March 1, 2013

DIY $18 Giant Frame

Happy Friday! Can you believe it's March already? I can't!

Anyway, as promised, I'm back with another DIY project for you! Did anyone figure out what yesterday's "defiant aim" hint was about? If not, I was alluding to the giant frame I built for my crystal print :)

You may remember that this guy used to live unframed at the top of our staircase landing:

Well now he lives in our dining room because nothing stays in its original location too long around here haha

Ready to get building? You'll need the following supplies:

  • 2, 1 x 2 x 8 pieces of whitewood for the outside frame: $4.96 @ Lowe's
  • 2, 1 x 3 x 8 pieces of whitewood for the main frame: $4.96 @ Lowe's
  • 1, 1/2" x 4' x 8' piece of insulation foam: $6.95 @ Lowe's
  • 2, metal d-rings: $1.98 @ Ace 
  • Tools I used: Miter saw (if you don't have a saw, you could always have the pieces cut at your hardware store of choice), "L" brackets (use a Kreg Jig if you have one), screws, drill, tape measurer, pen, etc.: Free!

TOTAL: $18.85 for a frame that's just shy of being 3' x 4'!
Note: this project may cost you more than $18.85 depending on the supplies you need to purchase and where you purchase them from.

I got a little ahead of myself on this tutorial and didn't photograph any of the steps until we had all of our 1 x 3 pieces of wood cut for our main frame:

To get the measurements for the frame, we measured the size of our print and then subtracted 1" from each side so we'd have enough room in the back to attach the print to the frame.

For example: our crystal print was about 34" wide, so we made sure that the top and bottom horizontal pieces of the frame were 32" at the shorter points of the miter cut. We did the same thing for the vertical pieces so the entire inside part of the frame was 1" less than the print on all sides.

We did a test fit of the cut pieces to make sure the entire frame lined up properly:

Then we flipped the pieces over and attached them together with "L" brackets:

If you have a Kreg Jig, feel free to use it instead! I don't own one (not yet anyway) so this was the easiest attachment method I could think of. We're not very high tech around here haha

After the brackets were in place, we cut the 1 x 2 side pieces down to size. I wanted the top and bottom pieces to be longer than the side pieces so the side pieces would be sandwiched in between them. Hopefully this photo makes more sense than that explanation haha:

We did a test fit of these pieces as well:

Then we drilled some pilot holes and screwed the 1 x 2 pieces into the side of the 1 x 3 pieces. Now that I think about it, screws may have been overkill -- I'm sure nails would be just fine :)

After all of the pieces were attached, we stepped back and admired our work!

I filled all of the gaps and screw holes with wood filler and let everything dry overnight. I sanded the entire frame down the next morning and once it was ready to go, I set up a staining station:

I applied some wood conditioner to the frame but don't think it was necessary so feel free to skip this step if you don't have any on hand or aren't familiar with it:

You have to apply the stain within 5 minutes of applying the wood conditioner otherwise the wood won't take the stain so I hurried up and stained the frame my go-to color, dark walnut:

I let the frame dry overnight before I added two coats of polyurethane to it:

Sidenote: I've said it before and I'll say it again - I hate poly. I've tried to be friends with it but I much prefer to use spray lacquer. I would have used it on the frame but it wasn't warm enough out and I'm impatient soooo, I got an uneven poly finish instead. It's not bad from far away but it makes me cringe a little when I look at certain spots of the frame.

Moving on...

While the poly was drying, I got to work on mounting the crystal print. I started by cutting away the excess white border:

Then I placed it on my 4' x 8' piece of foam insulation:

I chose this over foam board from a craft store because the massive piece was $6.95 and a little sheet of foam at a place like Michael's probably would have been around $4 or $5. I ended up using a little more than 1/3 of the piece so I'll have plenty of it for future projects!

When the print was lined up with the edges, I made some marks around it's edges:

And cut through the foam with a utility knife:

I applied some rubber cement to the edges of the foam and then I gently stuck the crystal print down onto it. I placed some wood scraps on top of it while it dried so the edges wouldn't curl up and away from the glue/foam:

While the glue was drying, I turned my attention back to the frame so I could attach some D-ring hardware to the sides:

I didn't do any precise measurements to attach these. I think I just measured 12" down and 1 1/2" over and made some marks.

When the print was ready, it was time to attach it to the frame. I had originally planned on running a bead of super glue all around the front of the print but I was worried that it'd seep out past the frame's edge and be visible so we used a staple gun and stapled the foam around the edges instead:

Remember earlier when I said that we built our frame smaller than our print? This is so we had enough room to attach the print to the back of the frame. If we had built the frame the same size as our print, we wouldn't have had any room to attach it to the back and it would have fallen through.

When everything was all said and done, it was time to hang our giant frame up!

I wish I could say that orchid is real. I had a real one there but my black thumb killed it faster than I could type up this post haha

I'm seriously smitten with the print's new look:

Obligatory styling shot :)

Like my "new" rug? Oh, you thought the new crystal print was the only thing that changed in our dining room? Nope! I've got some more changes to show you on Monday :)

I wish I could say this was an original idea but I need to give credit where credit is due! I got the idea from Mimi at Blue Roof Cabin:

[ Image via Blue Roof Cabin ]

I couldn't pass up building a frame of my own after seeing how awesome hers looked so thanks for the idea Mimi :)

What do you think of the frame?

Disclaimer: I can't guarantee that your frame will turn out just like mine. Differences in materials and tools used, and your skill level, will yield different results. I cannot be held responsible for a failed project or an injury of any kind so proceed with caution and build at your own risk. Remember: always use caution when working with power tools and read any instructions before beginning any project.

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  1. This frame looks great and that print looks perfect in that location

  2. Looks awesome, love it!
    Are you going to show us where you moved the green mirror to? :)

  3. Awesome frame! I love the color, the print and the styling!

  4. It looks great!! I love the stain color and that it matches your cabinets!
    Can't wait to see the other changes you made

  5. It doesn't feel like March yet! *grumble* Hey - I've been seeing your stuff pop up on Pinterest more and more. Very cool! I bet I see this frame on there next. :)

  6. You did a great job with that frame! It definitely looks like you used perfect wood. It looks like Ana White's Barnwood Frame (I wonder if that is where Mimi got it from??). I made a couple of those (really big like yours) over a year ago sort of as a temp thing. I don't use them anymore but I've wondered what I could put in them.

    So glad it is March!

  7. Thanks Julie!

    Julia - Yep! I'll show you where it ended up on Tuesday :)

    Thanks Tiffany!

    Thanks Melissa!

    Thanks Amy! I've been noticing that too :)

    Thanks Crystal! I've never seen Ana's frame but that's a possibility! All projects seem to stem from Ana's somehow haha You should use your frames!

  8. I am completely impressed with your frame building skills. Skillz run deep!!!

  9. I love this! I actually have done a couple of those big blueprint prints and never really know what to do with them after since a $100 frame sort of defeats the purpose. This is a great idea.

  10. Haha thanks Kenz!

    Thanks Kelly! That's kind of how I felt about this print too. It wasn't too expensive and it probably would have cost more to have it framed! The DIY route was cheap and easy :)

  11. Love looks beautiful! I have wood in our basement that has been sitting there for over a month. This might have just gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get it finished! :)

  12. Thanks Gabbi! Let me know if you build a frame of your own, I'd love to see how it turns out!

  13. Great job on your frame! Your a jack of all trades!!

  14. Wow! Looks amazing and I love that print.

  15. Your frame turned out Gorgeous! I love how it looks with dark stain. Thanks for the mention!

  16. SO well done! Love the new frame. All of my orchids are faux too. :)

    Kelly @ View Along the Way

  17. Hi Caitlin! I just found your blog and just love it!! So I wanted to say hello and that I look forward to following your adventures in Tuscon.


  18. I am dying over that crystal print. Would love to know more about it. Kudos on the frame, too!

  19. Careful not to use rubber cement or other adhesive on original work or anything of significant value!


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