It took me awhile to perfect my technique for making a frame with mitered corners.
It wasn’t the frame itself that I struggled with, but really what was the best way to attach it to my sign.
I like painting signs like these on 1/4″ plywood. The thicker stuff is heavier, and I don’t like the weight it gives my finished pieces (plus it’s not usually as smooth of a surface to paint on!)…but you can’t really nail a frame to 1/4″ ply.
I came up with the following system, and I love it.
My signs are sturdy, and easy to put together…and this method lets me use up a lot of scrap wood in my stash!
Heads up…I do use a few power tools here, mainly a chop saw and a nail gun…and sometimes a table saw to rip down larger boards from my stash!
Nikki, In Stitches
Before I paint my sign I attach a simple butted corner frame to THE BACK of my 1/4″ plywood. Yup…to THE BACK! This won’t be visible at all from the front, but gives me just enough wood to eventually nail the mitered frame to!
You can see the top and bottom slats are the width of my sign. The side slats are a little smaller, cut to fit perfectly in place.
I nail these to the plywood from the front…going through the plywood, into the slats behind.
Sometimes I fill the nail holes before I paint, but sometimes I don’t even bother to. The brads from my nail gun aren’t super thick, and the paint is often times enough to fill whatever indentations are there!
NOTE: I typically use 1″ by 2″ precut pieces of wood here, but this is a great opportunity to use your scraps! Again, no on is going to see this, so you can rip down a few wider boards with your table saw if you have them! I would just keep your pieces about those same dimensions if you can!
Then I paint my sign.
Here’s quick close up of the painted plywood with the frame behind it. Two important things to note:
- The slats behind are lined up right with the edges of my plywood…this makes the finished project super sturdy.
- See how much thicker the frame behind the plywood is compared to the plywood itself? This gives you so much more to nail into!
And finally, I cut the mitered pieces and nail them TO THE BUTTED FRAME BEHIND MY PAINTED PLYWOOD! (Remember, don’t try to nail into the 1/4″ ply! It’s too thin, you’ll miss, and you’ll damage your beautifully painted sign! The whole point of this technique is to give you a lot more wood in the frame behind the sign…nail into that!)
In this case, I did the sides first. I cut them and check that they are the correct length. (I do use a chop saw for these cuts, set to a 45 degree angle!)
Then paint them and nail them on.
I repeat this process for the top and bottom pieces. These I take a little more time getting them the exact right length so that my mitered corners fit together perfectly!
Again, I use 1″ by 2″ pieces here. Feel free to rip down wider boards to those dimensions if you have them in your scrap pile!
See? Not that hard once you have something behind your sign to actually nail into!
Have questions about the painting itself? Take a look in this post to see how I bring my hockey loving kiddos to life! Snow Day Painting
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