Making Picture Frames With DIY Framing Tools


Imagine being able to frame your own photographs, prints, tapestries, and artwork as well as a professional. Picture framing is actually quite fun and easy to DIY. There are 5 easy steps to framing.

Step 1 - How to Cut Mats

Adding a colour border (the mat) around your artwork enhances the picture and provides a restful area between the image and the picture frame. The colour and size of the mat board must be decided first, as this will determine the overall dimensions of your picture frame. You start by calculating the external size of the mat.

To cut the mat use a good quality bevel mat cutter and ruler. There are several cutting systems to suit various budgets and skill levels, including the Mat Master Model 660 for the hobbyists, to the Mat Master 860B or 1060B for the keen home picture framer.

Mark the borders to be cut on the back of the mat board.

Make sure the mat will cover the edges of the artwork, by subtracting approx. 3mm or 1/8" from the image size (length & width). Cut the mat following the instructions for your mat cutter. Attach the picture to the mat using 2 small pieces of acid free tape on the top edge only.

Step 2 - How to Cut the Picture Frame

How much picture frame moulding material will I need? Carefully measure the picture and mat you wish to frame. Add an extra (3mm) for "play" to ensure the picture fits easily into the finished picture frame.

Add the length (L) and width (W) together, then multiply the total by 2 to give you the overall length. You also have to allow for the mitre cuts, so multiply the width (W2) of the moulding by 10 and add this to your total.

(L + W) x 2 + (W2 x 10) = TOTAL

Making the 45 degree mitre cut in your framing material is most important - your joining will only be as good as your cutting. Always use a good quality manual Mitre Saw... we recommend the Proman hand saw which is made in Sweden as the best on the market. Electric powered Drop Saws are not ideal for cutting small delicate picture frames.

Good Measure System helps to make measuring easy and eliminates many mistakes. Once you have cut the first mitre, slide the picture frame material along to the required length on the measuring scale, and set the stop. You are now ready to cut the first 2 pieces of your picture frame. Change the settings to cut the other 2 sides of the frame.

Cutting one side for a frame is easy.

Cutting the second side to be be the same as the first, is the hard part. With the FrameCo Ezy-Measure System you can cut accurately every time.

Step 3 - How to Clamp Frames

How do you Clamp the Frame? Clamping the frame tightly is essential for good joining. You can use the a Cord Clamp, or the Steel Strap Clamp to secure the picture frame ready for joining.

The advantage of the Strap Clamp is that you can see all the four corners of the picture frame clamped together before joining. So alignment of the corners is easy.

All corners should match up evenly. Apply a little wood glue to all corners of the frame for added strength. Carefully tension the clamp making sure that the corners are aligned then secure the clamp tightly.

You are now ready for joining.

Step 4 - How to Join Frames

Most picture frames are joined with a V-Nail. This is the easiest method and it is what the professional picture framer uses. The FrameCo PushMaster joining tool, inserts V-Nails into the corner of the frame. Two V-Nails in each corner is usually all that is necessary.

The PushMaster can be used by hand alone on most picture frames, or you can tap the PushMaster with a mallet if the frame is hardwood. The PushMaster can be upgraded to the BenchMasterВ® which will insert V-Nails into the harderst of timbers.