Art can totally transform a home and is worth investing in. Stretch your budget as far as you can make making your own DIY art frames for less than $20 each with this step-by-step tutorial.
Have you ever bought a piece of art that you love only to find that the cost to frame it was crazy high and out of your budget? It's happened to me more than once! The cost of custom framing is crazy, y'all. When we started to add large art prints to our home a couple of years ago, we realized quickly that in order to have the budget to actually purchase art, we were going to have to make our own art frames.
We've tried many different methods of making our own art frames over the past couple of years (you can see a couple here and here) and we've tweaked the process along the way. This tutorial, my friends, is the absolute best and most cost-effective way to make huge art frames for less than $20 each.
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And before you ask, you can find the sources for all the prints that I framed below as well as at the bottom of this post :)
How to Make DIY Art Frames for Large Prints
- 1 x 2 pine boards (the amount and length of boards you will need depends on the size of your frames)
- Screen molding (the amount and length of boards you will need depends on the size of your frames)
- Behlen Solar Lux Dye Stain (I used American Walnut)
- Patchal Putty and putty knife
- Compound miter saw (or you can have someone cut them at the hardware store for you if you don't have a saw–you could also use a hand saw and miter box)
- Sawtooth hangers
- Paper towels
- Latex gloves
- Staple gun or brad nailer (we are obsessed with this one, which is what we used for this project)
- 90 degree clamps
First, you need to cut your 1″ x 2″ boards and screen molding down to size.
Each frame requires 4 pieces cut from your 1″ x 2″ pine–2 horizontal pieces and 2 vertical pieces. The horizontal pieces will overhang the vertical pieces (see the diagram below we made for another project).
Each frame also requires 4 pieces of screen molding, cut to the exact same lengths as your 1″ x 2″ pieces.
In order to get the frame to be the perfect size (allowing enough surface area to attach the prints to them), you need to:
- Cut each horizontal piece to 1/4 inch longer than your print.
- Cut the vertical pieces 1 1/4 inches shorter than your print.
- You need to do this to account for the overhang of the horizontal pieces.
- Below is a diagram that shows what I am talking about. We made the diagram when working on a different project, but you use this SAME exact “formula” for any size print you are working with.
Lightly sand any rough edges created by your saw and then stain all of your cut pieces.
Next, use your 90-degree clamps to create tight joints. Once they are in place, use your staple gun or brad nailer (or even a hammer and nail) to attach the boards to each other.
Once you are confident your stain is dry, you are ready to attach your prints. Now, I wouldn't recommend this method for original, irreplaceable and super expensive pieces. But this method is perfect for large posters or reproduction paper prints like we used. Simply lay your print face down on the back side of your frame.
Next, “sandwich” your print between the back of the frame and your corresponding pieces of screen molding. Then attach your screen molding with your brad nailer. This step makes SUCH a difference! It keeps your prints nice, taut and smooth.
Once your entire frame is assembled, you need to patch the nail and/or staple holes. My absolute favorite way to fill small holes like this is to use Mohawk's Patchal Putty. It is so much easier to work with than traditional wood filler or spackle. It's almost the consistency of butter or Crisco. But the best part is that it is pre-colored, so you don't have to worry about staining afterward (I don't know about you, but we can never really get wood filler to stain properly). For this project, we used the Van Dyke Brown color.
And here's the before and after for you. It took about 4 seconds to accomplish this :)
Attach some photo hanging hardware to the top center of each frame (I used sawtooth hangers) and hang them up!
SO EASY! And ours turned out beautifully. Below you can find the details about the art we framed.
Now, take a look at how our DIY art frames turned out. We are so, so happy with them!
Be sure to save this to Pinterest or share it on Facebook so you can find it again when you are ready to make your own DIY frames :) And if you are looking for some awesome and super affordable large prints to frame, check out my FREE printable art library.