Build Your Own Picture Frames

Welcome! The information on these pages will take you through the entire process of building a custom picture frame you can be proud of. I hope you find it useful and interesting.

A custom-built frame

For Christmas 2004, my wife and I collected dozens of old photos of her grandfather from family members, scanned them into the computer, and created a digital photo montage to give to her grandfather. We had the finished image printed off to the size we wanted, then set about finding a way to frame it. We quickly discovered that having it custom framed was going to be quite expensive (over $100), so I bought a mat cutting kit (also $100, but re-usable) and a store-bought frame, then cut the mat to the size we wanted and framed it ourselves.

The end result looked great, and the whole family loved it. I’ve been interested in photography for a few years now, and now that I could take the pictures myself, digitally manipulate them myself in Photoshop, and even cut the matting to the desired size and shape myself, I looked into what it would take to take the last step and create the frames too, so that I would have control over the entire result.

It turned out that it didn’t take much at all. I already had the (very few) power tools necessary, and the special tools I was missing were quite affordable. I really like being able to create any frame I want, in any size and shape I want. I wasn’t impressed with the lack of free tutorials and information available online, so I decided to publish my own. I hope the information I’ve presented here is both helpful and useful to you. If you have any questions, or suggestions for clarification or ways to improve this tutorial, please feel free to email me at and let me know.

A Word on Safety

I’m not going to go into detail about safety, but I will add a section here to cover my butt. I hereby officially don’t condone you doing anything remotely dangerous, and I disclaim any responsibilty or liability for anything you do to yourself, either by accident or on purpose, while following any of the advice or instructions contained anywhere on my website. Do all of this at your own risk.

In some of the photos, protective guards have been removed. This was done purely for ease of photography, and I don’t recommend that you remove any safety guards on any of your equipment.

Read and follow the operating instructions for your tools. Use common sense and be safe. Don’t be afraid to try making your own frames, you’ll be pleased with the results.