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Martin Dimitrov artist blog. 

Making My First Frame (part 1)

Buying frames is expensive (especially for small paintings). It also takes time to receive your frames; time during which your paintings could be hanging on a wall. And finally, if you make your own frame, you can place just the exact color on the trim in order to complement the painting. So I decided to give this a try.

To start off, I used a sample piece of frame that I wanted to make. This is simple L-shape floater frame. Most online frame-shops will ship you a free sample.

Measuring off of that sample, I purchased my wood (8-quarters poplar, ~$25 for a 72"x8" piece) from woodworker's source. I am not an experienced woodworker, so the recommendation that I followed from the wood-shop was to make the L-shape by cutting out the wood on the table-saw, and not by gluing 2 strips together (to make it easier). In order to make accurate rip cuts, I purchased a rip-blade for my table saw ($30) and also used a feather-block to prop the wood in place while ripping. You can see the resulting moldings that I cut out of that piece of wood. 



In order to make accurate corners, I had to make a "miter sled" for my table saw. Once you ensure that you miter sled is at a 90 degrees, then you can make a consistent cut every time. Here is a great video showing how to make the miter sled: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H00prACPflw


Once you make the miter sled, then you can cut the 4 pieces, brush some wood glue on each corner and secure them using spring miter clamps ($50 for the spring miter clamps). Here is another great video that I used as a reference on how to assemble a frame in this way: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_QHwli7hdE



Overall I am pretty happy how it turned out. This is an 8.5"x10.5" floater frame (for an 8"x10" painting). The corners are close to perfect. Any small imperfections, I believe I can remove by sanding a little or using just a little wood putty. I also made a slightly larger frame (11x14), which had more noticeable mis-alignments. Thus I believe that with my method, I will limit myself to making frames no larger than 11x14. This is because, the larger the frame the more precise the cut needs to be. My method seems to give in to error (maybe due to my miter sled) past a point.

In the second part of this blog post, I will experiment with some paints/techniques for finishing the frame and I will share my findings.