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These DIY picture frames are not only a simple project but make for a beautiful homemade piece of decor or a thoughtful gift idea. It’s not just about framing photos; it’s about crafting a piece of art that enhances your home decor.

This DIY project has been a favorite for over a decade! Thousands of readers have made them and you can, too, with a few basic materials!

Three DIY picture frames with family photos.

These DIY picture frames are one of my favorite weekend projects ever. They are easy to make and require few materials. They can be customized to whatever shape, size and color fits your decor – which makes them the perfect project!

This DIY project has been a fan favorite for over a decade. These easy-to-make DIY picture frames are perfect for showcasing family photos, turning any house into a home. They’re a testament to how a simple DIY project can transform into a cherished piece of art.

This project is an excellent alternative to expensive custom framing, allowing you to create a custom frame that matches your decor perfectly. Save a lot of money and get beautiful handmade picture frames? yes please!

These handmade frames are perfect for creating a gallery wall. You can craft frames of same or different sizes to display your favorite photos in a unique, personalized layout.

3 DIY picture frames hanging on a wall above a living room couch.

How These Frames Came About

When faced with decorating a long wall in our house, I was inspired to create something unique. After spotting some rustic picture frames online, I decided to craft my own wooden frames. This decision sparked the creation of this tutorial for homemade frames, proving that sometimes, the best decor is the kind you make yourself.

diy picture frame tutorial

Crafting your own frames is not just about saving money; it’s about creating something unique and personal. Whether it’s your first frame or you’re a seasoned DIYer, there’s always room for creativity.

These may be cheap wood picture frames, but they look expensive and would make a lovely gift, too!

DIY picture frames made from scrap wood with family photos attached.
creative p

And they are so simple to make. They look like old weathered pallets but in fact they are basic white wood 1 x 3’s from the hardware store that have been stained to look all old and rustic.

Close up of the stained wood on the DIY picture frames.

The staining technique is simple – it’s just layers of dark stain with a gray stain on top. By varying the intensity of the different stains (the longer it’s on, the darker the stain ends up), you get a variety of color on the wood.

My whitewashed wood technique is also another method that would work well here if you would prefer a lighter look.

They really add so much warmth to the living room. Plus, I love looking at pictures of my babies!

DIY large picture frame. Creative picture frame idea

Step-by-Step Guide to Your Own DIY Picture Frames

Materials Needed

  • Wood: 1 x 3’s cut to size. My frames are 22 inches long and 7 boards wide, easily sourced from your local hardware store or from scrap wood.
  • Wood Stain: Minwax Dark Walnut & Classic Gray.
  • Card Stock: Black (11 x 14) and burlap color (8 x 11) for a classic look.
  • Photo: Your favorite 5 x 7 photo and a 5 x 7 cream mat.
  • Other Supplies: Foam brushes, rags, wood glue, Elmer’s glue, removable glue dots, a smaller cream mat for the photo, sanding paper/block.

I’ve put together a video tutorial to help you… or you can just skip over it and read the directions below.

Watch this updated video to see how I improved my method using the removable glue dots so that the photos can be changed out as needed.


  1. Cut the wood: Cut the wood into strips the length you want the frame. My frames are 22 inches long and 7 boards wide (just over 17 inches). I purchased 1 x 3 x 8’s and had them cut down into 4 equal pieces. So I got 4 boards from each 8 foot piece at round $4.50 for the entire 8 ft board.

    Adding Power Tools for Precision: If you’re comfortable using power tools, a miter saw or table saw can make cutting your wood pieces more precise.
Staining the wood dark walnut.
  1. Stain the wood: Start by putting a coat of Dark Walnut on all the boards except for a few. Immediately wipe it off 3/4 of them. Let it sit for 20 minutes on the remainder before wiping off. This will allow for a different depth of color on the boards.
  2. Second round of stain: Next, apply a coat of Classic Gray to all boards, including the ones that didn’t get Dark Walnut. Again, wipe it off a few, and leave it sit longer on others. Allow to dry for 6 – 8 hours.
Adding color variation to the wood with stain.

4. Assembling the Frame: Lay out your stained wood, ensuring a varied color pattern. Use wood glue for the frame pieces, securing them with a corner clamp for precision.

The back of the DIY picture frame.
  1. Brace the back: Using wood glue, place two braces on the backs.

    Weigh them down with something heavy so that the glue bonds correctly, or use a clamp if you have one.


  • Adding Stability: For larger frames, consider using pocket holes for additional support.
  • Custom Sizing: Measure twice, cut once! Use a tape measure and straight edge for precise measurements.
  • Enhancing the Back of the Frame: For a more polished look at the back of the frame, you can use a piece of foam core board or a piece of cardboard cut to size with a box cutter.
The back of the photo frame with the brace piece

Adding the Front Design: Once the wood is dry and secure, you can work on the front design.

Attach the black card stock to the front, using Mod Podge or Elmer’s Glue. Again, place something down on it and let it dry.

Attaching the mat to the front of the picture frame

On top of the black, glue down the piece of tan colored card stock (you may need to cut it to fit correctly). Put some removable glue dots on the back of your photo and press it into the center of the tan colored card stock. Finally, attach a strip of glue dots around the the back of the cream mat, and press it down on top of the photo.

Note: It’s important to use the removable glue dots and not regular glue, or you won’t be able to remove the photo and the mat on top of it.

Finishing Touches: Lightly sand the edges for a distressed look. Attach a sawtooth picture hanger on the top back brace. Then hang it up!

Saw tooth hanger on the back of the picture frame

That’s it. Really, they couldn’t be easier to make and look pretty impressive in my opinion. What do you think?

DIY Rustic Picture Frame Tutorial

DIY Picture Frame

Yield: 1 Frame
Active Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $20

This DIY wooden picture frame is not only a simple project but makes for a beautiful homemade piece of decor or thoughtful gift idea.


  • 1 x 3's cut to size (Lowes/Home Depot will do this for free).  My frames are 22 inches long and 7 boards wide (just over 17 inches).
  • Smaller boards to brace the backs (whatever you can find that's low profile. Get these cut to about 1.5 ft pieces) 
  • Wood Stain - I used Minwax Dark Walnut & Classic Gray 
  • Foam Brushes
  • Rags or paper towel
  • Wood glue
  • Mod Podge or Elmer's School Glue
  • 11 x 14 card stock or picture mat, black
  • 8 x 11 card stock, burlap or tan color (length will need to be trimmed)
  • Small mat for a 5 x 7 photo, cream
  • 5 x 7 photo of your choice
  • Removable glue dots


  1. Stain your wood. Start by putting a coat of Dark Walnut on all the boards except
    for a few. Immediately wipe it off 3/4 of them. Let it sit for 20 minutes on the
    remainder before wiping off. Next, apply a coat of the Classic Gray stain to all
    boards, including the ones that didn't get Dark Walnut. Again, wipe it off a few,
    and leave it sit longer on others.
  2. At this point, it's all a matter of preference whether you want to add more gray
    stain or darken up some of the boards. It's all about getting different colors on the
    wood. Play around with them!
  3. If you want a really old look, you can also add some watered down white paint. I
    did not do this but it does look good, too!
  4. By the way, you'll notice the ends of my pieces of wood are not stained. I decided
    to cut my pieces shorter so I stained them at the very end.
  5. Arrange the boards so that the colors vary. Flip 7 of them all over, laying them
    tightly together.
  6. Using wood glue, place two braces on the backs. Weigh them down with
    something heavy so that the glue bonds correctly.
  7. Once dry, attach the black card stock using Mod Podge or Elmer's Glue. Again, place
    something down on it and let it dry.
  8. Glue down the piece of tan card stock (you may need to cut it to fit correctly). Use glue dots to place
    the photo, centered, on top. Finally, place glue dots around the back of the cream colored mat and press it down over the photo.
  9. Lightly sand all the edges to give a slightly distressed look.
  10. Attach a sawtooth picture hanger to the back and hang it up!

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  1. Hi! Quick question… I made some similar diy frames and the stain says to cover with a sealer… I have not made much with wood before… is that necessary for a picture frame or just for something that would be outdoors or get scratched easily. I didn’t see a sealer used in your tutorial… did you just stain?

  2. Hello, Jenna Kate! This project is EXACTLY what I was looking for when deciding how to frame all my puzzles! I only have one question: did you glue the 1″ x 3″ boards together prior to flipping them over for the braces? It wasn’t in the instructions or your video. I just wonder if it would make the overall finished piece heavier with more glue. I’m concerned because I’ll be framing large puzzles which will require more and longer boards. My puzzles are 18″ x 24″ and 48″ x 13″. Thanks in advance! When I’m done, I’ll tag them on Instagram!

    1. Hi! I didn’t glue in between the boards, but you definitely could! A bit of glue won’t add any weight

      1. Holy Moly! I did NOT expect you to answer so quickly. THANK YOU! I’m heading to the store to see what I can find. I live in Costa Rica and there’s no Home Depot-like store close to us, but there are hardware stores. I’m taking pics of everything I need in case I don’t know the words in Spanish.🤔🤣

        P.S. LOVE getting all your emails! Really enjoy reading all your ideas. Once our house is complete, I’ll be putting more than one project into play. This frame will be my first! Again, thank you!

  3. Dre Johnson says:

    I did this! My fam loves them. I wish I could share a pic on here. Thanks for posting this! Cheers!

  4. So I want to do this but my wood distressed frame. However, my picture is 11×14. I don’t want all the framing. Was just going to put down burlap and/or white/cream cardstock and then the picture. I just wanted to know what ratio I would use for the frame. I see yours is 22×17. Any help?

    1. Hi Shane,

      Just use your picture as a template. Place it over the wood and determine how much space you want around it. That’s all I did to come up with my sizing :-)