Learn a quick and easy way of framing large posters or photos with this step-by-step tutorial. No tools? No problem. Have your wood cut at the lumber store and you’ll be ready to go.
If you’re looking for cheap large poster frames, look no further, especially if you want to make them yourself and save some cash. Custom framing is super expensive which makes this DIY custom framing post a must for the young mom who wants to display her kids’ photos or any large printed art, on the cheap!
This tutorial came about at the request of my daughter who needed some picture frames poster size, to display some life-size photos of her 3 kids. I of course, couldn’t resist looking at those sweet faces, so I said yes. Lucky for you, I put everything DYI related on this blog so I hope you like it and give it a try! Scroll to learn a super-easy way to how to make a poster frame with only a few materials.
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| 1/4″ plywood cut to size for the backing|
1×2 boards– 2 pieces to match the length of the plywood and 2 pieces to match the width minus 1.5 inches.
|Brad Nail Gun|
| Utility Knife (or scissors!)|
Steps at a glance (details ahead!)
- Cut 1x2s and plywood to size and paint whatever color you choose
- Adhere the poster or photo to the plywood
- Put the frame together with nails
- Nail the frame to the plywood
- Hang and Enjoy
Framing Large Posters
Step 1: Cut the 1x2s to size and paint
To make the frame for a poster or photo, begin by cutting the 1x2s to size. It helps if you paint the boards before you put the frame together. The length of the poster photo in this project is 2 feet x 4 feet and that is also the size of the plywood. This was a pre-cut piece I purchased at the lumber store.
The 2 long vertical boards are exactly the same length as the plywood (4 feet in this case). The width of the 2 shorter boards will be a little shorter than the width of the plywood because they will be sandwiched between the long boards. It is best to measure these and cut them to size. If you don’t have a saw, you can have them cut the exact width on the plywood minus the 2X the thickness of the 1×2.
Step 2: Glue the poster or photo to the plywood
Now it’s time to adhere the photo to the plywood. Make sure the poster is on straight.
I used one of the boards as a guide and used a utility knife to trim the excess on the sides of the photo.
Now to stick the photo on the plywood. Initially, when I researched poster framing, I ran into many articles using mod podge. My daughter and I tried it and it was an epic fail, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Apparently, we need a degree in mod podge science. Instead, we opted for the easy route and used a glue stick. There you go. That’s my pro tip!
Only put glue around the edges. Less is more. Because you will be attaching the frame to the edge any imperfections created by the glue are unlikely to show.
3. Build the frame
Put the frame together using a brad nail gun with short brad nails. Remember that the short pieces will be between the long pieces.
The picture above gives the impression that the frame is attached to the picture at this point, but it’s not. I had everything sitting on the kitchen counter. Something else to note is that you will attach each piece on the short side, not flat. Once you’ve assembled it in all 4 corners it’ll look like this.
Step 4: Attach the frame to the plywood
Once the frame is built, set the plywood on top of the frame with the picture facing down. Shoot nails around the edges from the plywood and into the frame. The 1x2s are pretty thin so you’ll need to be precise when shooting your nails into it. And you’re there! Talk about a quick way to frame a poster for cheap!
About the life-sized prints
If you’re interested in getting similar prints here is some info. My daughter had them printed at Staples. They are called engineering prints and each one was $7. We got the largest poster size they allowed (3 feet x 4 feet). That’s why they had an excess of paper on the sides.
My daughter wanted these to be life-size so she had each of the kids stand on the wall next to a 4-foot piece of tape and marked where the top of their head was. On the website, she made sure to leave enough white space to reflect the height of each kid. The white space was 4 feet minus the kid’s height. I hope this makes sense! That’s why as the kids get smaller there is more white space at the top. You can choose to print the photo however you choose but if you love the idea of a life-sized shot, that’s how she did it. She also had it printed on regular paper. There is no glass on the front. We left it as is.
Step 5: Hang on the wall
Now that you’re done, it’s time to put picture hangers on the back and hang them on your wall! And that my friends, this is how you get custom poster frames cheap! What do you think? Leave me a comment!
As you can see, these cheap poster frames look pretty classy when they’re up. No one has to know that you paid $7 plus some scrap wood unless you’re like me and you can’t contain your excitement when you get a good deal! I mean, it helps that my grandkids have the perfect indoor play space complete with indoor adjustable swings!
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