How to make a wooden frame from scratch


Most of us do not have the professional equipment required to make a wooden picture frame. However, you can achieve surprisingly good results using ordinary tools. Try to use wood with a natural profile to avoid the need for a router. The trickiest thing to accomplish is a 45°-angled cut. Professionals use a laser-guided mitre saw, but for the purpose of this project you can use a handsaw with a mitre guide. To fasten the joints, I used a staple gun and wood filler.

Recycled items

  • Reclaimed skirting boards/roof panels/floorboards

Also needed

  • Handsaw

  • Mitre box

  • Staple gun

  • An assistant (optional)

  • Wood filler

  • Hand sander

  • Black shoe polish

  • Stamp and pad (I used a gold pad)


  1. Determine your desired picture frame dimensions and, using a handsaw, cut the wood into four pieces, one for each side of the frame.

  2. With a mitre box and handsaw, cut the ends off each piece at a 45° angle. (Practise using a mitre box on some off-cuts before you tackle the picture frame.) A mitre box allows you to hold the wood firmly and will guide the saw so that it cuts at the correct angle.

  3. Arrange the cut pieces flat on your work surface so that they form the shape of your frame.

  4. Hold the pieces in place while you staple the corner sections of the frame together. (This is where an assistant is very useful!) Turn the frame over and apply staples to the rear of the corners as well. Fill any gaps with wood filler and leave overnight to dry.

  5. Once the frame is completely dry, smooth away any rough patches with a hand sander.

  6. I used black shoe polish to stain the frame; use an old cloth and rub it thoroughly to allow some of the natural wood to come through. Use a stamp and press it into a gold pad for the decorations.

  7. Finally, attach a hanging device to the frame.

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