Starwars/MST3K Custom Poster Frame

About: I am a maker and artist. I build furniture, props, decorations and anything else that comes my way. Halloween is my time to shine and I build countless outdoor props which I have decided to begin documenting...

Just over a year ago Mystery Science Theater 3000 made its triumphant return to Netflix, and being a contributor to the kick-starter which made it possible, I received a cast signed poster. With swag as cool as that I needed a special frame, so I designed one with all the charm of the low tech sets of the show. This project would also look great for movie posters for Star Wars or other like movies. This is for a full size 27 by 40 movie poster.

I used white Oak appearance boards from Home depot. mine were 8ft long 2x3s and i designed around that size.

Tools used:

  • Table Saw
  • Band Saw
  • Router
  • Super glue
  • a car model kit
  • 3 shades of grey spray paint
  • Black Spray paint
  • Poly-acrylic
  • Clear Silicone
  • 27x40 piece of Plexi

Step 1: Design

This is a frame with an industrial futuristic theme. It has multiple layers and details so its always best to draw out your design and figure out where everything goes before you go right into it. I have included the plans that I drew up for this particular frame. Remember you don't need to follow me directly, be creative and put your own tweaks into it.

I designed the frame to look like it would have come directly from the set of MST3K and as such it has windows showing parts and a very "Spaceship look". In order to achieve this look you will have to be able to rip your wood down to a 1/8 in veneer, and use a router to achieve the proper look.

Step 2: Cut Wood to Length and Route Your Rabbets

First thing you want to do is cut your four pieces to length, and decide orientation. i chose to use butt joints as it felt more industrial, however if you would like to miter the corners also measure out and do that now.

Once you know and have marked top, bottom, left and right, flip the pieces over and clamp them for routing. now is also a good time to drill your Pocket holes if you also choose to use butt joints. Route a half inch rabbet into the inside cheek of the entire frame with at least a 1/8 in lip to hold in the glass and poster.

After your Rabbets have been cut begin to layout your routes that are required for the top. Make sure to only route the window space for the cutouts for enclosed features. Once you have done this take your windowed sections of frame to either your band saw or table saw and rip a 1/8 piece from the top of your plank. I recommend you do this on all four sides so the thickness is the same once glued together on all sides. Now set the ripped veneers aside.

For the areas you wish to fill with detail use the router to lengthen and widen the pocket beyond the edges of the window cut in the veneer piece..

Step 3: Fill Your Windows

Start breaking apart pieces from you junked model kit, and finding interesting ways to install the pieces into the pocket in your wood panels. When finished the veneer will be placed over the top and the details will look as if they continue on underneath the wood past the window.

Once you have filled your windows and glued the pieces you like into the pocket hit each detail area with black spray paint.

Step 4: Glue on Your Veneers

The next step get creative. If you want to go simpler you can just glue the veneers you cut back onto the pieces and you will have your windows. If you want more complicated you can pick and choose exactly how much veneer to put back on. I chose to cut mine down and leave more valleys and protruding areas to add to the industrial look.

After you decide and cut your veneers to fit the way you like use wood glue to reattach and make sure to clamp it on so you get a tight seal.

Step 5: Assemble and Paint

Once your glue has dried, glue and screw your frame together and at this point you are ready to paint.

I chose multiple grays and black to continue with the spaceship feel. Remember to always start with your darkest color and work up to the highlights. This is why i had you pre spray the detail pockets of the windows with black first.It will add the illusion of depth after you hit the protruding pieces with lighter grays. Mask off areas you want to remain dark and continually build up the lighter grays until it feels right to you. When finished make sure to put on a couple coats of Poly acrylic to protect the wood.

Step 6: Install Plexi and CLose

Next step is install your plexi using clear silicone around the perimiter (not too much, as you dont want it to squeeze into the viewing area). Now you can do a number of things to hold in your poster. you can buy little bendable clips to hold it in or professionally back it with foam core and seal with framers glue, or you can make little turn tabs out of wood and screw them into the back of the frame. I used cardboard, foam core and sealed the back with paper.

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