DIY Gallery Wrap Picture Frame

Today’s project is fairly simple but it’s something that I’ve needed to make for a while. I have a bunch of photos I’ve taken over the years so I had a friend who has access to a large printer, print several of these photos on a large piece of fabric. My goal was to get these photos out from under my desk and display them on the wall so I thought a gallery wrap picture frame would be a good project.

I went back and forth as to what style of picture frame I was going to make. I had never built a gallery wrap picture frame so I did some research on the internet before starting. Since the wood frame is completely hidden it doesn’t make sense to use an exotic wood species or use fancy joinery so I went with a simple 2’x4’. I ripped the 2’x4’ in half on the table saw and removed the rounded edges to leave me with 2 square pieces an 1” ½ by 1” ½ .

As the name implies gallery wrapped picture frames have the photo wrap around the edge and go all the way to the wall. This means the frame has to be undersized by at least 3” in each dimension so I cut the four pieces of the frame with this in mind.

Like I said, the frame is completely hidden so fancy joinery that is impressive to look at is pointless. I went with a half lap joint in all four corners. I used my combination square to measure out the cuts and marked them with a pencil. I like to put a scribble on the piece that I’m cutting out so I know it’s the scrap piece. With the measurements marked it was time to cut the joint. I started by cross cutting each piece on the table saw with the blade set to half depth. Once this was done, I took the four pieces over to the band saw to complete the 90 degree cut freeing the scrap that I marked earlier.

I’ve got all the half lap joints cut, and it’s time to assemble. I spread some glue both on the cheek and the shoulder of the joint before securing it in place with some brad nails. I repeated this process on all four corners to complete the frame.

At this point I’m ready to start stretching the fabric and tacking it down to the wooden frame. To do the stretching I’m going to use a tool called a canvas stretcher. I learned about it when I was researching for this project. I didn’t even know it existed. This helps grab onto the fabric and stretch it around the frame as you tack it down.

The first thing I’m going to do is take the long edge and tack it along the edge as an anchor point. The idea is to start in the center and tack that in place with some staples. Then move to the opposite side and use the tool to grab the fabric and stretch against the side you just tacked down. This gives you something to pull against. Once it’s tight you put a couple of staples in. From there you go back to the side you started on and start putting in a couple of staples at a time working your way outward. Each time you put a staple in one side, make sure to stretch the fabric against it and put a matching staple on the other side. I continued this pattern until I completed all four sides.

The next step is to do the corners of the fabric. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an expert at this technique. In fact, just 20 seconds ago I had my phone out watching a YouTube video of someone doing this who actually knows how to do it. But it looks pretty straight forward, and I think I got the hang of it so I’m gonna give it a shot. First you wrap one side around the corner of the frame like this and tack it down with a staple. Next fold the other side in on itself and create a crease right on the corner of the frame like this. Use the tool to pull the fabric tight and staple it down like this. I messed this up a couple of times before getting it right so just be patient if you try this. I repeated this on all four corners. When I was done, it was time to flip the frame over and look at the results!

I really enjoyed making this gallery wrapped picture frame. Hopefully this project inspires you to make something you’re excited about. If you’re new here you may not know that I make a lot of other cool project videos like this. If you enjoy these kind of project videos, please consider subscribing to byte sized. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this article.

Zach HippsComment