Making a Frame From Crown Molding




About: Illustrator, observer, layman scientist, collector based out of Oakland, CA. Enjoys long walks through the woods and eating whole watermelons in one sitting.

Making your own frames is surprisingly difficult. These frames are for more decoration than entirely structurally sound (so do not try to hang a Picasso or a 50 lb piece of steel in one of these).

But they can be used to gaudy up any space and make you realize how hard it is to get perfect 45° cuts! But fear not. It can be done, and when it can't, thats what glue and wood filler is for. 

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Step 1: The Materials

Crown molding; crown moulding if you're british. 
Wood glue
Brad or nail gun
Skill saw & stop
Plexiglass or glass to size
Glazing points
Wire/hanging mechanism
Backing board. 

- Crown Molding; when buying lengths, keep in mind that material will be lost for corners. You will need more than you expect (based on sight alone). 

Use this formula: total footage needed = [(width of moulding x 8) + (height of frame x 2) + (width of frame x 2)] / 12

So for a 12 x 14" (interior size) frame with 2" molding :

(2 x 8) + (12 x 2) + (14 x 2) = 68" of material 

Step 2: Cutting Your Pieces

The easiest way to do this is to make a stop for the skill saw. This can be as simple as a clamped block of wood that stays put for each identical length. 

Set your saw to a 45º angle and keep it there for all cutting. You will need to remove the angle from the same sides to ensure that the pattern on the crown molding matches when you assemble the frame. So your sides must both be angled identically to mirror each other. 

NOTES: One trouble with crown molding is the unevenness. Often the larger kinds will have a lip, which makes it difficult to measure and mark correctly. However, this comes in handy for the frame itself to keep the glass in place. Keep the lip on the interior of the frame. Be sure to cut with the flat side on the table or your cuts will be beveled, which makes for impossible assembly. Using blocks or skill saw clamps negates the need for measuring & marking on the wood itself. 

Be sure to take into account the width of the saw blade. Skill saws will take off a good chunk of your line width if not factored in. If they are looser measurements, it's not as much of a concern. 

Step 3: Sanding

Sand. Pretty straightforward. 

Warning: do not get so carried away that your end up changing the angles. This is simply to get rid of burrs. 

Step 4: Glue & Clamp

Using strong wood glue (I used quick setting Gorilla wood glue, which sets in about 30 minutes and cures overnight), adhere each corner as lined up as possible. I smear with my finger to remove excess and get a more even coat. 

The pieces like to slide around and move out of place. Don't let them! They're fancy wood but you can tell them what to do. 

Use clamps to evenly apply pressure around the frame and keep squareness as it dries. You can also tape around the exterior of the whole frame to keep it in place. 

Step 5: Paint

This conveniently covers up stray glue, weird marks, and makes it more wonderfully gaudy. 

Step 6: Other Stuff!

Have plexiglass cut, or cut it yourself to fit. Plex isn't a MUST but it can be nice to avoid potential direct contact with your art, photo, diploma, signed letter from Beyonce. 

Insert glass, matte board (if wanted), thing being framed, backing board and finally glazing points. These are an inexpensive way to insure that your beautiful hard work doesn't fall out of the back. Here is a slow video about how to insert. You can also push in with a screwdriver or chisel. 

Attach wire or desire hanging mechanism to back. 


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    19 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I use this to glue my frames together:

    you can also make octagon...etc shapes by dividing the number of sides into 360, this will give you the proper degrees of each cut to make your frame (you can order extra angle plates:


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I am looking at tools to buy for this project. When you say "skill saw", am I looking to buy a skilman saw, or a miter saw? And what are you referring to when you say "skill saw and stop"? what is a stop? What is a miter box?

    Thank you for your time.

    1 reply

    RachelM5, When he says "Skill saw" it is a confusing term. "Skil" is a brand name of saw that has become commonplace in society, like "Aspirin" and "Band-Aid". When I Think of a SKILSAW I think of a Jig Saw, this project requires a Miter Saw (Also referred to as a Chop saw or "Power Miter Box") You can get a very simple one that works for this use for only about $120. Or you could go the old fashioned way with a Miter box and a Hand Saw for about 8 bucks. All a Miter Box consists of is a space to set the wood, and a fence to properly support it. The fence has various angles pre-cut into it to guide your hand saw to cut the Angle.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    What a BRILLIANT idea!!! SO much easier than having someone make a custom frame.


    5 years ago on Step 4

    You could use a joining biscuit here.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Support the corners on the back side and you could hang a picasso (or a garfunkel)

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks toad, I really like that idea to help hold the frame together! Where does one find the V-nails?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    you could strengthen these by adding a diagonal strip of wood across the lower part of each corner. i would use small SCREWS to fasten them for added strength.

    the average cost of a decent frame is $50-$60 including the glass and mat. how much do these run and have you priced them with mat and glass?

    2 replies

    I spent about $50 on wood, $5 on paint and $10 on wire/hooks for hanging total for 6 frames ranging in size from 9 x 9" to 14 x 14" each.


    so, i wonder if you bought mat and glass what the cost would be. it seems like it would be cheaper than buying them. plus you have the advantage of custom sizing and exact matching frames.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for showing how to make a frame. I bought an inexpensive used miter saw for this purpose only I had no idea how to make the frames. Now I do!!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I was wondering if I could use picture frames to make a moulding.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea. I was wondering if I could use moulding for a picture frame. Now I know how!