Universal Art Frame

by emmett, published

Universal Art Frame by emmett Apr 13, 2013
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Universal Art Frame by emmett is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

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One thing I've learned about married life is that art must be framed. However, the local framing shops want to charge me upwards of $50, especially for a large, custom-sized picture. So I've decided to take matters into my own hands and design this simple, printed solution that will hang any size picture.

The advantages of this framing method include:

  • Minimal weight
  • Minimal cost
  • Unobtrusive
  • High strength
  • Ease of hanging and straightening
  • Doesn't scratch wall


Sandwich the art between a backing and a piece of glass. The glass is the most expensive part of this frame, but it's still quite cheap. I used a kind of particle board for the backing, and the hardware store custom cut it and the glass to size for free. Other good backing materials might be foam board or corrugated cardboard. I recommend using fine sandpaper to knock the sharp edges off the glass.

Print four of the corners. Customize them if necessary to fit your thickness of sandwich or whatever else you might want. Get some thin, strong cord (mine is a little less than 1.5 mm in diameter and holds 100 lb). Place the art sandwich face down, put the four corners on and tie them together with the cord as shown in the pictures (make sure to view full size). Tie the two ends of the cord together with your favorite rope bend (I use the Carrick bend). Leave plenty of slack; the picture will hang at the intersection of the crossed lines, so make sure that's far enough up to hang comfortably. I put the knot at the top of the picture so that the free ends can hang down without being visible.

Pull on the crossed lines to tighten the corners onto the art. You can pick it up now and press down on the corners of the glass to make sure the sandwich is seated all the way down in the corner pieces. Hang the art by guiding the slack, crossed lines onto a nail in your wall. If the picture is crooked, push it sideways. This will cause the cord to slide though the corners and adjust the length of the two crossed lines, which in turn adjusts the hanging angle. Note that the cord forms a barrier between the frame and the wall, which keeps the wall from getting scratched.

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Really strange fact you had to learn there.. why is this?!? is your wife just afraid of pictures with dog-ears? or is this a fundamental religious thing?

I believe the explanation had something to do with "it shouldn't look like your college dorm room". Though my sample size is not huge, every married guy I know has come across this requirement, so I'm lead to believe it's somewhat universal.

This is perfect! I've been looking at getting some frames made and, like you, found it annoyingly expensive. I'll be giving this a go when I get the glass needed

Awesome Concept! I have just the perfect odd-sized poster to test this concept. No way am I paying $100 for a custom frame!
Thanks a bunch for your contributions to this community