Picture Frame Woodworking Plan

Picture Frame Woodworking Plan

Visit any picture framing shop and you can take your pick from literally hundreds of different frames and moldings. There is nothing to stop you from making your own, however. Some pictures will look better if displayed in a deep box frame. This one was made from white oak with a clear lacquered finish.

Picture Frame Woodworking Plan


• 1.5m (5ft) of 50 x 25mm (2 x 1 in) hardwood
• 355 x 280mm (14 x 11 in) of 3mm (1/8 in) hardboard for the backing
• Wood glue
• Panel pins (brads)
• Retaining clips
• Fixing attachment


This design has a chamfered profile to give the frame added depth. You can improvise any variation to suit your own taste. A section of the profile used is shown in the figure. The depth of the rebate (rabbet) is determined by the thickness of the glass and backing board, plus the picture and its mount. Cut the hardboard backing to size, then have a piece of glass cut to exactly the same size. Slip the glass into place. Fit small brass clips to act as retainers for the backing and check everything for a good fit before mounting the picture.



1. Cut the four frame members roughly to length before forming the rebate. Leave them over-length at this stage. Use a plough (bullnose) or rebate plane to cut the rebate to a suitable depth in the bottom edge.

2. Turn the work over and plane a chamfer on the inner edge. Set a bevel gauge to 30 degrees, mark the angle at each end, and use a small block plane to trim accurately down to the line.

3. Check the angle of the chamfer with the bevel gauge as you work, particularly at the ends where the corners will meet.


4. Make a 45-degree mitre cut at one end of each frame member with a mitre saw. Calculate your internal measurements as instructed.

5. Mark this measurement on the inner face and square a line across the face. Align the mitre saw with this line and cut each piece to the right length.

6. Use mitre (frame) cramps to hold the assembly together while you check that the mitres are a good fit. Make any adjustments with a block plane, apply glue to each face and reassemble, tightening the clamps.


7. Fasten each corner with a couple of panel pins to lock them together. In a very hardwood such as oak, it is advisable to drill short pilot holes to avoid splitting the delicate mitre joints.

8. Before the glue has set, fit a web clamp around the frame. This helps keep the assembly square. Tighten the ratchet clamp with a spanner (wrench), check the frame with a try square, and leave for the glue to dry.

9. When the glue has set, clean up the edges of the frame and sand smooth all-round by hand. Apply the finish and fittings of your choice.


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