A couple years ago we found some reprints of old maps of Italy, France, Europe and The World - mostly from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. So years ago we sealed them up to protect them and mostly forgot about them. But recently we decided to put them up on the wall of the dining room and living room.
The first thing we did was to measure them and go to the local craft store. Needless to say nothing in stock would fit the maps. You could do custom framing at the store but we thought it would be a great opportunity to play a bit and try to make some frames.
We picked up some 1 x 2 inch hemlock and ¼ inch quarter round. Then we glued the quarter round to the hemlock to create a holder for the print, glass and foam board.
Because the quarter round is so small and can't be clamped we used masking tape all across the wood to hold down the trim to the 1 x 2.
It dries pretty well in a couple hours. Good enough to work with anyway, but it really takes overnight to dry properly.
Once the boards were dry enough to work with we began to mitre cut them at 45°.
As you can see from the photo we used a $4 mitre box made of plastic. We have used this box for a couple months and it is worn out already. So half the job was done with the old box and then we went out and bought a much better one. This made a big difference in speed. With the old box it took a while to clamp each board down and then the cut was not as perfect as we wanted.
Next we needed to create a jig to hold the corners at right angles. So we used the scrap from the mitre cuts and screwed them to a piece of scrap plywood.
With the clamps holding the wood in place we drilled 5/16 inch holes at 45 degrees to the corner and hammered in a 5/16 inch dowel. Once each corner was completed we separated the corners and added glue to the dowel and the inner frame surfaces.
Clamping the frame would be difficult so we used rubber bands instead of tape to hold the corners tight to dry overnight.
Once everything was dry we needed to cut off the excess dowel sticking out. The first go 'round we tried cutting it off with a knife. But it was much easier to put it on the bench and saw the excess off.
Then sanding takes a while. If you are careful with the glue it is not too bad but sometimes you just have to wait for it to dry. 100 grit works well to start with, then we moved up to 150 and 240.
At the point we use mineral spirits to clean off all the dust and get ready to stain. Staining is quick and you just have to remember wipe up the excess after a few minutes.
After the frames sit overnight you can start to apply polyurethane. Three coats does a great job, with a light sanding using 240 grit paper after the first two coats.
It takes a while to do this with 2-3 hours between each coat and 24 hours after the final coat to set everything properly.
At this point we needed the glass so we took the frames and brought them to a local glass shop to size them perfectly. Each glass pane was $23 and the foam board, which they also sized for each frame was $4. So with glass, foam board and wood each frame cost about $36 to make - not including labor.