One of the best parts about having woodworking for a hobby is that it never gets old. Every project (and I mean every project!) comes with its own set of challenges and small puzzles to figure out. But once in a while I like to take on an entire project that is a challenge. These two wrap-around corner picture frames definitely forced me out of my comfort bubble!
But as with all projects, no matter how big, the individual steps are nothing I haven’t done before: These frames are just a series of miter cuts and bevel cuts. The part that concerned me from the outset is how to glue these odd shapes together and keep everything square, especially since each half of the frame would basically have just three sides. There is no support in the middle, where they “bend”.
The acrylic would be another challenge to overcome. A simple method for this would be to simply cut two pieces of glass, one for each half of the frame, but I really didn’t want that seam to show. I wanted everything to wrap in one seamless piece, including the photos themselves.
After ripping some walnut to their final widths, I cut out the miters and corners. The two vertical boards on each frame are easy…just a 45 degree miter on each end. The horizontal pieces require a miter on one end and a bevel on the other.
Next, I cut rabbets along the edges of each board to create an inset for the photo and glass to set in.
There was no simple way to glue and clamp the miters tightly together, so I just glued them together and clamped them across their seams to keep them from moving. And I made sure t check that they were square. Miters are very weak joints and even worse without any clamping pressure. So I let the glue on these thoroughly dry and handled them very carefully until I could reinforce them.
Reinforcing the miters with splines
To reinforce the miters, I cut slots in the corners using my spline cutting jig, cut some thin maple strips and glued them into the slots.
Then I cut off the excess using my flush trim saw.
The middle of the the frames, the “bend” is a very weak spot. In order to reinforce this area, I screwed in some right angle L brackets. For the frame that wraps around the outside corner of a wall I also added splines.
I cut out the acrylic Plexiglass using my table saw then clamped it between two boards. Using a heat gun, I moved it back and forth along the area I wanted to bend. It didn’t take long for the plastic to become flexible and I was able to bend it into a reasonably good looking 90 degree angle!
Once it was bent, I cut it down to its final size. The blue painters’ tape prevents it from scratching.
I held the acrylic and the photo in place with my point driver. (This is a really handy tool if you are going to make picture frames!)
And finally, after finishing the wood with spray lacquer, I hung the wrap-around corner picture frames on the wall with strips of Velcro.