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Welcome to yet another Instructable brought to you by Salad Mixer! (NOTE: Not actually brought to you by Salad Mixer)

Over the course of the last year, I was a part of my city government advising the city council on environmental issues, eco-friendly cost saving actions, and alternative energy advancements. Unfortunately, I had to resign my position due to moving, but they were thankful for my service enough to reward me with a commemoration for my services. As this is something to be proud of, putting it on the fridge just won't do...so I made a frame, and this is that journey. So come along with me and Salad Mixer as we walk you through these steps to build your own frame. (NOTE: Salad Mixer has no part of this Instructable and will not walk anywhere with anyone)

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Glass/Acrylic sheet (mine was 11 x 14 inches)
  • Thick paperstock (decorative print is fancier, but not necessary)
  • Wood stock (I chose a pre-milled chair rail stock from the local building supply store. 8 ft long piece of golden oak with a lip already carved in it to make life easy.)
  • Wood glue (No need to get fancy with that super, ultra, mega-bond glue that changes colors and doubles as a life preserver. For something like this, you could even use school glue. You don't need much)
  • Corrugated steel joint clips- I call 'em goofy clips- (These will hold the joint together while the glue is drying and allow you to pivot the joints to get them squared before the glue dries)
  • Sawtooth Clip Hangers
  • Wire Brad Nails (for the clip hanger) and a hammer
  • Drill
  • Polyurethane (I chose Minwax Polyshade, a stain and polyurethane in a spray can. Mine was Pecan Gloss if you want to match the color to mine.)
  • Sandpaper in various grits (I used 60, 600, and 1500)
  • 1/4 inch MDF
  • Saw to cut wood with. (You'll be making 45° angle cuts, so for the complete noobs I will post a rant on the right saw for the job later.)

Step 1: The Gathering

Gather the tools and materials for the job.

The picture here is of the chair rail I chose. Chair rail is great for making picture frames because there is a recession in the wood already for holding wainscotting to walls. You can take advantage of that for your picture/certificate frame.

The glass I used was 11 x 14 x 1/8 inch standard pane. Salad Mixer tip of the day: Any glass and window repair places can cut a piece for you, just make sure to ask them to sand the edges down so you don't get cut handling it. (Salad Mixer did not say this and does not participate in any tips of the day)

Now for the saw you use...DO NOT USE A JIGSAW, BANDSAW, OR SCROLL SAW! I mean, you can, but no one should be that masochistic. Those saws are designed to assist in making curvy cuts and curvy is not what you want for a joint. Unless you're a pro, you will end up with serious gaps in your wood joint and it won't look nice at all. Use a table saw, compound miter saw, or even a miter box with a hand saw. The quality of the frame will be much greater.

Another picture here is of a "Goofy clip" as I call them. I never can remember their actual name, which I believe is corrugated joint clips. I could be mistaken. The purpose of these is to not only pierce the wood and hold the joint together, but they also have a bevel on the shapes. The blade side is wider than the back. This will suck the two pieces of wood together tighter the more it's hammered in the wood.

Step 2: The Cutting

Measure your glass/acrylic sheet. This number crunching, for most, is the difference between a "It will do" frame and a "Wow! That's great!" frame. Now, the chair rail has a lip to it that will extend over the sheet of glass/plastic you use. That means you do not measure the wood from end to end but from the edge of the lip to the end.

The Salad Mixer tip of the day is Pythagorean's Theorem of A squared plus B squared equals C squared. (NOTE: Salad Mixer does not offer tips of the day, nor does it understand Algebra) This means if you have a 1 1/2 inch wide piece of wood, like I did, then the 45° angle should measure just shy of 2 1/8 inches if it is a true 45° angle. My milled board also had a 1/4 inch lip to it. So...

1 1/2" - 1/4" = 1 1/4" (negate the lip)

(1 1/4" * 2) + measurement of the side of the glass = Overall length/width of the frame = Long side of the cut

My glass was 11" on one side and 14" on the other, so I needed 2 pieces measuring 13 1/2" or slightly larger and 2 pieces measuring 16 1/2" or slightly larger. It's better to have about an 1/8" of play for the glass to float inside the frame or the pressure from being held firmly can shatter it during humid or hot days. So, 13 5/8" and 16 5/8" are the absolutes I went to hit.

Now that's long side measurements. I'm not going to bother working out the short side measurements for you. Salad Mixer says you should already know that the short side measurements are the measurements of the glass plus 1/8th inch. (NOTE: Salad Mixer is getting tired of being misrepresented and did not say this)

Step 3: Hammertime *breaks Out Dancing*

Once you have your pieces cut, you need to assemble it. Short to long, short to long. Salad Mixer says If it don't look right, it ain't right. (Salad Mixer has never said this and is offended at the implication of poor grammar)

The trick to this, I've found and use, is to put a piece of tape along the side over the corners. It will act as a makeshift hinge so you can layout the pieces where they need to be for a dry fit, then open the angle up for the glue and put it back together without worry of shifting the angle wrong. Once you have a corner glued, then it's time to hammer in the "goofy clip". Whack it. No, really....whack it good. The harder the wood is, the more that clip will resist. It's good to use a deadblow hammer for this because the force supplied will reverberate back into the regular hammer. If you're using a regular hammer, beat the p*** out of it. Try not to crack the wood though. You'll notice the more the clip gets driven in, the more glue will squeeze out. Don't worry about this until the clip is flush with the face. Once the clip is fully in, wipe the excess glue and move on to the next joint. Rinse, lather, repeat...rinse, lather, repeat.

Step 4: The End Is Nigh!!!!

Fantastic! You haven't died yet! Great news. Salad Mixer is proud of you! (NOTE: Salad Mixer is proud of no one)

Now it's time to sand. Everything. Right now. Get to it. There's no trick to this. Just sand it. Start course, work finer. Work it until you can run your finger across it and feel no bumps. Once you've finished that, you need to remove the fine dust with a tack cloth or blow it off with an air compressor or the stain/polyurethane won't cover correctly and it'll look weird.

Step 5: The Finish

Since I have a spray can of stain/poly, I needed to elevate it so I could spray around the whole frame. I got a 2x4 for that...

Important for spray cans, spray in bursts. As you're spraying, sweep the can. One solid motion. Don't hold down on the button. You will overspray and have runs in your coat. As soon as you start to spray, sweep left to right and stop. Then sweep right to left and stop. Keep an eye out for the surface of the material you're spraying. If it looks wet, stop. Let it dry before continuing to spray. Runs in the finish mean you have to sand it heavily in that area to even it out and it's a pain in the a**. Take your time, sweep the spray, let it dry. Light sanding in between coats is necessary to make it smooth as a baby's bottom. Spray it, sand it, tack cloth the dust, spray it again.

Once the finish is the desired thickness, color, or smoothness, give it one final coat of spray without sanding.

Step 6: That's Done. So Now to Fill It...

Now it's time to put your stuffs in the thing. Cut the thick paper stock to hold your picture/certificate/coin/whatever just right. Cut it, stick it in the frame, assess it to see if that's what you want and if not, do it over. It's not rocket science. Make it pretty for you. That's what this is about anyway.

Step 7: Thanks for Checking This Out

Frame is done. Everything looks nice and now you're ready to put it on the wall. So, measure the halfway point of the frame and put a mark. Take the sawtooth hanger and match it's midpoint dot to the mark you just made, then mark the holes for the nails. I predrilled my nail holes because I used Oak. Hardwoods will bend small nails easily so I suggest predrilling holes SMALLER in diameter to the nails you're using. Then hang it on the wall and admire it. You did good work. Be proud. Salad Mixer is proud of you

(NOTE: Salad Mixer, for the last time, is not proud of anyone. Including the author for unauthorized use of likeness to our product and brand)

Nice looking frame. Just so happens, I'm from the janesville area as well. Thanks for sharing

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Bio: I build stuff. I enjoy watching others build stuff. I see what others build and it inspires a project out of myself. I tend to ... More »
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