Custom Wooden Picture Frame

Turning an unfinished 5"x7" picture frame into a custom work of art. This frame was a purchase from a hobby store for under 10$ and I've got some left over stain from other projects that will help in the overall scheme.

Step 1: Materials

In the past I've repurposed picture frames by sanding or striping and restaining to my needs. In this project I'm starting with a raw unfinished frame; however, one could use any old wood frame and repurpose with the sanding or stripping method.

You'll need the frame, your choice on size and previous finished or new.

Pencil for scribing your design and a ruler for straight lines.

A rotary tool with carving and sanding bits or a set of hand carving tools and sandpaper.

Wood stain. I will be using two contrasting colors.


Small water color paint brushes and regular size for polyurethane clear coat.

Step 2: Design Application

Apply your design. I've used a grid to keep my letters straight. My frame came with key hole hangers so make sure your grid is going to be lined up with the hangers.

Step 3: Carving

Use rotary tool with carving bit to trace the outlines of your design then use an eraser to remove the grid design. Finish carving to your desired depth and design.

Best advise I can give for the carving is slow and steady pace for best results.

Then prepare for finish with sanding if you desire

Step 4: Sanding

I've used a sanding bit on the rotary tool and som scrap sandpaper to even out the carved design.

Step 5: Stain and Clear Coat

I'm going to use two contrasting stains and polyurethane.

The stains are golden oak and colonial maple. They will be applied with the small water color brushes. I suppose if one is steady handed enough they could use all the same sized brushes. I on the other hand, require small brushes for the stain.

After dry, coat with polyurethane with regular sized brush.



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