Build A Reclaimed Picture Frame: Just One Of Many Uses For Salvaged Oak Flooring

In the truest sense of the term, I’ve transformed one man’s trash into another man’s treasure by using discarded oak floorboards to make a brand new picture frame. I couldn’t let a pile of flooring go to the dump when I came across it in my neighborhood, and while we’ll never know why the homeowner had decided to discard of it completely instead of refinish it or transport it to a salvage shop, I was quick to adopt it for my own home. Ain’t it pretty?

DIY frame using upcycled hardwood floorboards.

Salvaged oak flooring can be used for any number of projects, so use your imagination; a few weeks ago, I used floorboards practically to patch a gap in my home’s stairwell, and last winter I even used some scrap unstained floorboards to create my Christmas tree star. The opportunity for upcycling it is great, so if you find yourself passing a plethora of floorboards, take them home, clean them up, and begin to imagine what they can become.

Keep on reading to see how I upcycled oak floorboards to create my latest piece of home decor! 

Free floorboards! Roadside! #garbagepicker

I started this project by determining how big I wanted my picture frame to be. Keep in mind that you can keep things easy if you choose a proportion similar to standard plexiglass, poster, and mat sizes. Your common 8″x11″, 9″x12″, and 12″x18″ are safe bets. I planned my frame even larger to accomodate an 18″x24″ piece of plexiglass, a common size for plexi that I was able to find at my local hardware store for just $10.

Planning a floorboard frame.

With my plan established, I cut the floorboards down to length using a chop saw – the long horizontal pieces that would compose the top and bottom of the frame measured 25″ long. The shorter pieces that stacked to make the sides of the frame were measured to be 4.5″ long. 4.5″ is, by no coincidence, the same length as the height of three pieces of floorboard stacked. Thoughtful measuring meant that my frame would be the same width all of the way around.

Cutting the oak floorboards to length.

Even with as many pieces as I needed to cut, I still only used about 4 long floorboards in all.

Cut floorboards to length for the oak picture frame.

With the floorboards trimmed, I dry fit the boards on our kitchen floor, and placed the piece of 18″x24″ plexiglass on top to see how it would fit.

Dry fit your cut boards to determine how it will look assembled.

To assemble the frame, I used additional pieces of oak on the back of the frame to serve dual purpose: holding the pieces of wood together, and giving the plexiglass and print a place to sit within.

Assembling the upcycled wood frame.

I used both wood glue and a brad nailer with 5/8″ nails to secure the entire frame together.

Alarmed that I’m nail gunning right on my kitchen floor? In looking at these pictures again, I am too. Know that I did many, many basement tests with pieces of scrap flooring and length different brads before daring to install the entire frame right on the kitchen floor where I had set up my dry fit. Don’t follow my lead; your roommate/landlord/significant other might be more comfortable if you did this on another flat surface, say, a work bench or piece of plywood.

Assembling the hardwood frame.

After sanding all of the edges down, I installed the plexiglass, the print (a vintage map of Franklin County, NY), and anchored them behind a 1/4″ piece of plywood using mending strips and wood screws (both of which only cost a few dollars from the hardware store). I didn’t end up needing to size a mat for this particular frame since I fit it to a print that I already owned, but if you’re looking to learn how to cut your own mats, note that it’s as easy as can be. Check out this other post I wrote to see how it’s done.

Hardwood picture frame finished with plywood and mounting strips.

The finished frame is full of charm.

Finished frame made from upcycled floorboards.

And I just love how the rustic frame displays this pretty vintage map.

Vintage map of Franklin County, NY

Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.

16 Responses

  1. Decorative Flooring says:

    Hi Emily,,… impressive.! Picture frames are always the most treasured pieces of decor, and this one is hand made! sooo well!!
    Amazing. gud luck.

    Decorative Flooring

  2. Cassie says:

    Wow I am seriously impressed. I love re-purposing picture frames but this project takes it to a whole new level. Well done!

  3. [...] Never have I created such a custom frame, though. Built entirely from oak floorboards, it’s a one-of-a-kind piece that will make you think twice about throwing out those wood scraps. Check out this week’s post on DIY Network to see it in all its glory. [...]

  4. [...] Learn A Little About Home ImprovementBuild a picture frame from salvaged hardwood floors [...]

  5. My Homepage says:

    … [Trackback]…

    [...] Find More Informations here: blog.diynetwork.com/tool-tips/2012/11/29/diy-oak-flooring-upcycled-picture-frame/ [...]…

  6. Ben says:

    Awesome!..have a lot of scrap oak flooring. Now I know what to do with it; thanks for sharing!

  7. Larry V says:

    Very good idea. I did the same about 2 yrs ago, only I turned it into a wall mirror of which is still in use today and looks as good as the day I assembled it. I used 3/4" finished tounge and groove oak flooring of which the 1/4" mirror fit perfectly into the grooves. For the weight of it I used a 2 pc mounting bracket (Aluminum) from the home improvement store for about $8.00 or there about.
    Good job on your project.

  8. CARL says:

    Verry well done. I was in demolition for 11 yrs. I had some oak wainscoting from the Boyertown casket co. office that I used in my breakfast room I needed 7 more pieces to complete the room ,so I used some old oak flooring to fill in the missing pieces. If I don't point it out no one can tell (I sanded off the gloss finish) I caped it with outher recycled pieces and use old baseboards from a house we tore down. More people need to re=use old wood and other things to keep from filling up our landfills.

    • merrypad says:

      Wonderful! I completely agree with that sentiment. There's still plenty of use in old building materials like these.

  9. Dan J says:

    Nicely Done !!!

  10. doglover says:

    glad to have the info

  11. Moodyvega says:

    One of the best project I've seen in a while..NICE! Not too many people like critics.

  12. Matt says:

    Awesome! I saved my old hardwood from a remodel over a year ago for the exact same purpose!!

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About Emily Fazio 

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I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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