Introduction: How to Make a Custom Picture Frame (for a Star Wars Picture)

Picture of How to Make a Custom Picture Frame (for a Star Wars Picture)

It's easy to make a customer picture frame bezel using matboard (that thick picture framing bezel board) and a laser cutter.  This will create a much presentable souvenir for your Star Wars (or other themed) photo opportunity.

I made it at TechShop. So, I had access to laser cutters and other cool tools.
http://www.techshop.ws/

See my video for the steps in action.




Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

You'll need the following materials and tools to get started:

* Picture: I got a souvenir picture from the DisneyWorld ‘Star Tours’ (Star Wars) ride.  It was about 8x9 inches.
* Frame: Measure your picture and get a frame that allows for 1-½ to 2 inches of bezel around your visible photo. This will allow room for the design. (Tip: hobby/craft stores always have sales and coupons!)
* Matboard: Thick paper/cardstock used in picture framing.  Get the same size or larger as your picture frame.  Also, found at the big hobby/craft stores (e.g., Michael's, Hobby Lobby).
* Laser cutter
* Computer with Vector Drawing/Design Software (e.g., Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator)
* Themed vector artwork - in my case I’m using Star Wars and DinseyWorld artwork

Step 2: Create Your Design

Picture of Create Your Design

Layout your design in Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator.

Key tips:
* Create new document with dimensions of your frame (not the picture). For example, I used a 12x12 inches frame, so I set up the document to be 12x12 inches.
* Copy your photo in actual size to the document.  (Mine was printed by Disney, so I scanned it in for layout purposes.)  This helped layout the designs and let me preview how everything worked together.
* Copy in and lay out artwork.  (Tip: search web for free-to-use vector artwork.)
  - This artwork will be etched into the matboard bezel, so you will likely make this black (or the color that tells the laser printer to etch vs. cut).
* Create cut line.  This is the inner line that will reveal your picture within the bezel.  Note: I had to shape it around my artwork that intentionally overlapped into the picture.  If your matboard is larger than your frame, also create an outer cut line.
  - should be a vector line/path.  Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator automatically draw vector shapes.
  - depending on your laser cutter's instructions, the stroke line will likely need to thin ("hairline" or "0.25 inches") and red (R=255, G=0, B=0)

Step 3: Make Your Customer Bezel

Picture of Make Your Customer Bezel

Following your laser cutter's directions, you’re ready to etch and cut your custom bezel out of matboard.  You may need to use trial-and-error to get the power settings optimized for your laser cutter.

I used a Trotec laser cutter with the following settings for matboard:

Cut (red):
PWR= 68
SPD=3
PPI=5000
Pass=1

Etch (black):
PWR= 50
SPD=40
PPI=500

I recommend doing some test runs of a small vector image until you like your laser settings. I often tweak the settings slightly each time depending on the exact matboard.  (You can test a piece you plan to use by etching in the center that you’ll discard anyway.)

Step 4: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

Put together your picture, bezel, and frame.  As seen in video, I tape my picture to the matboard bezel and then put in the frame.

Hang it up and enjoy!

Comments

About This Instructable

1,777views

8favorites

License:

More by massivemusicgeek:How To Make A Custom Picture Frame (for a Star Wars Picture)How To Make Custom Drink Coasters (Using a Laser Cutter)
Add instructable to: