Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nautical Custom DIY Frames

custom frames, dittle dattle, DIY frames, frame tutorial

When I posted my gallery wall frames, many of you requested a tutorial.  Well, it took me a little while to get back into the workshop but here it is! 

Warning:  Lots and Lots of photographs!  I’m a visual type person and I assume if you are a reader of Dittle Dattle then you are too! 


Here is the frame that I will showing you how to build today.  The one’s hanging on the wall are 8x10 photos with an over~all size of  14”x16”.


For this tutorial I will be using a 4”x6” glass taken from a dollar store frame.   I will be working through the layers starting with the glass size first.


For the second layer, choose some thin boards.  I have a verity of boards that I used.  It really doesn’t matter as long as it is thin and when everything gets painted you won’t notice if you do use two different materials for the next layer either.  I did and you can’t notice. 


Let’s get going….

Starting with your glass size, make the next layer 3/4” to 1” larger all the way around.  In my sample 4x6 glass, my next layer will be 5x7.


I used a band saw to cut my thin boards.  Don’t be intimidated!  This tool cuts like butter.  If you’ve used a electric knife in the kitchen you can handle a band saw.  Promise.

**I do use the guide (gray bar that the board is push up to) to keep my cuts straight.


Repeat the same step for the the third layer making it 3/4” to and 1” inch larger.  My third board measures 6”x8”ish.


Now for the fourth and final layer.

Because this is a smaller photograph, I am only going to go about an inch bigger over~all.  However, on my gallery wall, I wanted to make them larger so I went 3”-4” inches larger all the way around.

The overall height for this sample will be 9” inches.


The overall width of this sample will be 11” inches.


I scratched out a rectangle with my overall dimensions and knew that I wanted 5 boards, three wide and two narrow.  Then I figured out the size of each board.  I will cut the boards just a smidge narrower to allow the gap between each board.


Thought I share with you a quick pick of my Dad working on the other side of the workshop on a hand-turned wooden bowl.  I love the shape of that bowl!  Check out his Etsy shop:  Woodexpressions


For the final layer, I’m using pallet/rough sawn lumber. 

**Just make sure the thickness of the boards are the same!  It will make your life easier!!!


Cut the rough sawn boards and lay them out alternating wide and then narrow.  Use a square to make sure everything is straight. 

**I place a piece of tape on the square so I know my overall height.

***Lay the pieces upside down.


Cut two small strips of rough sawn wood SMALLER than your overall height.  Mine measured at 8” inches.


Glue and nail strips to the back of the boards.


Lightly sand and round corners.


STOP HERE!  I like to paint all my pieces first before final assembly.

Once the pieces are painted and sprayed with poly, glue and nail everything together except the glass.  I nail through all three pieces of wood under where the glass is.  The photo will cover any nail holes. 

**Just make sure your nail heads are just under the surface of the wood so that it doesn’t puncture a hole in your photograph.


These are the pieces you will need to mount the glass to the frame.

Drill a small hole next to the glass on center of all four sides.  Be careful NOT to over tighten the screw as it will crack the glass.  You might be able to put a rubber washer between the glass and the speed nut.  I haven’t tried it myself.  


I cut my own glass, that’s why it’s not straight! 


Check out more photos at the Wall Gallery post.   I’ll be back tomorrow to share why I haven’t been around lately.



  1. They are pretty darn awesome Carrie! You really did a great job. I could not do those though, so I will enjoy looking at yours LOL.

  2. These are awesome! So beautiful. I saw very similar ones in a store over the summer and they were going for $30 each!

  3. Thanks Carrie! I want to try this project. I will keep this idea in my files.

    Your frames are beautiful!


  4. Carrie, you're such a crafty schmoo! Great tutorial but I can barely use a hammer without a trip to the ER!

  5. Thanks for this awesome tutorial!!! LOVE them :)

  6. Great tutorial Carrie! I'm definitely going to try these. Thanks!

    Happy Holidays!

  7. Carrie you are truly amazing. This is an awesome tutorial. Wow...love it. The photos are fabulous as well. I would love it if you could share this amazing post at our What's It Wednesday linky party. Hope you can join us.


  8. Oh my goodness, these are gorgeous! Wish i had more time to give these a try!

  9. Thanks for the step by step instructions Carrie. You are so talented, and I love how they turned out. So very nice! :)

  10. Cute idea! What type of mask thingie is your dad wearing? Does he wear glasses with it? I'm trying to find a safety glasses solution that will fit over my eyeglasses & not cause me to sweat to death or get a headache from having my glasses smooshed on my face. Thanks & Happy Holidays

  11. Thanks for sharing this! I've seen these types of frames around and have wanted to make one, now I can try! hope all is well, Debbie

  12. Carrie, are you doing OK? I have missed you and "Amaze Me Mondays". Do hope you are doing well. xo

  13. These are amazing! Have you ever thought of selling them? I saw them, thought "I could possibly do that..." and thennn you started talking about too many tools. :)

  14. Wow! These are just beautiful. I can't wait to do this. Thank you for sharing it.

  15. Found your blog today after finding a post about your pallet side tables on Pinterest. Now I'm browsing through your posts. I love this frame and your table. I want to give both of these a try. But I have a question for you. You mentioned something about having the pallet boards the same height.... how did you prep these? Did you just sand them or did you use a planer? Also... on the table that I saw... they look rough, what did you do to prep them.
    Awesome projects on here! I'll be your newest follower :)

  16. What's the thickness of the "thin" boards? Like1/4 inch?

  17. Wow what an awesome tutorial-those came out beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  18. These are amazing! I think you did a great job.

  19. It's gorgeous!!! Thanks for the tutorial.


Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed your visit. If you did, please leave a comment!!!
Thanks ~Carrie

*and remember what mom always said~ "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say NOTHING at all".

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