Introduction: Make a Solid Wood Photo Frame

About: Happy in wood shavings YouTube: Patreon:

Dust off your woodworking tools and make an heirloom photo frame - ideal as a gift!

I'll show you how I made the mitred frame in the photograph, and with that knowledge you should be able to make your own, and even adapt the method to make different styles. All with strong halving joints that will last a lifetime and more.

Vote for it in the Homemade Gifts contest, if you like it :-)

Step 1: Stock Preparation and Rebate

Select some stock of about the thickness you want your frame, planing it flat and with squared edges

Squaring the edges is easy by raising the stock off the bench, and using a hand plane on it's side as shown, adjusting the blade so that it cuts at 90° to the bench

Use a rebate plane to run a rebate deep enough to take the photo', a backing card, and glass if required, on the long edges of one face of the stock (it's much easier to do this while the stock is oversize)

Use a panel gauge (, or similar, to mark the width of the frame sections, before ripping them from the stock.

Plane the sawn edges, which will be the outside edge of the frame, so that both lengths of frame stock are exactly the same width

Step 2: Cut Sides to Length

From the frame stock, cut two lengths each for the overall width and height of the frame

For accuracy, mark the second length directly from first, using a marking knife, saw marginally over size, and then use a plane and shooting board to square the ends back to the mark

Step 3: Create the Mitre Halving Joint

Use a mitre square and marking knife to mark in the mitre lines for each corner, on the front face of the frame pieces

Use a marking gauge to gauge a line halfway across the joint's thickness

Saw the mitres through to the gauged line on one half of each joint, and right through on the other half

Saw through the thickness of each half of the joints, to remove the waste and complete the halving joint as shown

For more detail see my joint video:

Step 4: Assemble

Check the fit of the four joints, and adjust as necessary

Apply adhesive and assemble


A large rubber (elastic) band can be stretched around the outside, then four small clamps can hold the halving faces together until cured

Leave to cure

Step 5: Flush All Joints

Use a card scraper to remove any glue squeeze out

Then flush the joints with a finely set hand plane, or abrasive paper on a sanding block

Step 6: Hanging the Frame

A great way to display the frame, is to flush mount it on a wall. This is easily achieved using a keyhole cutting router cutter, which leaves a pocket to hang on a screw head. See my instructable on flush hanging pictures:

Step 7: Retaining Contents

To retain the photo, backing card, and glass if used, I drill 2mm holes into the side of the rebate, into which can be pushed short lengths of hardwood cocktail sticks

Gauge the position such that the contents are just held, not squashed

Step 8: Finish

Complete with your chosen finish

I sprayed with Chestnut Finishes water based sealer, and lacquer, sanding in between coats

These can be brushed on, but my Apollo HVLP spray system made light work of it

Install your photo and hang on the wall!

Thanks for reading my Instructable

Vote for it in the Homemade Gifts contest, if you like it :-)

Merry Christmas!


Homemade Gifts Contest 2016

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2016