Introduction: Cheap, Classy, Frameless Frame for Any Poster/photo/picture
I went to the premier of The Hobbit in IMAX, and they handed me a set of four posters. These posters were both really cool and a really awkward size (13.5" x 19.5" - not a standard poster size at all). After looking at some options online, I decided I'd be better off trying to come up with something myself. I got the idea from the "frameless" poster frames available on some sites - they're pretty cheap but the shipping was prohibitively expensive.
This is a secure way to hang most posters, and I think it looks rather classy. The materials totalled only about $10 per poster.
(Note: the glass is a little rough on the top and right sides; this is something I'll fix when I have time - and I'll tell you how to avoid that problem altogether)
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Step 1: Materials
There are really only three materials required.
Materials you need to buy
- A pane of glass
- An illustration board, or similarly sturdy/thin backing like chipboard.
- Presentation clips
Materials you already have
The price of these depends on the size of the poster. For me, the glass was about $6 at Lowes, the illustration board was $3 at a local art supply store, and the presentation clips were about $3 for an assortment on Amazon.
Note: You should really decide what size glass you need before you go pick it up. Most places will cut it for you very cheaply ($0.25 where I went). I didn't do this and cut it myself with a hand glass cutter, which is not nearly as smooth or accurate as the guided cutting systems they have at hardware and craft stores. You have been warned.
Also Note: Presentation clips are just silver binder clips. They're a few cents more and I thought they looked nicer. You can use any sort of clip like this that you want, but in my opinion silver looks better, and the profile of presentation clips lends itself to this application. Also, I bought a variety of sizes and found that the "mini" size by Acco worked very well - it held fast and is small enough to not distract from the poster.
- Glass cutter (see note, I recommend against this)
- Matt cutter
- Picture hanging hardware
Step 2: Size and Cut Backing Board (and Glass If Necessary)
This should really be done before you buy your glass, so that you can get exactly the size glass to cover it.
I went for about a 1/4" border around the poster, almost like a matt board. Note that I'm using a white illustration board here, but if you're using something else you may want to put some paper between the poster and the backing board to give it a nice border. You don't have to have a border at all; but keep in mind that if you don't, the clips will cover some of the poster.
I scored the line first with a knife, then folded the board along the line and finished the cut and cleaned up the edge. It pays to be careful here, you want a very straight and square edge - if you have a mat cutter, now would be the time to use it!
If for some reason you want to cut your glass yourself:
I also added a picture of the glass and glass cutter - but really, get this done professionally unless you're a stained-glass master or something. If you do it yourself, a straight glass cutter is better than one of the angled ones, and you want a nice heavy ball on the end to tap out cuts. Score cleanly and forcefully - it should sound like a zipper if you do it right. Only make cuts from one end of the glass to the other, don't stop in the middle. Then hold the large piece of glass and press on the piece you want to remove. It should pop off easily - if you have to press too hard, you didn't score it right. One of those specialty glass-cutting pliers is good for removing any stubborn bits.
But really, don't do this yourself. It's only $0.25 to get it done professionally, and it will inevitably be better.
Step 3: Add Wall Hooks
Decide how you're going to hang the poster, and make holes where the back should attach. (I used a screwdriver for this). You could go with a couple of holes or many, depending on the size of the poster and the clips.
The holes should be just large enough to fit the two ends of one of the "handles" from a binder clip. (See picture - you squeeze them and then you can remove them from the presentation clip) I recommend taking the handles from bigger clips; they're stronger.
Squeeze the two ends of the clip together as much as possible (I used pliers), and stick them through the hole. When they're through, they should expand again and you'll have loops on the back of the board that you can use to hang the poster.
After that, I taped them town on the poster side of the board so they don't accidentally poke what you're trying to hang. If that's a huge concern, you might consider putting a whole layer of something else in between (acid-free paper?).
I added lots of pictures so hopefully this step isn't confusing. And hey - you're reusing the parts from the presentation clips that would otherwise go to waste!
Step 4: Assemble, Mount on Wall, Add Spacers
Now you're ready to assemble the frame!
Make sure the glass is clean, and then layer the backing board (and any paper in between if you're using it), the poster, and the glass.
Clip the presentation clips around the perimeter, holding the layers together. It's probably best to use two per corner, but anything that will hold everything in place is fine.
Then, remove all of the handles from all of the presentation clips, so that it looks nicer.
Add the hardware to the wall to mount the frame (I just use those cheap hooks that come with small nails)
Take two of the presentation clip handles and bend them, and reattach them to the clips on the bottom. Then you can control the space from the wall, so that the whole frame is a uniform distance away.
You're done! Poster frames for about $10 a piece.
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