Frames 2

In my previous post “Frames 1,” I introduced the floater frames that I make for my paintings. In this post, as promised, I will briefly describe how I make them. They have a very simple construction: they start with a base frame (made out of pine 1″ x 2″s), which is then surrounded by an outer “lip” (made out of 7/16″ x 1  5/8″ pine lattice molding).

The base frame is 3/8″ larger than the painting in every direction. That means the painting will float 3/8″ from the outer lip. I cut the base frame pieces with a Logan Picture Framing Pro Saw and fine tune the miters with a Logan Precision Sander. I then join the pieces together, using wood glue and V-nails applied by a Logan Studio Joiner. All these tools came in a Logan Frame Shop in a Box that I purchased from Jerry’s Artarama.

I cut the lattice molding so the outer lip will wrap around the outside of the base frame. Using the Pro Saw and Precision Sander, I take extra special care that the miters will fit together precisely while the pieces lay flat against the base frame. I attach the lattice molding to the base frame with glue and brads from a nail gun. Once everything is in place, I use my trusty Bessey Strap Clamp (purchased from to secure everything together until the glue is dry.

I drill 4 holes through the base frame, one on each side for the wood screws that will anchor the painting. After a good sanding, I paint everything black. The last to go on are the “D” ring hangers, hanging wire, and vinyl bumpers. Although only two bumpers on the lower corners are really necessary, I like to put one on each of the four corners. I get all the materials I need for this project — all the wood, hardware (except the V-nails), glue, sandpaper, and paint — from Home Depot. I purchase the V-nails online from Dick Blick.

The painting gets centered in its place and secured from the back with four wood screws. Tada! If you have any questions, please leave me a comment here, so everyone can view both question and answer. Thank you!


~ by aaroncaycedokimura on November 23, 2009.

16 Responses to “Frames 2”

  1. Very nice! You must be going somewhere special to get such beautiful lumber. My local Home Depot has trash lumber, all rounded corners and knots. Completely unusable.

    • Hi Barbara! You know, you have to sift through a lot of wood sometimes to get pieces usable for frames. For the base frame, I use “Select Pine” (with the label, Claymark: New Zealand) from Home Depot. Thank you for visiting my artlog.

  2. What a great tutorial, Aaron! And the little tip on the picture framing tools in a box! I want to start making my own frames as well. I have far too many art pieces that I’ve purchased that need better freames than I could buy in a store!

  3. Aaron- they look great! Beautiful frames… thus, matching your paintings perfectly.
    Unfortunately, I have discovered over the years, that I am incapable of cutting two pieces of wood the same length 🙂
    I accept it now… after so many rhomboid frames… so REALLY admire your skills.

  4. Aaron- You have made it sound like a very doable process. Thank you. I have bookmarked this and will definitely rely on your instruction when I go off and make my next frame.

    • Hey, thanks, Rose. Let me know if you have any question, but I know that you are a very handy, resourceful person.

  5. As I mentioned on twitter… WOW!!! Thanks Aaron for this detailed and helpful description on how to make these frames and make them well. Do you condiditon your pine before painting it black? I think it helps calm down the grain in the pine and also doesn’t eat up the black paint as much after applying it.

    • Hi Mary! Thank you for your comment. To answer your question, no, right now I choose not to condition the pine before painting it black. I like the “roughness” of the result, as it fits well with the paintings themselves. I give each frame 2 coats. If anyone reading this needs a “finer” result, I would indeed take Mary’s good advice. Thanks again, Mary.

  6. Nice tutorial. I really like the look of your floating frames. BTW, I don’t think that I have ever mentioned to you that I used to work in a frame shop, so I appreciate your skills all the more 🙂 My goal was never to have to fill in any corners!

    • Thank you, Valerie. No, I didn’t know you used to work in a frame shop! Thanks for checking this post out.

  7. Great tutorial! Thanks for the directions! 🙂 I love the look of the black frames with your paintings. Awesome. Someday I hope to make frames. Someday.

  8. Had to read this blog again…hey! it’s snowing again!!! 🙂

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