Easy-to-make photo frames

Put these self-supporting photo frames on your gift list

By Gary Walchuk

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These easy-to-build stocky self-supporting frames convert your shop scraps into attractive home decorations in a matter of a few hours.

The listed part sizes are simply suggestions-you can make yours thinner or thicker as you see fit. All you need is enough face and side stock for the perimeter of each frame you intend to build. Mill your wood strips to a consistent size, then rout a 1/4″-wide x 3/8″-deep rabbet along one edge of the face stock to take the glass that’ll protect your photos. While you’re at it, rout a decorative edge and groove, also along the inside edge of the face stock. The side stock remains square.

Glue the side and face stock together, outside edges flush, then trim the assembly to the mitred lengths you’ll need when the glue has dried. You can make your frame square, rectangular, or just about any other shape. Dry-fit the frame parts, then glue and clamp for final assembly.

You have numerous finishing options for this project. Aniline stains or leathercraft dyes are great for adding colour and vibrancy to your frames. Milk paint gives a rustic look and, of course, there is a rainbow of stains on the market. If you’re giving these as gifts, consider sending them unfinished and including a can of stain and a bag of milk paint.


Face stock (3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x length required)

Side stock (3/4″ x 1″ x length required)

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