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diy: make your own picture frame


I've posted before on oversize art and the impact it has in a space, so I decided to take my advice when it came to my own home!  We have a huge vaulted ceiling in our living room and I needed something big to fill all that wall space over our couch.  My hubby and I met in Lisbon, Portugal and took our first vacation, a cruise in the Western Caribbean, and since I've always been a huge fan of decorating with items that hold personal meaning, I bought two HUGE (36x49 inch) nautical charts of each location:

Only problem was that it would cost around $600 to frame each one, so I took another route: I had each one mounted on foam core board and then the hubby and I made our own frames out of stock molding from Lowe's.  It's so much easier than you may think!

Let me first say that this would be much quicker if you have a mitre saw, but a mitre box is just as good and much less expensive.  I picked this one up for $15:

I bought enough 3 inch molding to cover each frame, as well as 1/2 inch trim pieces to make a box to hold each  map:

First I measured one inch outside of the actual map to create a border.  I made small pencil marks every four inches or so around the entire chart:

I added two inches to the total width and the total height to allow for a one-inch border around the chart.  This is where the frame will sit on the chart once I'm done and these will be the measurements by which you will follow when cutting the molding for your frame. 

For the first cut, I placed the molding inside the box, lined the saw at the 45 degree ridge and cut:

It's helpful to have another set of hands to hold the molding while using your saw.  After you've made your first cut, measure from the inside corner down to where you will make your next cut:

Mark with a pencil and make your second cut:

After each cut, I wrapped a piece of 150-grit sand paper around a sanding block to get rid of any jagged edges:

This is what the corners should look like:

Once you've cut the top, bottom and side pieces, glue each corner together and hold with corner clamps.  Let the glue dry for 30 minutes. 

Next, I hammered 1 1/2 inch finishing nails into the corners for added support.  I put two in each corner, perpendicular to each other:

Almost done!  Next, I built an inner frame to hold and secure the map using the 1/2 inch trim pieces.  I measured from the one inch mark on the map to the edge of the actual chart and put 1 inch finishing nails every four inches:

Once the frame was built and the map was slid in, 1 1/4 inch screws were drilled into the frame - one on each side, leaving about 1/4 inch out.  The screw went through the trim piece and into the frame:

Then, I wrapped steel picture wire around the frame so I could hang it easily on the wall:

And here are both of the frames - they look even better than I expected!  I made my own stain to make them look weathered, similar to the mirror and candlesticks over the fireplace - I'll post details on that one next:

Happy Hump Day!

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Reader Comments (9)

Oh Kelly, these look absolutely amazing!!
What a great step by step DIY... You always seem to inspire me:)

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

LOVE them! We did the same thing for the oversized prints we have (36x60).

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate

GREAT job! And you make it look so easy! I love framed maps.

Thank you for posting about this wonderful DIY project!! I was finally able to frame a chart my hubby & brought home from our honeymoon! I shared my experience of making my own frame on my blog & I know others will be inspired by your projects just like I am! Thank you!

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

Meghan - so glad you were able to frame your chart! It's one of my favorite ways to personalize your space and add a subtle coastal feel. Thanks for reading!

September 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterKelly Stivers

Where did you get your charts? I have been looking for similar (white background, blue accents), but have not been able to find them. Thank you!!

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Looks great! Thank you for posting! Question- around how much did it cost for all of the supplies to make these?

April 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniela

Thanks, Daniela! I already had the little mitre box (it was $15) so all I had to purchase was the lumber, which ran about $25!

April 29, 2014 | Registered CommenterKelly Stivers

beautiful.. But when looking on the "thumb/intro" image of pictures in the frame, I bit need the last half of the tutorial. The one that tells how to insert the picture inside the frame and how make and stick the "back" so the picture don't falls out??


January 22, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarius

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