DIY Custom Framing

You got something you’d like framed, but it’s a weird, non-standard size? There ain’t no poster frames at Wal-Mart that will fit it? No problem!

Here’s what I do when I need to frame something, but don’t want to pay out the ass for custom framing.

Step 1: Buy a poster frame as small as your artwork will fit in. It’s okay if the frame is a little larger.

Step 2: Take the cardboard backing out and measure its height and width. It’s important to do this because it’s going to be slightly larger or smaller than the advertised size of the frame.

Step 3: Measure the height and width of your artwork.

Step 4: Subtract the artwork’s width from the cardboard’s width and divide by 2. You want to measure on your cardboard and mark that distance in from the edges of the top and bottom. Repeat this step for the heights and mark in from the left and right edges.

Step 5: With a Sharpie marker (I think black is nicest looking, but it’s your frame) start coloring in the edges of the frame.

“Sharpie marker, DJ?” you may be asking, “That’s gonna look like dogshit.” You’d think so, but no! If you’re careful to fully color in the edges, it looks fine once the plastic is over it. You don’t have to be neat about it either. In fact, it’s good to go a hair over the mark, just so that when your art is all nice and centered on it, there’s little chance of having missed any edging. You will probably have to buy a new Sharpie afterward though. This eats through the felt tip. It should look like this when you’re done.

Step 6: Center your art up on the cardboard. Make sure there’s no brown peeking through the edges. Then secure the corners with tape underneath. For most things, a small loop of scotch tape will be enough to keep your artwork in place once it’s sealed in the frame. For heftier things, like puzzles, I use a loop of packing tape.

NOTE: Helpful hint for framing puzzles if they are missing pieces; I colored in some paper and taped it to the back of the holes where the missing pieces were, to highlight the spaces. I think it looks nicer if you highlight the missing pieces with a contrasting color, rather than try to hide them, but again, it’s your art.

Step 7: Place everything back in the frame.

Step 8: Ta-da!

Here’s a bunch of different things I’ve framed this way:

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