How to Make Octagon Frames

Want to get your photos out of the box? Try an octagon frame instead of a traditional square or rectangle. Octagon frames are great for arrangements of family portraits, vacation photos and family history photo stories. They can be used to create visual family trees, commemorate rites of passage or memorialize beloved relatives.

Things You'll Need

  • Miter box and back saw
  • 1-by-1/2-inch stock hardwood
  • Instant adhesive
  • Acetone or nail polish remover
  • Hood fan or box fan
  • Acid-free cardboard
  • Coarse, medium, fine and extra fine sandpaper
  • Wood stain, varnish, lacquer, shellac or clear acrylic wood treatment
  • Paper cutter
  • Tack hammer
  • 1-inch-long finishing tacks
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    • 1

      Choose what size photo you need to frame. Select photos that fit a theme or create a photo story. If the photos are of loved ones who have passed away, make copies and store the originals in an album.

    • 2

      Scan photos into your computer, if they are not already there. Choose a photo editing program such as Picasa, Adobe PhotoShop or Corel Paint Shop Pro. Crop each photo to its best advantage.

    • 3

      Cut the 1-by-1/2-inch stock wood to twice the desired length plus 1/8 inch. For example, if you want all the sides to measure 12 inches, cut wood 24 1/8 inches long. The extra 1/8 inch accounts for the width of the saw blade.

    • 4

      Use a miter box and back saw to miter the ends of each piece of hardwood to a 67.5 degree angle, making two identical lengths of wood with identical angles. Regular octagons have eight equal sides with eight equal interior and exterior angles. The interior angles of each point of an octagon are 135 degrees.

    • 5

      Coat the mitered edges of each piece of wood with instant adhesive. Push two pieces at a time together firmly, wiping away any excess adhesive with acetone or nail polish remover. Use adequate ventilation, including running a hood fan or box fan, when working with instant adhesive, acetone or nail polish remover. If you can smell the adhesive or the remover, you do not have adequate ventilation. Secure the frame with 1-inch finishing tacks after the adhesive has dried overnight.

    • 6

      Sand the entire frame using coarse, medium, fine and extra fine sandpaper, in that order. Finish the frame as desired, using stain, varnish, lacquer, shellac or clear acrylic wood treatment. Cut acid-free cardboard to size with a paper cutter to make a back for the frame. Use photo sheet plastic to make a clear dust cover for the photo. Cut the plastic sheets to size using the paper cutter. Place the plastic in the frame first, followed by the photo, and covered by the cardboard backing. Tap staple nails into the frame to secure the back.

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