angle clamp, I glued the pieces together. The frame was super fragile in this state, since glue was the only thing holding the pieces together. I went slowly, and allowed each joint to dry at least 20 minutes before I did the next joint.
Step 2: Build the Visible Frame
I wanted the visible frame to have angled corners, so I mitered the edges of the 3/8″ x 3″ pieces. I knew my outside edge needed to be the same length as my base frame (35 1/4″), so that was the measurement I used. See below.
Then I glued the pieces to the top of the base frame, putting some books on top to help the wood stay in place while the glue dried.
Harry Potter, friend for life.
Step 3: Add Support
Now, the frame was surprisingly sturdy at this point, but I thought some extra support at the corners wouldn’t hurt. I grabbed some flat angle brackets, and added them to each corner.
Now here’s the thing to realize: if the angle brackets come with screws, they will likely be too long for this project. Many of these brackets come with 3/4″ screws, which will likely poke right through the visible side of the frame. Instead, grab some nice #6 1/2″ screws. Given that your boards were 3/8″ thick boards, they should work perfectly!
Step 4: Stain/Finish and Add Art!
I stained the frame with one coat of Cece Caldwell’s Hickory Hardwood stain. It’s pretty expensive, and in most cases I don’t think it’s worth the extra cost. However, the stain is a different type than the classic oil-based ones, and it does a much better job of staining pine.
Finally, staple the art in place:
I love him! A lot, apparently, since I made him the featured art above the fireplace! If you’re wondering where my TV went, check out my DIY TV Lift Cabinet!
And the frame was easy to build, and that’s always a pleasant surprise!
If you have some artwork needing a simple frame, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later!