Staining From Scratch

In today’s Arts & Crafts blog, we will discuss staining a picture frame from scratch for the intermediate craftsperson. You will be using the same basic Hand Tools and construction process to build the frame as those required for crown molding frames, though you may want to stock up on some additional paint supplies. In addition, we will share some tips on using unique wood to make a frame to create a rustic effect.

Staining From Scratch

open stain container and brushAs an intermediate tutorial, our primary focus will be on the staining process for a constructed frame. This can include a recently built raw wood frame or a used frame you have sanded down to re-stain for an updated look. If using new wood, build your frame as usual. Some crafters like to use reclaimed wood from a window or door. If you go this route, construct the frame and remove old stain or paint and sand down to a smooth surface using some sandpaper from

The Staining Process

Begin by stirring your stain thoroughly and then apply it with a clean rag. Make sure to cover all the crevices on the molding for an even look. Occassionally, some extra stain can spill on the wood while you’re working. If this happens, simply wipe it off with a clean rag. If you don’t, that spot will appear darker than the rest of the stained frame.

Once the stain has been applied, wipe down with a clean, dry rag to create a smooth wood grain effect. IF you notice any excess glue that was not wiped off during the construction process, you will need to remove it or the stain won’t penetrate into the wood. To do this, use a 220 grit sand paper and re-stain that spot and wipe down excess stain again. This is one of the primary reasons beginners should stain the wood first as opposed to staining after the frame has been built. As an intermediate crafter, you are better prepared to fix the excess glue problem and still create a quality finished look.

Once your frame has been stained, let it dry completely. If you want a glossy look to your frame, apply a top coat of satin lacquer. If you prefer a more natural wood look, you are ready to install the artwork.

Unusual Wood For Rustic Effects

Some individuals like rustic looking frames for a farm scene or a dramatic scene in nature. Materials you might choose include raw branches from trees or even reclaimed barn planks. To cut lengths of wood from either source, you may need to purchase additional hand tools such as a circular saw or hack saw to obtain your wood. The rest of your rustic frame will be constructed essentially same with 45 degree angle construction. For a finished frame using tree branches, there is typically no additional finishing work involved. If using reclaimed barn planks, you may either leave it as-is or sand, stain or paint to the desired color.