- Hope that the picture is a "standard size" and buy an off-the-shelf frame, or, frame sections...
- Get someone - whether a shop or a bored relative - to frame it for you...
- Build your own frame *exactly* how you want it
I recently acquired a signed print from one of my favorite artists (Chris Sanders) and decided to build a custom frame for it. Over the years, I've built quite a few frames and have adopted my own design elements that, for me, have resulted in strong, light, clean frames that usually have an element of the framed piece incorporated into them. Granted, these design elements add a little bit of time to the construction of the frames, but for me, the extra time is worth it.
So let's get to it.
Supplies you will need:
Wood of your choice (in this case some Poplar I had lying around)
Finish of your choice (in this case I used rattle-can paint (Krylon brand) and acrylic airbrush paints)
Glue (wood glue, polyurethane, or epoxy)
Small screws (preferably shorter than 1/2" and smaller than or equal to #6)
A suitable mounting substrate (like foam-core or Gatorboard)
Spray Adhesive (I used 3M #45 General Purpose Adhesive)
Blue Painter's Tape
Cost is actually pretty low assuming you have some of these supplies already lying around. The wood probably cost around $8, the spray paints about $8, the acrylic and Gatorboard were scraps. Overall, I'd say that you should expect to spend around $30-$40 for something this size (13" x 23") and more for something larger.
Step 1: Mount the Art
When mounting the print, you have two options:
1) Spray the adhesive and while it's still tacky, apply it to the general center of your backing material - and then trim to size once it's dry, or
2) Figure out your layout, cut your backing to size, set up registration points (tape strips), spray the adhesive and while it's still tacky, very carefully place the print.
Either way will work - there's just more waste in the first method and more risk of possibly damaging the print when you get to the "trim to size" step - but it's a lot more forgiving should your placement be less than ideal. I'm demonstrating one possible way to achieve the second method.
Step 2: Stock Preparation
If you don't have a jointer and planer, you can either be really picky when you're picking through the lumber pile, or have a cabinet shop or lumber yard dress out the wood for you.
Step 3: Building the Frame
It could be argued that all you really need to do with a miter joint on a picture frame is glue it since it's not like the frame is going to take a beating ..... but it would be a weak argument as end-grain to end-grain joints are the weakest kind, and if the wood were to move (swell and shrink) with humidity changes, you might end up with a self-destructing frame. Frame shops use "angle nails" and a special press to reinforce their corners, and they work pretty well. For me, if the frame is wide enough, I'll use a biscuit joiner - but if it's less than 3", I use a spline to reinforce the corners.