Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Making Picture Frames

  1. #1

    Making Picture Frames


    I have just started getting in to making wooden picture frames. Making the molding to use for frame construction is the easy part. My problem is getting the frame the correct size. Also what size to make the rabbits for the glass & pictures to reside.
    Is there a good book or books you can recommend with instructions and measurements for different size frames? Thanks


  2. #2

  3. #3
    Joe, it's pretty simple, actually. You know the width of your lumber.

    If you're doing mitered corner frames, cut each piece as long as the corresponding dimension of your painting or photo, plus twice the material width.
    (ex. for a frame for an 8x10 photo, with a frame made from 2" wide molding, the pieces should be 12x14" before cutting the miters)

    If you're doing butt joint frames, cut the inside pieces to that dimension of your photo, then the other two pieces to that dimension plus twice the material width.
    (ex. for the same frame, the pieces would be 8x14 or 12x10)

    If it seems hard to get through your head, just sketch it out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Stephenville, TX
    Jeremy, wouldn't making the frame that size not give any allowance for a rabbet to set the picture and glass in? It seems to me the frame would just sit around the outside of the picture.

    There may be an easier way to figure it, but I think the following should work: Decide how wide you want the rabbet and subtract that from the frame molding width. Take the remaining width and double it (legs of a right triangle) with the doubling making allowance for each corner, then add it to the picture width to give the correct outside length. Make it a shade large to easily accomodate the picture. I sketched it out and as of right now can't poke holes in the logic. This is only for a rectangular or square frame although I'm sure there are formulas to be derived for other shapes.
    And now for something completely different....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Springfield MO
    I just made my first and it was pretty simple... ( I cheated! ) I took an old wooden frame that was in the closet not being used and took my "inside" measurements from it... then before gluing up.. I tested the glass for a good fit...

    I used the inside measurements only because it will be constant no matter what the material width is...

    worked perfect!
    Ahhhhh..... the smell of fresh cut wood!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard M. Wolfe View Post
    Jeremy, wouldn't making the frame that size not give any allowance for a rabbet to set the picture and glass in? It seems to me the frame would just sit around the outside of the picture.
    No, the glass would need to be bigger of course, same for the backing material.

  7. #7
    I have a copy of Jerry Cole's book "The Picture Frame Guide" and think it makes life very simple when it comes to making frame calculations:


  8. #8

    Good video for custom picture frame making...

    Here's a good video for custom picture frame making.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Jeffersonville, Ohio
    Frank has the answer. Get Jerry Cole's book. In the charts that are in the book, find the size of frame you want to make. It will tell you the total amount of wood you need and the length that each side needs to be. I don't have the book, but a friend of mine has it. I looked through it and was amazed at how easy Jerry makes it to get the proper cuts.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Coeur d Alene, ID
    Finally, a topic that I know something about. Normally, I just get to read and learn from everyone else. I am a Certified Picture Framer® in my regular day job.

    The standard allowance for picture frames is 1/8" and frame size is always measured from the rabbit. An 8x10 picture frame should have a measured rabbit size of 8 1/8" x 10 1/8". Most rabbits are 1/4" or 5/16" wide and the ideal depth is 1/16" to 1/8" greater than the total thickness of your glass, matting & backing. Narrower rabbits are not wide enough to hold the glass in larger sized frames.

    It's easier for me since most of our mouldings come in 10 ft lengths and my saw stops incorporate the 1/8" allowance. If you have questions about what goes inside the frame or choice of those materials, I can help there too.
    Last edited by Rick Bergeron; 03-22-2008 at 5:31 PM. Reason: typo's

  11. #11
    Thanks for all the great answers and help. Watching the woodsmith video cleared up a couple of issues I've been having. I am building a miter sled for my tablesaw. I didn't realize my chop saw would be less accurate than the table saw with a miter sled. (at least for picture frames)


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Sun Peaks, BC Canada
    Rick, are you measuring from the rabbit because it is Easter Sunday? I measure mine from the rabbet, but then again, I don't work Sundays..LOL.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Mt. Pleasant, MI
    Your miter saw isn't less accurate once dialed in and set up. The sled is pre-set up so you just stick it on and do your cuts.

    Depending on how easy it is to adjust will determine how you want to go for cutting the miters. I like the SCMS, as always, YMMV.

    For best results, try not to do anything stupid.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum - Vegetius De Rei Militari III (paraphrased)

    "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause." - Padmé Amidala "Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith"

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Coeur d Alene, ID
    It must have been the rabbit tracks through the snow yesterday morning that threw me off.

    Spelling was not one of my better subjects, though I should try to spell words like that correctly, huh. Sometimes my fingers run faster than my brain or is it the other way around?

    For us, it's easier to fix mitres that are off with a couple of handturns on a calibrated sander

Similar Threads

  1. Custom Picture Frames
    By Mike DeRegnaucourt in forum Engravers Forum
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 01-21-2008, 1:27 PM
  2. cutting picture frames
    By Jerry Evans in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-05-2007, 11:17 AM
  3. Help Please - Glass Picture Frames
    By James & Zelma Litzmann in forum Engravers Forum
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-12-2007, 3:22 PM
  4. picture frame, mitre sled or mitre saw?
    By Tom Jones III in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 04-01-2005, 5:24 PM
  5. Picture
    By Ralph Steffey in forum Forum Tech Support
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 06-29-2004, 10:44 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts