Introduction: Making a Frame From Crown Molding

About: Illustrator, observer, layman scientist, collector based out of Oakland, CA. Enjoys long walks through the woods and eating whole watermelons in one sitting.

Making your own frames is surprisingly difficult. These frames are for more decoration than entirely structurally sound (so do not try to hang a Picasso or a 50 lb piece of steel in one of these).

But they can be used to gaudy up any space and make you realize how hard it is to get perfect 45° cuts! But fear not. It can be done, and when it can't, thats what glue and wood filler is for. 

Step 1: The Materials

Crown molding; crown moulding if you're british. 
Wood glue
Brad or nail gun
Skill saw & stop
Plexiglass or glass to size
Glazing points
Wire/hanging mechanism
Backing board. 

- Crown Molding; when buying lengths, keep in mind that material will be lost for corners. You will need more than you expect (based on sight alone). 

Use this formula: total footage needed = [(width of moulding x 8) + (height of frame x 2) + (width of frame x 2)] / 12

So for a 12 x 14" (interior size) frame with 2" molding :

(2 x 8) + (12 x 2) + (14 x 2) = 68" of material 

Step 2: Cutting Your Pieces

The easiest way to do this is to make a stop for the skill saw. This can be as simple as a clamped block of wood that stays put for each identical length. 

Set your saw to a 45º angle and keep it there for all cutting. You will need to remove the angle from the same sides to ensure that the pattern on the crown molding matches when you assemble the frame. So your sides must both be angled identically to mirror each other. 

NOTES: One trouble with crown molding is the unevenness. Often the larger kinds will have a lip, which makes it difficult to measure and mark correctly. However, this comes in handy for the frame itself to keep the glass in place. Keep the lip on the interior of the frame. Be sure to cut with the flat side on the table or your cuts will be beveled, which makes for impossible assembly. Using blocks or skill saw clamps negates the need for measuring & marking on the wood itself. 

Be sure to take into account the width of the saw blade. Skill saws will take off a good chunk of your line width if not factored in. If they are looser measurements, it's not as much of a concern. 

Step 3: Sanding

Sand. Pretty straightforward. 

Warning: do not get so carried away that your end up changing the angles. This is simply to get rid of burrs. 

Step 4: Glue & Clamp

Using strong wood glue (I used quick setting Gorilla wood glue, which sets in about 30 minutes and cures overnight), adhere each corner as lined up as possible. I smear with my finger to remove excess and get a more even coat. 

The pieces like to slide around and move out of place. Don't let them! They're fancy wood but you can tell them what to do. 

Use clamps to evenly apply pressure around the frame and keep squareness as it dries. You can also tape around the exterior of the whole frame to keep it in place. 

Step 5: Paint

This conveniently covers up stray glue, weird marks, and makes it more wonderfully gaudy. 

Step 6: Other Stuff!

Have plexiglass cut, or cut it yourself to fit. Plex isn't a MUST but it can be nice to avoid potential direct contact with your art, photo, diploma, signed letter from Beyonce. 

Insert glass, matte board (if wanted), thing being framed, backing board and finally glazing points. These are an inexpensive way to insure that your beautiful hard work doesn't fall out of the back. Here is a slow video about how to insert. You can also push in with a screwdriver or chisel. 

Attach wire or desire hanging mechanism to back.