Industrial Picture Frame




Introduction: Industrial Picture Frame

This is an easy and cheap industrialish picture/poster frame I came up with a while back - it uses 1/8" thick 3/4" wide flat aluminum stock and some little alligator spring clamps; all of which you can pick up at Home Depot and the like. I've used this on larger (20"x30") pictures but here I'm showing some smaller prints, whatever the size the method is the same.

Step 1: Parts

  • 4’ of 1/8” thick 3/4” wide flat aluminum stock | Home Depot, etc.
  • Alligator spring clamps | Home Depot, etc.
  • Parts cost - ~$13.00 | enough to do 3 8”x10” pictures
Note: the picture that is being framed is a slightly modified version of this iStock vector illustration.

Step 2: Cut to Size

Cut the aluminum to size - they need to be as long (or wide, depending on orientation) as your picture. These pieces will be placed on the top and bottom of the picture, so measure accordingly. I used a miter box and a hack saw for the cutting:

Step 3: File

After cutting the aluminum to length it's a good idea to file the ends, to get rid of any burs:

Step 4: Clean

Clean the aluminum - I used a special aluminum cleaning chamber but you could get by with a bathroom sink, soap and water:

Step 5: Foam Core

To add some rigidity (so it does not slouch) to the hanging picture, we'll use foam core board:

  • Measure and cut the foam core so it's the same size (maybe slightly smaller) than your photo.

Step 6: Prep the Clamps

Next, we prepare the clamps. The ones I got from Home Depot have a neon green plastic cover that I removed:

Step 7: Bring It All Together

The only thing left is to do is clamp the aluminum, picture and form core board together.

Note: I've found on larger pictures I've had to glue the picture to the foam board using spray adhesive for best results.



    • Tiny Home Contest

      Tiny Home Contest
    • Creative Misuse Contest

      Creative Misuse Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest

    49 Discussions

    Very cool and very good instructable. Might I suggest instead of the clips you use to use Binder clips. I used some large ones to hold up a small oriental rug so I could hang it on my door. The binder clips have the advantage of your being able to remove the shiny handles so that only the blackened clip part remains. If you don't want to remove the handles you can just fold them in towards the artwork.

    Woah! I believe my husband would love these in his office. Do you make & sell these?

     I like the clips but I think you should try something with some sort of screw system, big bolts or something kind of gaudy like that to look even more industrial, also If you would happen to have a digital copy of the art that's on those sheets I would like it, very cool

    1 reply

    That's a good idea.

    I bough the image from iStock and I though I have a copy of it I can't distribute it in the manner your asking me to. You can grab a copy for yourself from iStock for cheap.

    I've been looking all over for quick and easy, cool frame ideas, because I can't afford custom framing right now-- why didn't I come to Instructables first? Mada, this is fantastic. I can't wait to try. I kind of want to keep the rubber on the alligator clips-- the green color is fun. THANKS!

    1 reply

    Update: I did this with a bigger picture (24"x30"). I left the small green plastic piece on the alligator clamps for grip, and left off the aluminum stock. I cut down a plexiglass piece to cover the art and protect it. I think it looks great! Thanks again for the idea.

    I have some cool black and white photos of Violent Femmes band pictures I wanted to frame. Do you think clamps will hold weight of glass?...What about using recycled clips from old multiple pants hangers?

    1 reply

    I'm sure they will... You;d probably have to put some rubber grips on the side of the clip that touched the glass. Any clip that can hold the weight should do.

    Well it was too obvious. So much so that I thought, 'Nah, that would be too obvious...' Seriously. We should find a way to securely mount it so that the nail on the wall would be completely inconspicuous and would make the alligator clips seem like they were totally there for 'the art' and the aesthetics moreso than 'the function'. thank you.

    1 reply

    well.. the clamps/clips are there for the "the art" and aesthetics... otherwise I would have glued (or something) the aluminum to the frame.

    If you look at the pic you can see that you can't see the nail at all. Unless the picture was hung closer to the ground no one would see the nail.


    how did you mount these frames onto a wall? It should have been included in your step