How-To: Wooden Print Frame

Here at Homespun we are proud to offer one of the best selections of art prints around. These prints range in price, but most often run around $15-$30. This is the perfect way to support artists and get some unique and incredible art in your home without spending a fortune. Of course the prints are sold unframed, and I don’t know if you’ve been to a frame shop recently, but custom framing can cost a fortune. And the selection at your local big box craft store? Well, I was underwhelmed. Here is a great, simple tutorial to create your own easy and modern frames at home for about $7 each.

And in the spirit of refreshing your walls (springtime!), I’ve thrown in a little idea to add even more art for even less. I’ve chosen one of a variety of ADORABLE wrapping papers we sell and framed it in some frames I had laying around the house. At only $3.50 for a sheet, this is fun and affordable.

Let’s get started!

First step, you’ll need to gather some supplies. And if you’re not Ron Swanson and don’t have wood and stain just laying around, you’ll have to go to the good ol’ hardware store. Here’s what you’ll need:

– 4 pieces of wood cut to size for each print: I found two different options I thought would be good while I was shopping. First, there are lots of sizes and shapes you can choose from in the very colorful wooden dowel section. There’s also a longer wooden molding and stuff section where I found my 11/16 x 8′ sized square pine molding. For the length, this was the more cost effective option.
– Stain
– Scrap cloth
– Box Saw
– Hammer
– Measuring Tape
– Nails: 1″, 4-6
– Sandpaper
– Jute or Hemp or any kind of string you like
– Plastic Bags
– Gloves
– Clamp
– Thingy to open the stain can with- you could get the official paint can key or just any pry type tool (I used a metal scraper). Just don’t use a butter knife from the kitchen drawer, ok?

I chose two prints- “The Best Is Yet to Come” by Laura Berger and “Dream. Work. Own.” by Amy Rice Art. Both of these are 11″ across, so I decided to cut 4, 12″ lengths so that the frame would be slightly longer than the print. As it happened, 12″ x 8 pieces = 96″ which is exactly 8 ft which is exactly the length of wood I purchased! “Math made in heaven!” I thought. Well, it would have been if I hadn’t of gone ahead and cut 3, 11″ lengths before realizing my mistake (see photographic evidence below). Ah, well. Maybe I will like a flush finish better anyways, right? And now you all can see the difference in look when I’m finished.

I was a little intimidated to pick up the saw. I clamped the length of wood to my work bench (this clamp is way bigger than I need, I realize, but it’s the only one I could find). A wooden vice would probably be more to the point here. I’ve done minimal sawing in my life, but I found the saying “let the saw do the work” to be very true. As soon as you muscle it and try to rush through, the saw bumps along and doesn’t want to work nicely. Just let it slide across easily and take your time.

After all my lengths were cut, I sanded the ends a bit. You could do more or less here, I sanded down the edges slightly and you could do even more for a rustic look.

Now for the staining. I’ve chosen a really light stain (Minwax Natural 209), because I love light wood, but I wasn’t sure if it would make a big enough difference to make it worth my trouble. As you can see, even a very light stain really brought out the beauty in the wood and gave it a professional look. I gave the shorter lengths three coats and left just one on the longer- and don’t forget the ends! For this process you’ll probably want to wear gloves. As I’ve said before, I like to live my life in the fast lane and I don’t usually have time for these types of (very reasonable) precautions. As you can see I did lay down some plastic bags to prevent the stain from reaching the work bench, but honestly only from fear of my husband’s wrath. I will say, you’ll want some ventilation, though, even if you’re a freak who loves fume smells like me.

After staining, you’ll need to wait 8 hours to continue with the project to let the stain soak and dry. I almost just went ahead with the project anyways (fast lane), but they were tacky to the touch and I wouldn’t want to risk any stain seeping into my beautiful prints.

In the mean time I moved shop up to my studio and used an x-acto knife and mat to cut the sizes of wrapping paper for my frames. This took about 5 minutes and I love how they turned out. I think the smaller frames look especially cute, you could tuck these in so many different places around the house. I can’t wait to see them paired up with my larger prints.

Several days later…

Here are the two sets of frames after drying. As you can see, adding the extra two coats was entirely unnecessary. They both look great.

Take some tape and place the end of the bottom of the print centered on the frame. Be sure to position the side of your frame thoughtfully- if there are any imperfections in it or (heaven forbid!) in your staining, you can just turn those to the inside. Center another piece of wood over the top and nail together. “Nail together”- two words that sound so simple and yet proved to be the most difficult stage for me. Pictured above is my one success, pictured below…

… the cost of that success. As I figured out, the grain of the wood will have a lot to do with the direction your nail goes as you pound it down. Take a look at the ends and make sure the grain is facing the desirable way i.e. towards the other piece of wood. You have a pretty narrow work surface here, so practice is going to be your road to perfection. Note: unless you are trying to preserve the integrity of your print as I am here, go ahead and center your nail on the frame piece. Put one nail at either end, and for larger prints you can add one in the center as well.

Ta-dah! Good thing I had these inspirational prints to get me through all the nailing and the bleeding. Now for the top!

I used a string about 15″ long, and tied knots in either end. Eyeball about an inch in on either side. If you use double sided tape, it will help hold the thread while you center the frame.

And hang!

Here you can see the difference in lengths of frames. I think they both work. Also, how cute did this Laura Berger print work out? It looks like they’re hanging right from the frame.

Let me know how you’re attempt goes by commenting below or share your photos and tag us, @homespunindy. Thanks for following along!

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