(And, Yes, There are Going to be More Sequels –
But You Won’t Have to Live Forever to Read ‘Em!)
By Paul Dunwell, writing for EasyFrame
© Copyright EasyFrame 2018
What This Article is About
In ‘Frame Academy I’ we provided a run-down of essential terminology as a prelude to further ‘Frame Academy’ pieces that will span more complex aspects of the dark art of picture-framing.
Now, in ‘Frame Academy II’, we will give you a step-by-step idiot’s guide to making a picture frame. It will serve, alternatively, as a resource to help you understand the processes involved if you go to a 3rd party to have your frames made to your specifications.
An Easy-to-Follow Walk-Through Explanation
If you’re going to have a go then you’ll need cardboard backing board. And wood, plastic or metal to make the frame, glass or plexiglass, a mitre box, a hand-saw, a steel rule, a steel tape-measure, a hammer, a set-square or similar, a set of 4 right-angle clamps, a craft-knife or scissors or a backing board cutter, a jigsaw, safety goggles and sundry items such as PVA glue, tacks double-sided tape, sandpaper and a sanding block, screw-in eyes, polyester cord, microfibre cloths and white ‘archive’ gloves. It is worth adding that there is a brilliant article here on the
EasyFrame site which complements this article. See www.easyframe.co.uk/NewsArticle/diy-picture-framing-where-do-you-start
The Processes Involved
BACKING the FRAME
Measuring the backing board
You’ll need a backing board, the paper or card border which goes inside your frame. Its width should be between a quarter and a third of the width of the artwork.
Measuring the artwork
Measure the artwork. Its lengths (both height and width) need to be added to a doubled border width in order to fix on the outer dimensions (those which will go in the frame). The inner aperture of the backing board will need to be slightly smaller than the artwork.
Cutting the backing board’s outside edges
Use scissors, a knife or backing board cutter (whichever seems appropriate), together with a right-angle, a ruler and a marker, to trim the backing board to the dimensions you’ve already worked out.
Cutting the backing board’s aperture
Use an appropriate tool to cleanly cut an aperture in the backing board. It should be slightly smaller than the artwork.
Placing the artwork in the backing board Centre the artwork within the backing board’s aperture. Work with the artwork and backing board face-down. Then use double-sided tape to fix it in place once it is properly centred.
CONSTRUCTING the FRAME
Materials like wood, metal, plastic, glue and tacks should be appropriate for the artwork and suitable in respect of quality as well as the surroundings in which the finished framed artwork will hang.
Measuring the frame
The dimensions of the frame are determined by the outer dimensions of the backing board. The length you want to cut is the length of the backing board together with double the little clearance around it and then double the width of the frame material too.
Cutting the frame
Cut two widths and two lengths of the frame to those dimensions – but check carefully first that you have not made a mistake and ensure you’re accurate. Once you have cut the lengths you will need to trim each so you need a 45-degree angle and thus you need a mitre. Not having one, and they are cheap, is a false economy.
Cutting the frame’s rebate
Cut a frame rebate, the lip inside the frame which stops the glass from falling out of the front. Alternatively you can attach a thinner frame on the back, sandwiching the glass.
Finishing your frame
Paint, varnish or stain your frame before you assemble it, let alone insert the glass and artwork. Think about colour and surroundings. Test whatever you are applying on some of your offcuts first and wait for products to dry before making a decision.
Assemble the components, ensuring that everything is square. Clamp it to ensure it is rectilinear before you glue anything. And wait for the glue to dry before you add tacks perpendicularly through the corners. There should be no gaps. But use a filler if there are.
Fitting the glass
Fit the glass or plexiglass. Glass usually needs to be cut first by specialists but plexiglass is not too hard to cut yourself.
Fitting the artwork
Fit the artwork with the frame face-down. Put the image and backing board into the frame, ensure they’re centred, and use tacks or similar to close the back with the contents safely inside.
Decorating your frame
Decorating your frame could involve using gilt or some embellishment that compliments the artwork you’re displaying. It’s probably worth labelling the frame, at the back, especially if there’s a photo. Make sure you say when it was taken and who was in the picture!
Hanging your frame
Once the frame is finished and dried, examine options to hang it. Usually that will be by running a polyester cord (which won’t stretch like nylon does) across the back between two screw-in eyes.
DIY-framing isn’t always cost-effective. And, for sure, if you bungle it then it can become inordinately expensive! Your decision to have a go, or not have a go, will be coloured by whether this is going to be fun and a personal challenge that will teach you something.
But DIY’s usually fun as well as a great learning experience. And certainly, for those who are prepared to accept full responsibility for their own work, it can develop into more than a hobby.
The alternative to doing it yourself is, of course, to straight go to a professional framer like EasyFrame. You could have them either do the entire job or help with part of it (whatever has left you jittery!)
EasyFrame can also certainly supply much of what you need to do the job if you contact them.
EasyFrame is on 01234 856 501 and emailable via firstname.lastname@example.org.