So, why not make your own old window picture frame? I think I will!
**Note, the large image below is actually not my own work, but that of a professional artist that my family purchased some time ago. The secondary image, beneath the large image is an example of a window picture frame that I made with a friend. The professional one looks prettier...as you'd expect, so that's why I'm showing it below.**
Step 1: Materials
- an old wooden window. In the bay area I know of no better place to get old wooden frames then Urban Ore just off Ashby Ave. in Berkeley. They have tons there, just watch out for the lead paint!
- backer board - could be masonite, foam board, or even cardboard, pretty much anything thin you've got lying around
- the artwork
- a matte cut to fit the artwork
- paint (if you want to repaint the frame)
- painters tape (if you want to repaint the frame)
- sandpaper (if you want to repaint the frame)
- razor blade and/or scraper (if you want to repaint the frame)
- glaziers points or finishing nails to seal the thing up
- picture hanging wire and wire mounting hardware to hang it
- brown paper to make it look like a pro job on the back
Step 2: Strip down the frame
The easiest way to do this is to simply take a sander to the window (angle grinders with sanding disks attached to them work the fastest) and begin to remove the paint from the window. Start with a rough grit paper (80 or 120) and finish up with something finer (180 or 220).
Use a razor blade to scrape off any crusty old paint or caulking from the glass surface as well.
Even though I've done this a couple different times on various old windows, I can't seem to dig up the step by step photos that accompany this specific part of the process. My deepest apologies. Please forward any questions about how to strip and paint the frame my way.
Step 3: Paint the frame
Two coats of paint look best, any less doesn't cover well, and too much more starts to look heavy.
Step 4: Cut a backer board and matte
I cut it down to the exact interior dimension of the window on the table saw. The matte was professionally cut at a craft store so that it would fit in place snugly. Michael's cuts mattes for not too much money, as will any other framing shop as well.
If you're going to do a bunch of framing, I highly recommend investing in a matte cutter that you can use at home. Cutting your own mattes saves a lot of money, is way more convenient, and allows you to make any size matte you like! My Dad has one and it has paid for itself many times over on framing projects.
Step 5: Assemble
Place the artwork and matte into the window frame. Then lay the backer board down behind them.
Step 6: Glaziers points
They can be pushed into position around the artwork using a glaziers point tool, or by some other hard object, like an aluminum bracket, which is pictured below.
Once the points are in you can use brown paper and more double stick tape to cover and seal the back of the frame. This is optional, and doesn't effect the finished product at all, but if you're giving it as a gift it can really class things up a bit.