Make your photos or pieces of art look great in one of these clever frames. One is sized for 5×7 images, the other for 8×10. Both leave space for 1″ mat surrounding the image. Plus, both are simple to build by layering together pieces of 1/4″-thick oak “hobby boards” from the home center.
- 4 Hobby Board (for 5x7 frame) , 1/4" x 3 (2 1/2" actual width) , 36"
- 6 Hobby Board (for 8x10 frame) , 1/4" x 3 (2 1/2" actual width) , 36"
- 1 Hardboard (enough for both frames) , 1/8"-thick , 24" x 24"
Hardware & Supplies
- 1 Wood glue
- 1 4-pack picture-frame turn buttons
- 1 Sawtooth picture hanger
- 1 7 3/8" x 9 3/8" plate glass for 5x7 frame
- 1 10 3/8" x 12 3/8" plate glass for 8x10 frame
Cut List & Parts
- 2 5x7 Front Stile , 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 13"
- 2 5x7 Front Rail , 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 9"
- 2 5x7 Back Stile , 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 7"
- 2 5x7 Back Rail , 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 15"
- 8 5x7 End Filler , 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 1/2"
- 2 8x10 Front Stile , 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 16"
- 2 8x10 Front Rail , 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 12"
- 2 8x10 Back Stile , 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 10"
- 2 8x10 Back Rail , 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 18"
- 8 8x10 End Filler , 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 1/2"
- 1 8x10 Photo Backer , 1/8" hardboard x 10 3/8" x 12 3/8"
- 1 5x7 Photo Backer , 1/8" hardboard x 7 3/8" x 9 3/8"
Check Out the Construction
Whether you’re building the 5x7 or the 8x10 frame, construction is the same, as you can see in the exploded view. Each frame is made up of two layers of 1/4" x 3 (2 1/2" actual width) hobby boards. In the back layer, the Back Rails get notched and the Back Stiles get trimmed narrower. That way, when everything is glued together, there’s a recessed area for the glass, mat, photo, and backer to fit into. Even the Decorative overlapping ends are simple. They’re just short pieces that get glued in place. All of the pieces get cut and glued together in a sequence that’s explained below.
Check Out the Parts and Procedures
Before you begin, take a look at the materials, parts, and the cutting diagrams, as well as the steps, so that you’ll be familiar with the procedures. You’ll see that many of the parts only have to be cut to length. For both frame sizes, though, the Back Stiles have to be notched, and the Back Rails trimmed narrower. Also note that each cutting diagram and parts list is for one frame of that size.
Cut the Frame Parts to Length
To start building your frame, first make sure you’re looking at the correct cutting diagram and parts list. The part names are the same, but the lengths are different for each frame size. In either case, cut eight End Fillers to length from the end of a full-length 1/4" x 3 board, as shown in the cutting diagram. These pieces are short, so cutting them first ensures that you’re working with a long piece that keeps your hand away from the miter saw blade. Next, cut the Front Stiles, Front Rails, Rear Stiles, and Rear Rails all to length, as well. Take care when cutting to make sure that all the like parts are the same length. Set the End Fillers, the Front Stiles, and the Front Rails aside for later steps.
Notch the Back Rails
Now you need to notch the Back Rails, as shown. The notch will help crate the recessed are a that holds the photo in place in the frame. Lay out the notch in each Back Rail, as shown, and use a jigsaw to cut it. If you’re not used to using a jigsaw, cut on some scrap material first to get used to following a straight line. Because the notches will be hidden, the cuts don’t have to be perfect, but you still want to make them relatively straight and even. After cutting, sand the cut edge if needed. The edge doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth. You just want to get rid of any really rough spots
Trim the Back Stiles
Next, you need to trim the Back Stiles to make them 1/4" narrower. Again, this will help create the recess when the frames are assembled. Use a jigsaw and, once again, sand the cut edges relatively smooth.
Glue on the End Fillers
With all of the parts cut, you can begin frame assembly. First, you need to glue on the End Fillers. As you can see, two get glued to each Front Stile, and two get glued to each Back Rail. When you glue these on, make sure the ends and edges are all flush. Small pieces like this can be tough to clamp, so you can wrap them with masking tape, instead, while the glue dries, scrape away any that has squeezed out.
Connect the Rails and Stiles
Now you can connect the Front Stiles and Rear Rails, as shown. Spread glue only in the area where the parts will touch, and then press the parts together. Make sure at each corner that the pieces are pressed tightly against the End Fillers. Use clamps or weights to hold the pieces together while the glue dries. Then scrape away any squeezed-out glue.
Complete Assembly and Finish
Next, add the Front Rails, making sure that the outside edges are aligned. To complete the assembly process, you can then add the Rear Stiles. When you position them, make sure the edges that you trimmed are pointing inward. That way, you can align the “factory” edges with the outside edges of the Front Stiles. Once again, use clamps or weights to hold the pieces in place while the glue dries. Once the glue dries, you can scrape of any excess, and then sand the faces and outside edges of your frame smooth. After that, we applied an ebony stain that gives a great, deep color but still allows the wood grain to show.
Add Glass and a Photo Backer
Once you frame is complete, measure the height and width of the inside recess, and then have plate glass cut to fit at your local hardware store or home center. It’s a good idea to subtract 1/8" from your height and width measurements, and have the glass cut to that size. You can also cut a Photo Backer to the same size as your glass, as shown in the cutting diagram.
Mount the Photo and Hanger
Finally, decide how you want to display your photo. The frame design leaves 1" around each side of the photo, so you can purchase or cut a mat to size, or use decorative paper behind the photo. Once you have everything, set the glass in place, add the mat, photo, and then Photo Backer. Then install four photo-frame turn buttons to hold everything in place. Add a hanger to your frame, and you’re done.