How to make a Super Simple DIY Picture Frame from Pallet Wood
Picture frames are one of those items that every home has, and it’s also an item that can be quite costly when you pay a professional to do. With the frame timber, the mounting, glass and the time required. One alternative is to go to a big department store and buy a frame that’s all set up and ready to go…. just add your photo. These can be quite cheap, but they can also be quite ordinary.
Here’s a simple DIY solution that requires free timber and only a few other materials and tools.
Plus a rustic, handmade picture frame like this makes a great gift for family and friends.
I had some off cuts of pallet wood lying around. As you can see in it’s raw state it just looks like scrap wood that you would be inclined to throw away. But this material really is the essence of rustic and recycled. You will see by the end of this article that using a simple process of sanding and a bit of stain, the finished product turns out very appealing.
Here’s an image showing the wood I used.
I forgot to add 3 things to the tools image:
- Saw – to cut the wood. A hand saw is fine.
- Drill – to drill one hole.
- Screw Driver – to screw the hinge on the back.
The first step is cut all the main pieces.
Cut the 4 main frames pieces first – 2 sides plus top and bottom.
If you are making this frame for a particular image make sure the work out the width and height plus adding at least 10mm each way for some clearance around the image.
I wasn’t working to any particular image, but I knew I wanted a square area for the pictures to fit in to.
I cut the 2 sides 310mm long, and the top and bottom 185mm long.
The backs need to be cut long enough to go half way across each side piece so you have plenty of room to add glue and nails. I cut the back pieces 250mm long.
After cutting the pallet wood, give each piece a good sand. Make sure you do this out side as it does create a bit of dust.
Once all the pieces are cut and sanded you immediately see and big improvement in the look of the recycled timber.
Putting the Picture Frame together
Nailing the back pieces on to the sides, top and bottom pieces is where we start.
Make sure you have chosen which side is the front of each piece of timber.
Now flip all the pieces over because you will be nailing all the pieces together from the back.
First work out how far the back pieces will overlap the side piece and mark a line on the back. Also mark how far down the back pieces need to start from the end of the side piece.
See the image (2nd one down) where the back pieces are nailed on to get a better idea of how everything fits together.
Use some PVA wood glue and 2 nails on each end to fix the back pieces to the side. Make sure the nails you use are not too long so they stick through the wood after nailing.
Next do the top piece, making sure the edge of the back piece is parallel to the top. Then the bottom, then the other side.
If you have some glue seeping out any where after nailing, just use a wet rag to wipe it off.
Turn it over and this is what you should have.
Making the Back Support Leg
Making the back frame support piece is as simple as cutting 2 pieces of timber.
I cut the support leg at 215mm long. Make sure the back leg doesn’t stick out longer than the heaight of you picture frame when it is completed.
I cut the hinge block 100mm long.
Drill a small hole 50mm up from the bottom of the leg the string that will hold the leg apart from the frame.
I found a nice antique hinge at the hardware store that works perfectly for this rustic style.
Screw the hinge to the support leg and hinge block. Then nail the hinge block to the back of the picture frame.
Add some string and you’re almost done
On the bottom back piece of the frame hammer in a small nail. This is for the string to get tied to.
Now get some string and tie it around the nail.
Keep the string quite long and keep it doubled up. Now take the 2 ends of the string and pass them through the hole in the support leg. Tie a knot big enough so it can’t slip back through the hole.
Trim the string to get rid of any long overhanging bit.
The Picture Frame is Done
Now the frame is done, it’s up to you how you choose to to finish it. I finished my frame using a Teak stain.
You can stain it, or varnish or even paint it. It’s up you and your own style.
How to add a Picture to the Frame
In order to make this frame as simple as possible, I knew I didn’t want to use any mounting or glass.
My original idea was to use a wooden peg or bulldog clip (or something similar) to hold a picture in place, and also make it very easy to swap pictures.
The idea I ended up using was a small magnet disk from my daughters craft box. I just glued the disk in place at the top of the frame, and now I can use any steel object to hold my pictures in place.
I decided to use an old steel nut that I found in my workshop.
The Finished Pallet Wood Picture Frame
There it is. One DIY Picture Frame made from Pallet Wood, made, stained and with an illustration my wife did being held in place by an old nut.
When it comes to making your own picture frame it doesn’t really get any easier than this. There are no mitres to cut and no glass to have to order and buy. The timber is free and the rest of the material are cheap. Also once you buy the glue, nails and stain, you then have plenty left over to make a lot more frames or DIY other projects.
Let me know how you go.