This past summer a friend of mine bought a pallet of cement to redo the floor in his deer skinning shed (seriously!). He got a new floor and I got the left over wood pallet. I finally got around to using the wood to make some picture frames. They were extremely easy to make with one caveat – I would recommend using a miter saw to get the 45 degree angles exact. You also have to put in a little work to take the pallet apart and a crow bar is a necessity. The pallet I got was in good shape and I used the wood as is. I sanded it to smooth all the edges but did not use any paint, stain, or finish. I liked the look of the raw wood as is and the look fit right in with the cabin. The first frame I made was for a puzzle. I simply measured the opening I needed and made sure to start cutting the frame angle from the inside edge. So if you need a 12 x 12 frame, make sure your 45 degree cut starts at the 12 inch mark. The first cut won’t matter much but your second cut has to be 12 inches from the inside edge (at the below mark noted with the arrow). Forgive me if I’m stating the obvious but I’ve made this mistake before.
I laid the frame out and used wood joiners to hold the boards in place. These little guys in case you’re wondering.
I put screws through the sides for extra support. In hindsight I would have used a heavier duty frame corner bracket but it’s not what I had on hand and you know how that goes, you get your mind set on doing a project and just want to finish it. The corner seams separated a bit but it’s raw wood and it has nail holes in it so I didn’t mind too much since the frame had an overall unfinished, rustic look. I used some plywood I had for the back of the frame and cut it down to size and then nailed the frame onto the plywood. I also used some furniture slider pads so the walls wouldn’t get scraped.
I really thought the plywood would secure the frame and not allow for the seams to come apart but after a couple of weeks of hanging on the wall, the frame settled a bit and shifted. Again, I didn’t mind the corner seams but what I noticed was that the edges of the puzzle were now showing and I had originally fit it exactly in the frame. But, it’s unfinished wood that was outside and came inside so I’m sure as it dried completely it shifted, shrunk…you know.
To fill in the gap, I bought some natural rope and used hot glue to secure it.
The rope was a perfect embellishment for the frame and hid the gap.
The finished frame. Makes me want to do another puzzle!
I also made a picture frame for a canvas picture (already stretched over a frame). I had the same issues with this frame settling as you can see from the gaps.
So for this frame I bought some balsa wood which is naturally very light and coated it with dark furniture wax.
I used hot glue to attach it to the inside edge of the frame. I also glued balsa wood to the corner seams to cover the separation and add a little extra embellishment.
I put more glue on the back to secure it better. You can see the wood joiners here as well.
The finished frame held the picture in perfectly so it wouldn’t fall out. You’ll notice that I didn’t use plywood for the back of this frame. I didn’t do this because it was a smaller frame and I didn’t feel it needed as much support and I also had envisioned setting the picture (which was already wrapped around a frame) right inside the pallet frame. Originally it was snug enough to secure the picture but after settling, it was just a bit too loose so the balsa wood helped secure it.
Lastly, I made a shadow box frame for some classic old hand tools I picked up at an estate sale. I sanded, stained, and put a top coat of polyurethane on the tool handles to bring them back to life and wanted a way to display them. The pallet wood pieces are almost all the same size except for a few pieces of wood that were actually attached to the inside of the pallet. These pieces were thinner and turning them on their side was the perfect depth I needed for my shadow box. Here’s the cut wood before.
Because the wood was standing on its side and the width of the frame was so narrow I didn’t cut the edges at a 45 degree angle but left them straight. Then I cut a piece of plywood for the back.
Because it was a shadow box, I needed the back to be painted or covered somehow so I used painters cloth and hot-glued it onto the plywood before attaching it to the frame.
I haven’t decided if I want to cover this frame with glass or not. I may need to enjoy it as it for a bit before I decide. But at least the tools that I’ve been wanting to display for the last 2 years are out of the attic and hanging on the wall for all to see!