Gallery Frame Construction
Inexpensive DIY from lumber; classic and clean finished look for paintings
Simple, clean, uniform gallery frames show a professional finished look and can be replaced by whatever the collector desires or left as-is. Shown here are 1/2w x 1 1/2d” frames cut from 2 x 8″ lumber.
You’ll find clean #2 fir or pine at a lumber yard (not Home Depot). I look for 2 x 6″ or 2 x 8″ to rip 1/2″ strips from. My framing example here is a 30 x 30″ painting so knots outside the 32″ lengths I need do not disqualify a board.
I first rip about a 1/8 strip to remove the corner radius from the mill (Not shown). Then I rip 1/2″ lengths. NOTE: If you are not used to table-saw ripping of narrow strips, find someone who is; there is danger from kick-back and this is a somewhat skilled task. It also helps to have a fine-tooth blade to reduce future sanding.
My inexpensive miter saw has a laser which makes precise cutting easy. Here I’m cutting based on the master. I’m making a bunch of frames to the same size so the master is helpful for production efficiency.
In a previous tutorial I showed this shop-built frame clamp. Position the corner clamps to accept the size of frame you are making.
Be sure the turn-buckle is in loosest position to allow for tightening. When clamping, tighten it with a small screwdriver or flat blade.
After the glue has set, sand and finish the frame. I recommend a softwood conditioner/sealer and then wipe-on poly.
The frame is slightly oversize to fit the canvas. Shim the painting from the frame so the painting is centered within the frame.
I use a small piece of wood to attach the frame to the canvas. If you have a brad nailer, great! If not, do it by hand.