Assembling a self-assembly picture frame

I was assembling a frame yesterday and thought I’d share a few photographs of part of the process. The pictures show one of our self-assembly kits being assembled. The frame is solid ash in narrow(20mm) deep (27mm) section.

Self-assembly frame

The four lengths of a self-assembly frame

The most common way of joining frames after they have been mitred is by the use of an underpinner. This is perfect for workshop use but for the self-assembly kits I needed something that could be assembled at customers homes with the minimum of tools so I decided to adopt a system which uses dove tail wedges.

Dove tail joint

A mitred corner with dovetail joint.

Frames are easy to assemble with no special tools and the dovetail system when used with wood glue provides an extremely strong and tight joint. To assemble, frame lengths are placed upside down on a flat surface and glue applied to the corners, bringing the two pieces together allows the dovetail wedges to be inserted from the back. (See photos).

Once assembled it is easy to paint the frames in a variety of finishes.

Inserting the dove tail wedge

Inserting the dove tail wedge

In the photographs you will see white acrylic paint being applied thinly. When the whole frame is coated and still wet, the paint is gently rubbed back with a cloth leaving an attractive lime wash finish. Paint can be mixed any colour you like to compliment your works.

This simple self-assembly approach allows artists to frame works for sale or exhibition at very reasonable cost and large frames are no problem as kits are easy to package. Kits are available for framing works on canvas or artists board. For works on paper, such as watercolours, mounts and glazing options can be added. Boards and glazing are held in place with a simple push point system.

Painting the frame with acrylic paint

Painting the frame with acrylic paint

The particular frame in the photographs is destined to be used by the BBC’s DIY SOS program next week and graces an original print by Jane Ormes.

The finised frame

The finised frame


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