Barnwood Frame - Variation

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About This Project

Have you checked out prices at framing stores lately? Since I didn't want to pay $250 for a frame, I decided to make one out of some spare 1x4 Douglas Fir that I had. It's a single board with a router cut at the edge for detailing. I routed a rabbet onto the back, and kreg-jigged it together. I distressed the wood by beating it with a hammer and chain.

Prior to completing the frame, I took a sample piece to the framing store (who would be matting it) to make sure they could work with my rabbet size. I ended up having to make it deeper and wider to accommodate them, so I would advise doing this if you're taking it to a framer.

I never dreamed I could actually make a frame, much less a piece of furniture. Thanks so much to Ana for sparking all of this. I've found my creative calling thanks to her!

Douglas Fir
Required Skill Level: 
Estimated Time Investment: 
Afternoon Project (3-6 Hours)
Finish Used: 
1. Minwax water-based wood conditioner. 2. Minwax mix of Onyx & American Walnut water-based stain. 3. General Finishes Glaze in Van Dyke Brown. 4. Bartley's Satin Polyurethane (4 coats).
Estimated Cost: 
Free (spare wood!)


That is really beautiful! I've been considering the same build for the same reasons. Framing costs are outragous! I've never used a router before and I guess I'm a little intimidated by them. What do you think? Are they too hard to use? Worth investing in?


Becky -- thanks for the feedback. The router is hard for me, but I don't think I know all the ins and outs of how to use it. For making the rabbet on the back, I've found out that a table saw works SO MUCH BETTER than trying to use the router. I believe that a dado blade for the table saw could make the decorative cut (and much easier, faster, and cleaner than trying to use the router).