Introduction: How to Make a 'Nature Frame'

This is a tutorial on how to turn a stick into a rustic looking picture frame.

Things you'll need:

  • A stick
  • Glue
  • Table saw
  • Some scraps small scraps of wood
  • 2 short screws "1/2
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • A piece of glass or Plexiglas

Step 1: Get a Stick

Look for the straightest stick you can find that is about 3' long

This one was 1-1/2" to 2" in diameter and 34" long

Step 2: Crosscut Your Stick Into 4 Pieces

The long pieces want to be about 12" long

The short pieces want to be about 8" long

Step 3: Cut a Flat Into Your Pieces

Set your fence so that you're taking off about 1/4" of the diameter of the stick. The exact about is not critical.

Because you're using a work piece that is uneven its especially important to use a safety pusher and any other equipment that will protect you from a slip.

Step 4: Miter Your Pieces to 45 Degrees

If you want to hold a 4 x 6 picture you want to make the inside dimension of your miters a little less that 4" on the short pieces and a little less than 6" on the long pieces.

I did this by cutting the bulk of the material off at a dimension a little longer than what i wanted and then did a second pass to trim to a more precise dimension.

Step 5: Set Up Your Table Saw to Cut a 1/4" Rabbet

Set up your table saw to cut a 1/4" rabbet by moving your fence 1/4" from the blade and setting your blade height to 1/4"

Before you cut your stick do a practice cut on some spare wood.

Run the piece through, rotate it 90 degrees and the run it though again to remove the 1/4" square section

Step 6: Make This Rabbet on All 4 Pieces

I like to error on the side of removing too little material and then trimming out what I missed with a utility knife.

Step 7: Cut a Key Groove

So that this nature frame is nice and strong we're going to join the miters with wooden keys.

To do this we need to make a groove that the keys will go into.

To make things easy, just leave the table saw as it was set up for the 1/4" rabbet and run your pieces through again but this time with the 45 miter flat against the table saw bed, and the other flat against the fence.

This is one of those operations that you want tom make sure you're pushing your piece through with a 'chicken stick' or other piece of safety equipment that will keep your fingers a little further away from the blade.

Step 8: Make Your Keys and Use Them to Fit Up Your Frame

Cut some keys out of same spare wood you have laying around. These keys want to be a little shy of 1/2" and just slightly thinner than the kerf of your blade. Make them way longer than they need to be and trim them later (about 3")

Once the keys are cut you can fit up your frame by sanding and trimming as necessary. During this fit up process it is important to remember that you are building a nature frame from a stick you just found and not an aircraft part. Its ok if things don't fit exactly.

Step 9: Glue in the Keys and Trim Flush

Once you're happy with the fitup you can glue in your keys.

When the glue dries trim them flush to the bark.

Step 10: Cut Your 'glass'

DONT cut glass on a table saw this is Plexiglas.

Don't cut this piece based off of what math tells you it should be. Measure the as built dimensions of the frame and cut your Plexiglas to those dimensions.

Step 11: Assemble Your Nature Frame, Hang on Wall.

I cut two slices off my stick to act as retention tabs that hold in the Plexiglass, picture and some cardboard pieces.

The tabs are attached by two (2) 1/2" long screws

Assemble your nature frame like you would any other frame