How to Build a Picture Frame

Build a simple DIY picture and customize to match your décor

1-2 hours

Build a unique DIY picture frame and customize it to match your personality and your home's decor. This guide will walk you through the steps for this simple project.

What You Need

TOOLS

MATERIALS

1
Cut the lumber
How to build a picture frame

Use a circular or miter saw to cut the lumber according to the below cut list: 

On the 1-x 2-inch x 8-foot whitewood board:
• Two pieces for top and bottom outer trim: 14 ¼-inch
• Two side edges outer trim: 13 ¾-inch 

On the 1- x 3- x 8-foot whitewood board:
• Two pieces for the top and bottom of the frame: 9 ¼-inch
• Two pieces for the sides of the frame: 12 ¼-inch 

On the 1/8-inch x 2- x 4-foot hardboard:
• Top and bottom pieces of the first layer of hardboard: 2 1/8- x 14 ¼-inch
• Two sides of the first layer of hardboard: 2 1/8- x 8-inch
• Two sides of the second layer of hardboard: 2 1/8- x 12 ¼-inch
• Top and bottom pieces of the second layer of hardboard: 2 1/8- x 10-inch
• Glass and picture retainer: 8- x 10-inch 

Sand the wood after you’ve made all your cuts.

2
Construct the inner frame
How to build a picture frame

• Arrange the whiteboard pieces you cut for the frame into a rectangle with the two shortest pieces on the inside.
• Check that the edges are flush.
• Clamp to secure.
• Connect the four pieces using wood glue followed by a nailer.

3
Attach the outer trim
Step 3

• Lay out three layers of the hardboard.
• Lay the inner frame on top this to raise the inner frame up and create the offset that will be needed when the outer frame is attached.
• When complete, the glass, picture and backing will be flush with the outer frame.
• Align the four outer trim pieces you previously cut.
• Clamp each joint to secure.
• Attach the outer frame to the inner frame using glue and the nail gun.
• Remember to remove all hardboard pieces so they don’t accidentally get glued to the front of the frame.
• Allow glue to dry.

4
Dry fit the picture frame
How to build a picture frame

Set both layers of hardboard into place followed by the glass to confirm everything fits correctly then dismantle.

5
Attach the hardboard
How to build a picture frame

• Spread wood glue along each edge of the inner frame.
• Attach the first layer of hardboard using 5/8-inch brads.
• Repeat with the second layer and allow to dry. 

Tip: Make sure that the first layer is the 14 ¼-inch and 8-inch long pieces.

6
Attach hardware
How to build a picture frame

• Center and attach two sawtooth picture hangers along the outer trim pieces on adjoining edges of the frame so you can hang the frame vertically and horizontally.
• Measure and mark the center of all four sides around the opening.
• Take one of the screen clips and set it sideways so that it will not block the opening at all but is close enough that it will still hold the glass and hardboard into place when you turn it.
• Mark where the screw should be and predrill the hole for the screw. Screw the clip into place.
• Tighten it just enough so that it will stay in place once you turn it into the position to hold the glass.

7
Sand and finish
How to build a picture frame
Step 7

• Sand the entire project and wipe clean.
• Paint or stain as desired.