Picture Frame - Giant's Causeways




Introduction: Picture Frame - Giant's Causeways

About: Born in Berlin in 1985, engineer, contrarian, 'The Big Bang Theory' fan, my other blog: www.tiny-labs.com - find me on Twitter @pixelgeb and reddit u/Stishio

I wanted to make something special for my wife for Valentine's Day. The last year started with really sad things for us. We took a long break from our daily life and went to Ireland for almost three weeks. The vacation was meant to regenerate our energy - well and it did. We hired a car and drove around the island. One of the most stunning moments was the visit of the Giant's Causeway. It's a breathtaking coastal landscape. I add an article and two videos of it at the end. You have to see this. Anyway I took literately hundreds of pictures. And I wanted to frame one of them and give it to my wife to show how much she means to me. This project is about making a custom picture frame out of plywood. Enjoy :)


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Step 1: Blueprint

I made a more technical drawing out of the first sketch. This frame is meant to be used with a passepartout. But you can use it without or a different kind of picture sizes.

I used the glass and back of an old picture frame from IKEA I had lying around. Please change the dimension accordingly to the glass you want to use.

Step 2: Materials and Tools

  • What's needed?
  • Two hard wood slabs with different thicknesses. I use 15mm and 6mm, but you can use different size as well. The final appearance may differ, but that's the idea about DIY stuff, isn't it? :D
  • Measurement devices
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Wood drills
  • Electrical driller
  • Screw clamps
  • Clear lacquer
  • Brush
  • Wood glue
  • Cutting heads
  • Grinding paper
  • Ribba frame for the glass and the back (but you can use all kind of picture frame you have available) http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/decoration/fra...
  • Chop saw for cutting all pieces. You can use a hand saw or jigsaw as well, but the finish is better with the chop saw
  • Router for finishing the edges
  • Heat gun to finish the basalt parts

Step 3: Frame - Cutting the Parts

I use 15mm thick plywood. I start with marking the pieces I want to cut out. I use my chop saw to cut the parts.

Step 4: Frame - Chopping the Corners

I use my ruler to mark a 45° angle to the parts and my chop saw to cut it. Each end has to be cut, but be careful with the orientation of the 45° cut. The cuts should point to the same side.

I put them together as a first test.

Step 5: Frame - Planing the Parts

I use a clamp to fasten all parts together. I grind the edges with grinding paper to make the surface smoother.

Step 6: Frame - Cutting the Edges

Now it's time for the router table. I start with the outer edges. I use a curved cutting iron to achieve a nice picture frame look. I put them together to see the result.

I use a 45° cutting iron in the next step. I want a small 45° edge on the inner side. I put them together again to see the result.

The last step is to cut a groove on the rear for the glass, the picture and the back. Therefor I place the glass on the rear to see how much I have to cut out. I put the glass, the picture, and the back on each other to get the depth I have to cut. I use a straight cutting iron to make the groove. Finally I can put all parts together to see the result.

Step 7: Frame - First Test and Glueing the Parts

Everything fits perfectly. Now it's time to glue the parts together. I use wood glue.

After the glue is dry, I use grinding paper to finish the surfaces and get rid of glue rests.

Step 8: Basalt Columns - Cutting the Parts

Now comes the customization. You can skip the next steps or use a different kind of customization. It's up to you :)

I want to implement the hexagonal basalt columns in my frame. I use three plywood with different thicknesses. I use my chop saw to cut the hexagonal shape (the shape should not be perfectly hexagonal). But be careful with the chop saw. It's not that easy to cut small pieces safely. I break the edges with some grinding paper.

A short test at the end to see if it fits.

Step 9: Basalt Columns - Burning the Surfaces

Basalt is dark. I use my heat gun to burn the parts a little bit. I try to achieve a non-concolorous finish. You could use paint or wood stain as well.

Step 10: Basalt Columns - Glueing

Now I can glue the basalt columns to the frame.

Step 11: Clasps - Cutting, Drilling and Grinding the Parts

The frame is almost finished. The last missing parts are the clasps, which hold the back. I have a spare wooden strip lying around. I cut four equally sized parts. I drill a hole, but not in the middle. Using grinding paper, I cut the edges and round the corners.

Step 12: Lacquering the Frame, Basalt Columns and Clasps

I use one layer of lacquer to finish the surfaces of all parts. You can use oil or wood stain as well.

Step 13: Finishing - Attaching the Gasps and Hook

When everything is dry, I can go on with fasten the clasps. Therefor I use a nail to mark four spots on the frame. I use small wood screws to fasten a clasp on each side. Make sure that the clasps can still be rotated. That's it :)

Step 14: Done

Jippie, the picture frame is finished. The last step is to place the picture in the frame. My wife loves this frame. Mission accomplished :)

I hope you will enjoy building this. Please let me know your experiences and improvements. Please put photos in the comments. :)

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