Creative upcycling – building your own picture frame out of pallets
- Cost25-35 £
- Duration1-2 h
Only the right frame brings out the best in a picture – and what could be better than showcasing it in a rustic wooden frame made of old boards? Such a frame not only adds a unique touch to your artwork, but thanks to its practical shelf, it also offers space for other decorative elements. With our DIY instructions, you can quickly and affordably make the frame yourself, step by step.
Have you heard about our 18V system yet? It offers a huge variety of devices for many different applications. The thing that makes the project below so special is that you can use the same rechargeable battery for every part of this project. Simply swap out the battery pack, insert it into a different device that’s part of the 18V system and move on to the next step.
Pay attention to occupational health and safety every step of the way to protect yourself and your health. You’ll find all the important information you need to know in our overview of Safety precautions for DIY projects.
Let's go - step by step
Sanding the boards
One thing right before we get started: the picture going into the frame determines the measurements for this project, so you may be working with completely different measurements. But don’t worry, you can also follow these instructions using other measurements. The picture in our project is not a commercial painting and measures in at 1100 x 700 mm, which somewhat deviates from the common standard. If you also want to build a special canvas frame for an individual work of art, you can find illustrated instructions in our DIY community.
We think the weathered look of the discarded pallet boards fits perfectly with our maritime motif. That being said, go ahead and start dismantling the pallet. Don’t underestimate it – it can be really hard work. A crowbar, hammer and a pair of pliers are your best friends for this task.
Euro pallets consist of wide boards and narrower boards. We need both. Make sure you’ve removed all the nails from the boards and roughly sand them with a multi-sander. Check out our video tutorials for sanding tools and our sanding guide to find out more. Use the Microfilter Dust Box or connect a hoover to the multi-sander so you can work as dust-free as possible.
Cutting the boards to size
Measure your picture. These measurements determine the length of your boards. The picture frame consists of one flat frame and one deep-set frame, which creates a beautiful spatial effect.
Start working on the flat frame first. For this step, you need two wide boards and two narrow boards from the pallet. Saw the wide boards to fit the width of the picture (1100 mm). The narrow boards determine the height of the frame. Therefore, in addition to the picture’s dimensions, the individual width of the board is added twice so that the frame around the picture is evenly wide. This amounts to 100 mm each in our case. In case you’re wondering, yes, the side boards have no contact with the picture. It only rests on the top and bottom boards.
For the deep-set frame, you need two narrow boards that match the picture’s height – in our case 700 mm – and one wide board and one narrow board respectively for the width of the picture. To make sure they’re flush with the side boards, add two times the material thickness to the length. So in our case, the length comes to 1144 mm.
Building the frame
You need: Cordless combi drill, Sett med senterbor, 5 deler, Blandingssett med skrutrekkerbits, g-clamps, 1 canvas (1100 x 700 mm), Prepared flat frame, 3 boards (1200 x 100 x 22 mm), 1 board (1200 x 145 x 22 mm), 8 floorboard screws (3.5 x 40 mm)
Lay out the boards for the flat frame, then lay the picture on it. The frame still isn’t fixed in place – we’ll do that in the next step. Now it’s time to put the boards for the deep-set frame in their respective positions. Use G-clamps to hold them in place. The wide board is placed at the bottom and later serves as an ideal surface for displaying decorations. Just something to keep in the back of your mind: in case you’re still looking for inspiration, we’ve already collected tons of ideas for creative DIY wall decor. But first, the frame has to fit. Screw the boards together at the corners. Don’t forget to pre-drill the holes beforehand to avoid unsightly splits and cracks.
Screwing the flat frame together
Turn the frame and the picture over and loosely place the boards for the flat frame in their proper positions. Now it’s time to perfectly align the first of the flat frame’s boards. To do this, measure the centre on the side boards of the flat and deep-set frames and use this line as a guide for the board for the flat frame. Use G-clamps to fix it in the correct position and pre-drill the holes before tightly screwing it in place. This gives you the stop you need for the next boards.
So that you can also attach the wide board to the deep-set frame, mark its position on the board you just screwed in place. Now, align the boards for the top and bottom of the flat frame and draw the lines for drilling and screwing. A slat, for example, would make a good ruler – use what you find best. Don’t forget to pre-drill the holes and countersink the screws in this step, too. Voilà! Your DIY picture frame is ready for its grand exhibition!
Another furnishing in the same style would make a perfect complement for this picture frame. We’ve built loads of DIY projects out of pallets ourselves for this very purpose, for example, our simple shelf made of pallets or our head-turner for the dining room, a table made of old pallets. There are simply no limits to the imagination with this material – using pallets to make a playful children’s bed is just as possible as using them to make a planted privacy screen for the garden. And if you’re into sustainable DIY projects, be sure to check out our rocking chairs made out of car tyres or our climbing wall made out of a marquee set. We hope you have pallets of fun working on this project and discovering new possibilities.