Simple Wood Gallery Frame Plans

Beginner Projects
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Easy to make wood gallery wall frames from 1x2 furring strips.

This year, I finally did it!

I'm such a DIY gal, it's hard for me to admit that there are times when I can't or shouldn't do everything myself.  

Case in point - family photos. 

Back when there was just one baby, the old click the timer and run trick was good enough for a couple of photos with everyone in it, and then a whole bunch more with one parent missing.  

Now with two kids?  I knew it would take a great deal of luck to get the whole family in a photo with eyes open and happy, exactly when the timer goes off on the camera.  And I am definitely not lucky in that way.

So we worked with a photographer this year to capture our family this holiday season.


I'm so thankful that Heather was able to capture our family this Holiday season.  We so loved how these photos turned out, I decided to frame the prints into a gallery wall.

I loved these gallery frames, but knew I could come up with something alot more reasonably priced - a set of 20 frames would cost me $418 on sale.  Here my chance redeem my DIY self!

So I built 20 wood frames for about $30 - mats included.  In fairness, I did not add glass which would have added to the cost, depending on the size.  I will probably cut my own out of acrylic glass after I finish making a few bigger frames too.

Aren't the photos so much more beautiful with the wood frames?  

I used 1x2 furring strips for the wood - they are so inexpensive ($1 here in Alaska for 8 feet) and have so much character.  

I stained the wood with Rustoleum Early American.  It's a nice rich color on pine.

This was such a fun and easy project that will have meaning to our family for years to come.  These little frames will make great gifts too!

I'm sharing the plans for this project below for you to use with your own photos.  And stay tuned, I will be sharing soon a video tutorial as well!!!

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Ana + Family



Fits 5x7 photo
This plan can be easily modified to fit any size


Shopping List
Common Materials
1 1/4 inch finish nails
Cut List

2 - 1x2 @ 8" (cut to width of mat)

2 - 1x2 @ 10" (cut to length of mat)

2 - 1x2 @ 9-1/2" (cut to width of mat PLUS 1-1/2" - measure and cut to fit is recommended)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Clamp the shorter 1x2 board to a tabletop and then nails with 1-1/4" nails and wood glue the 10" 1x2 to the 8" 1x2.

Step 2

Measure the outside of the frame and cut two additional 1x2 boards to fit.  Glue and nail to frame.

Step 3

Stain or paint the frame.


Glue mat to frame.  You can use craft glue or hot glue.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. 

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.



Wed, 12/03/2014 - 15:21

I love the frames, they're so simple and so pretty. And your family! Beautiful. Those photos are gallery worthy for sure!

Pam the Goatherd

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 08:47

This is perfect!  Just yesterday I was trying to figure out how I was going to afford framing some pictures to give one of my adult children for Christmas without breaking the bank.  This will work wonderfully!  And I have a bunch of pallets in my stack that are made with 1"x2" pine that I can re-use.  Handmade Christmas presents for FREE!  That's a gift my budget can live with!!!!


Mon, 01/29/2018 - 11:20

What if I wanted the frame to be cut at 45? I know it would be long pnt to long pnt but where would I mark it and then cut the 45? I always come up to short. Lets say i want to put a frame around a 10"x10" square board. Would I make a mark on my 1x2 @10" and cut at 45 on that mark?? This really has me fristrated and I just want to give up :(