Introduction: Metal Framed Movie Posters

I wanted to decorate the lounge at the makerspace with some nice movie posters, but didn't want to spend a bundle on professional framing. I also wanted something that goes with our grey metal ascetic.

The result is a unique set of frames that look great and won't break the bank.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

  • 1 Sheet of 1/2" thick MDF - 49" x 97". You'll use 2/3 of a sheet for each frame, so if you are doing 6 frames you'll need 4 sheets
  • 1 Can of 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive
  • 1 Can "Dark Steel" Rust-Oleum Spray Paint
  • 50' Roll of 4" Galvanized Flashing. You'll use 142" per poster.
  • 260 1/2" #8 Lath Screws. You'll use 54 per poster.
  • 3 8-32 1/4" T Nuts
  • 3 8-32 Pan Head Screws
  • 2 8-32 Washers
  • 2 Picture Hanging D-Rings (Heavy Duty)
  • 100 Grit Sanding Block
  • Circular Saw or Table Saw
  • 4' Ruler
  • 1' Square
  • Box Cutter
  • Hammer
  • Screw Driver
  • Drill
  • Nut Driver (Optional)
  • Tin Snips
  • J-Roller
  • Two Sided Bastard File
  • 5/8" Paddle Bit
  • 3/16" Drill Bit
  • 5/32" Drill Bit
  • Black Sharpie Marker

Step 2: Cut, Sand & Paint

a. Cut two pieces of MDF.
Backboard - 42" x 29"
Poster Backing - Exact Size of Poster (Usually 40" x 27" -or- 24" x 36" )

b. Sand the edges of the MDF with the 100 grit sanding block.

c. Spray the edges of both the backboard and the poster backing with Rust-Oleum "Dark Steel" Spray Paint.

d. Wait for the paint to dry.

Step 3: Measure & Cut

a. Measure and cut the galvanized steel trim.
Be careful because this stuff is very sharp.

I usually mark the length with a small scratch using a box knife or scribe, then use the square to make sure that the cut is straight and true. I then use the tin snips to make the cut.

If you have access to a sheet metal break, this would be a great place to use it.

When you are done you should have:

  • 2x 42" Strips
  • 2x 29" Strips

Step 4: Spray Adhesive on Metal Strips

a. Use the 3M Super 77 adhesive spray add adhesive to the metal strips.
The working time for this adhesive is between 30 seconds and 15 minutes, so wait at least 30 seconds for the adhesive to set.

Step 5: Align, Roll & File Galvanized Flashing

a. Carefully align the metal strips and press them to the backplate.
Make sure the backplate is free of dust.

b. Use the J-roller and heavy pressure to make sure that the adhesive is set.

c. File sharp edges.
Use your two sided bastard file to remove any sharp edges from the galvanized flashing. If you do this as you go, it may save you from cutting your fingers.

On my frames I put the left and right side down first, then the top and bottom.

When you are done, you should have a backplate that looks like the one above.

Step 6: Measure & Mark Screw Locations

a. Measure out 1/2" from the top and bottom on each side. Make a small mark with a sharpie marker.

b. Align the ruler on the right hand mark.
If you look at the picture you can see I aligned it at the 1 1/2" marking on the ruler, this makes it easy to remember where to put the screw holes.

c. On the top and bottom of the backplate (NOT the right and left) put a mark on the backplate every 2" starting at the 2" mark.

d. On the right and left align the ruler with the first hole marking you made on the top and the bottom. This is the marking that is 1/2" from the edge on both sides.

e. Make a mark every 4" until you get to the last mark. This mark will be 5" from the top. Don't worry about it, no one will notice.

f. (Optional) Add additional screws.
On my frames I also added a mark at 3 1/2" from the top and bottom on both sides. This looks good and helps to hold down the galvanized strips on the top and bottom.

When you are done you should have a backplate with Sharpie marks everywhere you want to put a screw. Take your time to make sure everything is aligned and like you want it. If you have excess Sharpie marks take them off with little Acetone.

Step 7: Drive Screws

a. Using your drill or a nut driver, drive a 1/2" #8 screw in everywhere you marked the backplate.

Step 8: Align, Drill & Countersink Alignment Holes

a. Align the poster backing on the backplate.
Be sure it is 100% straight and centered.

If you have a 27" x 40" poster, you'll have exactly 1" of clearance on each side. If you have 24" x 36" you'll have 2 1/2" on the top/bottom and 3" on the left/right.

b. Use your square and mark the alignment holes with a tiny sharpie dot.
You're going to put three holes in the setup. The bottom hole will be used to keep the poster backing from separating from the backplate over time. The top two holes will be used to hold the poster backing to the backplate and to hang the frame.

The top holes will be 9" from the top of the BACKPLATE (NOT the poster backing) and 4 1/2" from the right and left of the BACKPLATE.

The bottom hole will be on the center line (21" from the side of the backplate) and 9" from the bottom of the backplate.

c. Drill a 3/16" hole through both the poster backing and the backplate.
Be sure not to let the poster backing move (you may want to clamp them togehter) because you need all 3 holes to aligh perfectly.

d. Use the 5/8" paddle bit to countersink (DO NOT DRILL THROUGH!) the hole in the front of the poster backing.
This allows the T-nut to sit flush with the poster backing.

e. Pound in the T-nuts with a hammer.

Step 9: Flip Frame, Secure Poster Backing and Add D-rings

a. Flip the frame over and re-align the poster backing.

b. Screw backplate to poster backing.
On the bottom hole use two #8-32 washers and sink a #8-32 machine screw.

On the top holes secure the D-rings with the #8-32 machine screws then align the D-rings and screw in the two #8-32 wood screws.

Step 10: Glue Poster to Poster Backing

a. Flip the frame back over.
It should now be pretty much done with the exception of adding the poster.

b. Spray the back of the poster with 3M Super 77 adhesive.
Wait at least 30 seconds.

c. Align and roll poster onto poster backing (REQUIRES HELPER).
I'm pretty sure you can't do this next step without a helper or some kind of complex jig. Have a helper hold the top corners of the poster while you align the bottom.

You are going to attach the poster at the bottom, then carefully roll up the poster. Don't get in a hurry here and just stick the whole thing on.

IMPORTANT: Take your time to align the bottom carefully. Even the smallest mis-alignment at the bottom will cause the poster to be crooked. Seriously, take your time. Maybe practice with a Star Wars Episode I poster that belongs in the dumpster anyway.

d. Gradually roll the poster onto the poster backing using your J-roller.
The goal is to prevent air bubbles from forming between the poster and the poster backing.

Step 11: Hang Finished Posters

The finished posters can be hung using standard picture hanging techniques. As you can see from the detail shot, they have depth and an attractive modern look.