If you enjoy DIY or woodwork this article will present you with little difficulty. If, on the other hand, you are an absolute beginner, do not be daunted as these fundamental skills are perfected with practice. You need only the most basic tools - just remember to keep knives and blades sharp, let the saw - not your arm - do the work. It is worth bearing in mind that any carpentry work will be messy, and should be carried out well away from any mounting, which must be kept as clean as possible.
Making a Frame
- begin by preparing the mitre block. You might find it easier to screw it on to your work surface to prevent it from moving about. Place a piece of 5 x 2.5 cm wood inside to lift up the floor of the block. Place one end of your wood or moulding in the mitre block, hold it firmly against the inside edge and cut it to an angle of 45 degrees with a tenon saw.
- Measure along the length from the outer edge of the corner you have just cut and mark with a pencil. Place the wood back in the block and cut it at the opposite 45 degree angle inwards from your mark. Repeat this on the other three pieces of moulding until you have four pieces the correct size.
- At this point, check your frame sits neatly together. If not, trim off a little all round.
- Place two edges into the mitre clamp, put a little wood adhesive into the join and clamp the pieces together. Using strong pliers take the head off a moulding pin and use this instead of a drill bit in a hand drill. Drill a hole at an angle joining the two pieces together. Hammer in another moulding pin. Repeat this on the other three corners.
- At this stage, you can check your corners are square and leave the frame to dry overnight. However, to be sure the frame is accurate and true, use a frame clamp. Place the frame inside the clamp and tighten the angles around it. Leave it in this position until it is dry.
- If there are any open joints, you can fill them quite neatly and quickly with fine sawdust and a little wood adhesive. When dry, the joints can be sanded smooth.
- There are a variety of stains available. For the best finish, use a cloth to apply the wood stain. You can build up the colour by applying further coats, leaving each one to dry before adding the next. When the frame is completely dry, apply a little wax to the surface. Let the wax soak into the wood before buffing it with a soft cloth. Another coat of wax will add even more lustre.
Mounting and Fixing
- Instead of simply framing your piece of art, mounting it with special board can enhance it tremendously if time is taken to do it well. Mount board is available in a wide selection of colours, but a simple cream or white mount will often be the answer. It is also possible to double mount. This is to place a darker colour down first then a larger, lighter colour on top to create an inner frame.
- The most important aspect of successful mounting is to use clean, sharp equipment. Any finger-marks, grease or rough edges will be quickly noticed. Give yourself plenty of space and time and ensure all your cutting tools have sharp blades.
- Select a mount to complement your picture and decide what area of the picture you would like to see. It is usual to mount a picture with an equal amount of border all around, perhaps giving the lower border a little more width.
- Turn the frame over and measure the inside edge to edge. Using the cutting mat, set square and knife, cut out a piece of board the same size as the inside of the frame.
- With the good side facing down, decide how large you want the window to be. Take the window measurement away from the frame measurement and divide the remainder in two. This is the distance from the side. Draw out the rectangle and raise the lower line by a few millimetres (fractions of an inch) if you wish.
- Here, a small mount cutter is used; this will cut the edges of the window at a 45 degree angle. Cut out the shape from the back; be cautious at the corners and if you are unsure, practise on some scrap board first.
- Measure the back of the frame and have a piece of glass cut to fit (you can do this yourself if you use a glass cutter and straight edge). You will also need to saw a piece of hardboard to the same size. Both pieces should fit easily into the back of the frame. Drill small holes into the back of the hardboard to accommodate the D rings. (You may prefer to screw the D rings into the back verticals of the frame itself.)
- Using brown paper gummed tape, stick the print down on the back of the mount, checking your image is straight. Place all the pieces into the frame and with a hammer, nail small panel pins into the sides of the frame to secure it. Stick tape around the back of the frame to prevent dust, damp or insects creeping in and spoiling.
1. Cut the moulding at a true right angle with a mitre block and tenon saw.
2. With the moulding secure in the mitre clamp, moulding pins are hammered in at an angle to hold the pieces together.
3. A frame clamp ensures a sturdy and secure frame.
4. A lightly stained frame is buffed to a lustrous finish with some furniture wax and a soft cloth.
5. Use a pencil and ruler to measure the mount board.
6. A hand-held mount cutter will give an accurate bevelled edge to the board, creating a professional finish.
7. Masking tape is useful to position the picture on the mount board. For long-term fixing, use brown paper tape.
8. To secure the backing to the frame, nail small panel pins into the sides.
9. For large amounts of mounting, a flat mount cutter may be a worthwhile investment. This device is quick and easy to operate, although it does cost more than the hand-held cutter.
Simple picture frames can be made to a similar square shape, yet they can be made looking quite different depending on the choice of moulding you will use.