I am all about oversized art and prints. Hanging a large scale photo is one of the fastest ways to transform the feel of a space, but depending on how you do it, it can also be a pretty expensive way as well. I love that more and more sites are selling reasonable large scale prints (and you can’t beat the price of printing out a photo as an engineer print). But when you need a large scale frame, it can sometimes cost more than the print itself, which is always so frustrating to me (especially when I just want the most plain and simple frame possible). It’s just wood, you guys, not solid gold. Anyway, the process is even more expensive when you need a custom size that isn’t readily available and have to have it made. So I thought I would show you a way to make large scale frames at a fraction of the price, and it can be whatever size you want! No saw required either!
Elsie has an awesome giant photo of Jane Birkin that she wanted to hang in her dining room, so I volunteered to make her a custom frame to show you how it’s done.
First, you’ll need to determine how big the inside edge of your frame should be. I usually like to measure the print or photo and then make the width and height measurements 1” smaller so I know there won’t be any gaps between the frame and print. You can see in the photo above that I cut the vertical height boards to be the exact height that I wanted and then cut the horizontal width boards to be the exact width plus 6” to account for the two 3” boards that meet up with each end. So, if I wanted the inside frame to be 30” tall and 40” wide, I would cut two 30” boards for the height and two 46” boards for the width.
My boards were 3” wide, so if you have a 4” wide board you would have to add 8”, etc. Since you should know exactly what length of boards you need, you can have them cut the wood for you at the home improvement store, thus escaping the need for a saw. But you can also use a jig saw (like I keep telling you to get!) or chop saw if you have access to one of those.
Drill the corner braces onto the back of each corner to hold the frame together.
If you have any gaps between the boards that you aren’t happy about, you can quickly fill the gaps with caulk or wood filler to make your frame appear seamless.
Once the filler is dry, use your spray paint to paint or stain your wood and attach as many sawtooth hangers as needed to hang your frame from.
Use small nails or flat thumbtacks to attach your print to the wall, and then hang your frame over the mounted print. You could also mount your print to foam core first, and then tack the board onto the back of the frame with small nails and hang it as one unit. The only downside with that is you can sort of see the two layers when viewed directly from the side. Attaching the print to the wall makes it appear a little more seamless from the side.
It looks great! You would never know that this was an inexpensive workaround to a more expensive frame. This frame was 35” x 44” and it cost under $25 to make. Using it in conjunction with an engineer print made the whole project under $40! Not bad for a statement piece, don’t you think? I have several of these “cheat frames” in my house, and I plan on making many more as needed. Hope this helps solve an oversized or custom frame problem for you in the future! xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.