Nice Picture Frame From 1 X 2




Introduction: Nice Picture Frame From 1 X 2

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

When I have made a picture frame it was always from wood with a molded decorative curve, like a Roman Ogee. I got an idea for a frame made from plain flat 1 x 2 lumber. The wood I used is not just a firring strip, but is more finished. You could rip your own.

Step 1: My Miter Sled and Making Compound Miters

I used a table saw I made myself with a Porter-Cable circular saw. Here is a link to how it is made. The photo here shows the miter sled I made for it from bedframe and 1 x 2 wood trimmed for accuracy. I get very accurate results with it. An electric miter saw would be an easy way to cut the compound miters needed, but I do not have one. Set the fences to hold the 1 x 2 so the outer edge is elevated as shown in the second through the fourth photos.

The second photo shows a steel piece I made to hold the outer edge of the frame pieces so they are elevated at 20 degrees. The third photo shows this piece and a piece of flat steel the same thickness so the edge of the frame piece is parallel to the miter sled edge. The fourth photo shows a frame piece in position for sawing. Feed the frame piece into the saw blade slowly and let the blade do the cutting. Some cuts will need to be made from the opposite leg of the miter sled.

I would eventually like to make something more permanent for holding the wood while cutting compound miters.

Step 2: Jig for Fitting and Gluing

The first photo shows the jig I made for gluing up the corners. I cut a corner on a piece of scrap wood with straight edges so the corner is exactly 90 degrees and marked it. It is attached to a base board on which the frame pieces can rest during fit up and drying. See the second photo. I embedded a T-nut in the base and screwed a threaded stud into it. The top of the stud has a rounded dome for supporting the frame piece from beneath. There is another T-nut and domed stud for the other corner. I adjusted them so they hold the outer edge of the frame pieces at the same angle as when they were cut. When adjusted just right, the mitered corner should be very tight. The third photo shows 20 degree wedges to provide a flat surface for the C-clamps holding the frame pieces during gluing. The fourth photo shows frame pieces with edges elevated by the domed studs and held with C-clamps supported by the 20 degree wedges.

Step 3: Make the Joint Fit Tightly

Even though you were careful, little inaccuracies can happen and make slight gaps in the joint. If joints are not as tight as you would like, run a fine saw between the two pieces to make the joint edges parallel and even. Repeat if necessary. Remove as little material as possible. Notice the nice parallel joint edges in the second photo. Notice that I cut a void for the blade to move in the squared piece of scrap.

Step 4: Glue Each Corner

I would have liked a way to glue all four corners at once. I know there are clamps for such things. But, I wanted to take the time to get each corner right, even if that meant gluing the corners one at a time and letting each dry before gluing the next corner. In the photo three corners have been glued. The one in the upper left is not yet glued, but they are fitting pretty well. I did need to manipulate the fourth corner a little, but not much.

Step 5: Make a Recess for the Glass, the Picture, and the Backing

I debated with myself about whether to cut the recesses before gluing the frame pieces, or after the whole frame had been glued up. I opted for gluing first and cutting the recess afterward.

I placed the frame on a router table after the glue was thoroughly dried and cured. I took very light cuts with the router bit so the router did not catch wood and pull violently. Put the outer edge of the frame against the fence and gently, but firmly lower it onto the spinning bit. Slide left and right to cut the recess.

Step 6: Square the Corners

I used a handheld wood chisel to square each corner. Sand the frame smooth. Stain and varnish or paint as desired.

I did not add splines or nails or dowels to strengthen the frame. The glued joints seem strong enough. But, those things are options.

Step 7: Final Result

The photo is on my saw table, but you can see the raised effect from common 1 x 2. It makes a very pleasing frame.

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    1 year ago

    Lots of good tips - thanks for sharing! :D

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you.