Make photo frames with DIY framing tools

Imagine being able to frame your own photographs, prints, tapestries and artwork like a pro. Picture framing is quite fun and easy to do yourself. There are 5 easy steps to framing.

Step 1 – How to Cut Rugs

Adding a colored border (the mat) around your artwork enhances the image and provides a quiet area between the image and the image frame. The color and size of the backboard should first be decided on, as this will determine the overall dimensions of your picture frame. Start by calculating the outside size of the rug.

To cut the rug, use a good quality rug bevel cutter and ruler. There are several cutting systems to fit various budgets and skill levels, including the Mat Master 660 model for hobbyists, to the Mat Master 860B or 1060B for enthusiastic home picture framers.

Mark the edges to be cut on the back of the board.

Make sure the mat covers the edges of the artwork, subtracting approx. 1/8″ or 3mm the size of the image (length and width). Cut the mat following the instructions of your mat cutter. Attach the image 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 framing material will I need? Carefully measure the picture and mat you want to frame. Add an extra (3mm) to “play” to ensure the image fits easily into the finished image frame.

Add up the length (L) and width (W), then multiply the total by 2 to get the total length. You also need to account for miter cuts, so multiply the width (W2) of the trim by 10 and add that to your total.

(L + W) x 2 + (A2 x 10) = TOTAL

The most important thing is to make the 45 degree miter cut in the framing material – the joint will only be as good as the cut. Always use a good quality hand miter saw… we recommend the Proman hand saw, made in Sweden, as the best on the market. Electric circular saws are not ideal for cutting small, delicate frames.

Good Measure System helps make measurement easy and eliminates many errors. Once you have cut the first miter, slide the frame material along the required length on the measuring scale and adjust the stop. You are now ready to cut the first 2 pieces of your 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 match the first is the hard part. With FrameCo’s Ezy-Measure system, you can cut accurately every time.

Step 3 – How to Attach the Frames

How is the frame attached? Holding the frame firmly is essential for a good bond. You can use a cable tie or steel strap tie to secure the ready-to-attach picture frame.

The advantage of the strap clamp is that you can see all four corners of the picture frame clamped together before you attach them. So aligning the corners is easy.

All corners should meet evenly. Apply some wood glue to all the corners of the frame for extra strength. Carefully tighten the clamp making sure the corners are aligned, then secure firmly.

You are now ready to join.

Step 4 – How to Join Frames

Most picture frames are attached with a v-nail. This is the easiest method and is the one used by the professional picture framer. The FrameCo PushMaster joining tool drives v-nails into the corner of the frame. Two v-nails in each corner are usually all that is needed.

The PushMaster can be used by hand on most picture frames, or you can tap the PushMaster with a mallet if your frame is hardwood. The PushMaster can be upgraded to the BenchMaster®, which will drive V-nails into the hardest woods.

V-Nails: How Do They Work?

On entry, the sides of the V-nail deflect outward. As it returns to its original shape, the joint comes together. The small curl on the edge of the v-nail locks the nail into the wood grain. Adhesive alone is not enough to achieve strong and stable joints; by adding a v-nail, a firm and strong bond is achieved. What size v-nail? . . Use a v-nail about half the height of the frame.

Sizes are: 7mm – 1/4″, 10mm – 3/8″, 12mm – 1/2″, 15mm – 5/8″

Step 5 – How to Finish the Frames

Take the empty picture frame to a glass dealer and have them cut a piece of glass for you. If you want to cut glass yourself, use a good quality oil-filled cutter or the glass cutter. Use only 2mm smooth or non-reflective glass.

Fome Core is the ideal backing board as it is lightweight, acid free and easy to cut. You can also use MDF or 3mm cardboard. Turn the empty frame upside down and insert the glass, then the matte image, and lastly the backing board.

Use the PushMaster to insert nails or flex points into the back of your picture frame to hold everything in place.

Use backing nails for large frames or heavy items. Flexipoints are flexible and ideal for sewing work or when you want to remove the image e.g. Photo frames

To seal the artwork to the frame, tape the brads/flex points with a good quality masking tape. This will prevent dust or bugs from entering the image.

To upload your photo, use your PushMaster tool again. Measure one-third of the way down the side of the picture frame from the top and mark that spot. Place a screw eye into the slot provided at the end of the Pushmaster Tool, then screw the eye into the frame. Repeat on the other side and then connect the cable from one side to the other.

You have now completed your picture framing project. More information on how to make photo frames can be found at

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Category: Home Kitchen