Embarking on the journey of making your own picture frames is an incredibly gratifying endeavor that allows you to infuse your creativity and personal touch into the display of your cherished artwork or photographs. While it may initially seem like a daunting task, with the right guidance, tools, and materials, you can become a master in the art of picture frame making. This comprehensive guide will take you through each step of the process, ensuring that you acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to create stunning frames that beautifully complement your precious memories.

By crafting picture frames from scratch, you not only showcase your artistic abilities but also create custom displays that reflect your unique style and preferences. The process involves carefully selecting the frame molding, measuring and cutting the frame components, skillfully assembling them, and adding the finishing touches that make your frames truly exceptional. The satisfaction derived from seeing your artwork or photographs elegantly displayed in frames you've meticulously crafted is unparalleled.

So, prepare your work area, gather your tools, and let's dive into the captivating world of picture frame making, where your imagination and craftsmanship merge to produce breathtaking results.

Step 1: Gathering the Necessary Tools and Materials

Before you can begin creating your picture frame, it's essential to gather all the necessary tools and materials. The list may seem extensive, but each item plays a crucial role in achieving professional-quality results. Some of the tools you'll need include a miter saw, tape measure, sandpaper, wood glue, clamps, a mat cutter, and a pencil. Additionally, you'll require frame molding, a backing board, frame hanging hardware, and a dust mask for safety purposes.

Creating a designated work area that is well-lit and spacious enough to accommodate your materials and tools is also crucial. This will provide you with the necessary space to work comfortably and ensure accuracy in your measurements and cuts.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Frame Molding

The frame molding you select will significantly impact the overall appearance and style of your picture frame. With numerous options available, ranging from simple and understated to ornate and elaborate designs, take your time to explore different styles and finishes. Consider the aesthetic of the artwork or photograph you intend to frame, as well as the overall ambiance of the room where it will be displayed. This will help you choose a molding that complements the artwork and enhances its visual impact.

Don't be afraid to experiment and step outside of your comfort zone. The frame molding you choose can serve as a decorative element, adding character and depth to your picture frame. Allow yourself to be inspired by the variety of moldings available and select one that truly speaks to your artistic vision.

Step 3: Measuring and Cutting the Frame Components

Accurate measurements are crucial when it comes to crafting picture frames. A slight deviation in measurements can result in ill-fitting corners and a lack of structural integrity. Therefore, it is essential to take precise measurements before cutting the frame components.

Using a tape measure, measure the dimensions required for each frame component, including the four sides and the mat board. Double-check your measurements to ensure accuracy and write them down to refer to later during the cutting process.

When it comes to cutting the frame components, a miter saw is the ideal tool for achieving clean, precise cuts at the desired angles. Take your time and exercise caution when operating the saw. Remember to follow all safety precautions, such as wearing protective eyewear and keeping your hands away from the blade.

Step 4: Sanding and Preparing the Frame

To achieve a professional and polished look, proper preparation of the frame components is crucial. After cutting the frame pieces, they may have rough edges or imperfections that need to be addressed.

Using sandpaper with a medium grit, carefully sand the cut edges of the frame components. Sanding not only smoothens the surface but also helps to ensure a tight and seamless fit when assembling the frame. Be thorough in this step, as any rough edges or inconsistencies will be noticeable in the final product.

Once you have sanded all the frame components, wipe away any residual dust with a clean cloth or brush. This will ensure that the glue adheres properly when assembling the frame.

Step 5: Assembling the Frame

With all the frame components prepared, it's time to assemble them. Applying wood glue to the mitered ends of the frame pieces, carefully join the corners together. Take care to align the pieces properly and ensure a tight bond between the joints.

To hold the corners in place while the glue dries, use clamps. Position the clamps across the corners, applying enough pressure to keep them securely in place. While waiting for the glue to dry, double-check that the frame is square by measuring the diagonals from corner to corner. This step is essential to ensure the frame is perfectly aligned and symmetrical.

Step 6: Adding the Mat Board and Artwork

Now that the frame is dry and sturdy, it's time to insert the mat board and artwork. The mat board serves multiple purposes: it provides a visually appealing border around the artwork, adds depth to the frame, and helps protect the artwork from direct contact with the glass or acrylic front.

Using a mat cutter, carefully cut the mat board to the desired size and shape. Take precise measurements to ensure a snug fit within the frame. The opening in the mat board should perfectly frame your artwork or photograph, enhancing its visual impact.

Once the mat board is cut, attach it securely to the backing board using acid-free tape or mounting corners. This will keep the artwork or photograph in place and prevent it from slipping or shifting within the frame.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

To further enhance the aesthetic appeal of your picture frame, consider applying a finish to the wood. Staining or painting the frame can add depth, color, and a touch of personalization to your creation.

Before applying any finish, ensure that the frame is clean and free from any dust or debris. Apply the stain or paint evenly, following the manufacturer's instructions, and allow it to dry completely. This may take several hours or even a day, depending on the type of finish used. Patience is key during this step to achieve a professional-looking result.

Step 8: Mounting and Displaying the Picture Frame

With the frame now complete, it's time to mount and display it with pride. Attach the appropriate hanging hardware to the back of the frame, ensuring it is centered and securely fastened. Different types of frames may require different hanging methods, so refer to the manufacturer's instructions or seek advice from a professional if needed.

Before hanging the frame on the wall, use a level to determine the ideal placement. Mark the desired spot lightly with a pencil to ensure accurate positioning. Finally, hang the frame on the wall and step back to admire your handiwork. Take a moment to appreciate how your craftsmanship has transformed your artwork or photograph into a beautifully framed piece.


Crafting your own picture frames allows you to showcase your creativity and create personalized displays that perfectly complement your cherished artwork or photographs. By following this comprehensive step-by-step guide, you have acquired the knowledge and skills necessary to embark on this fulfilling journey.

From gathering the necessary tools and materials to choosing the ideal frame molding, measuring and cutting the frame components, and assembling and finishing the frame, every step in the process contributes to the creation of a stunning picture frame. The attention to detail and the care you put into each stage will be evident in the final result.

So, clear your workspace, gather your tools, and let your imagination guide you as you create unique and captivating picture frames that elevate your artwork and preserve your precious memories for years to come.