Near the beginning of the year, I ordered a lovely 18 by 24 inch leaf print from Minted, with intentions of immediately hanging it in our living room. After coming up short on the perfect frame, I planned to make a 24 by 30 inch frame to protect and display the print. At that time, we were just beginning our kitchen remodel (which is still nearly finished, with one more cabinet to build and hang-hence the lack of reveal) and time was limited to pertinent projects only. Until recently, the frames were on the back burner, but after seeing the art sitting in my closet, begging to be seen by others, I jumped in and got it done.
Before building, I bought two pieces of plexiglass from Ace Hardware because these frames are in the living room and could get bumped or hit with a ball. Shattered glass is always a concern with two boys in the house, so this seemed like a safer choice. You certainly don’t need to buy glass first, but if you’re making a big frame, make sure your size is available before building.
For my project, I wanted a square edge thin frame, so I bought four 1 by 2 sticks and had the store cut each one into 3 and 5 foot lengths. To create the channel for the glass, mat, and backing to rest in, I had to router out a groove. Pine is a soft wood, so I found it easiest to clamp a few boards down to create a guide to run the router against.
I set the router depth to 7/8 inches deep and slowly let it cut the channel, slowing at knots or weak points to prevent splitting. Then I smoothed everything out with a thorough sanding. Below, the top board shows the wide side, and the bottom the narrow face after cutting.
After grooved, I cut my pieces to length, mitering the corners but leaving an extra 1/8 for a little wiggle room. Cutting after left perfectly square inside corners that a router can’t create after assembly, and with such a small face, I didn’t have much space to lose.
With tight corners, I pulled the glass out and held the pieces tight before nailing.
I found it easiest to set the two sides on a flat surface, letting just the corner over hang the counter while nailing. This way, I didn’t angle the nailer funny to shoot it out somewhere and with narrow margins, it was important. Two little nails are visible on each side, but not noticeable after staining.
To darken the pine, I applied a quick coat of Special Walnut stain. I love the richness it adds to the cheap wood, and it brings out the character of each board. Normally, I’d staple the glass, mat, and backing in place, but I didn’t want to weaken the thin sides. Instead, I tapped small nails in.
And there’s the King now, matted in grass-green to bring a little splash of the curtain color across the room.
To balance out that print, I dried a maple leaf, photographed it, edited it, and printed a black and white engineer print.
Finally, we have art flanking the entertainment center, even more importantly, out of my closet! Another to do list project is just staring at me in that last photo-move or create a cover for the ugly subwoofer. With a cover, I could make it look kind of like a plant stand, right? Let’s be honest though, who knows when that’ll happen; we’ve waited on entertainment center doors for years. Perhaps that should happen next. It wouldn’t be much different from making picture frames, but these would hide the ugly junk.