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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

How to use a mitre box to make DIY picture frames

Updated: Mar 4

Make DIY picture frames with ease with this tutorial.

minimalist decor with chair and white picture frame

How to use a mitre box is a question frequently pondered by DIYers tackling a DIY project with mitre joints. We're going to look at a fun DIY project that you can complete with a mitre box: making DIY picture frames.

What is a Mitre box?

Black plastic mitre box - side view
Plastic mitre box

Mitre boxes are a cheap and easy alternative to mitre saws. They have pre-cut vertical slits at defined angles that allow you to cut accurately angled cuts for your DIY projects. Mitre boxes come in various materials and in varying levels of sophistication, ranging from a cheap plastic box with slits to resilient metal, self-clamping mitre boxes with detachable saws.

How to use a mitre box

Mitre boxes are super simple to use.

  • The mitre box might have screw holes in the base to secure it to your workbench or a lip on one side at the base, allowing you to clamp the whole box firmly in a vice for stability.

  • Once the base is secure, line up the piece of wood with the pre-cut hole for the angle you need (usually 22.5, 45 & 90 ) and hold or clamp it in place.

  • Line up a saw (a hard-backed tenon saw is ideal for this job as it doesn't bend as the saw moves back and forth) with the relevant hole and saw through the wood, cutting the desired angle.

A piece of wood moulding lined up in a black plastic mitre box

Beware, plastic can be soft and easy to saw through, so you might want to make a mitre box using offcuts of wood. Read how to here.

A piece of skirting board clamped in a mitre box about to be sawn

Now you know how to use a mitre box, it's time to flex your woodworking skills and tackle a DIY project with mitre joints; here is a fun example.

How to use a mitre box to make DIY picture frames

Two antique wooden picture frames

Picture frames are super simple to make and can be as detailed or simple as you like.

  • Measure the item you wish to frame (including the mount) to determine the length and height required.

  • Measure and mark your piece of wood or moulding with the frame dimensions, remembering that the corners will have angled cuts, so your length and height will go to the bottom of the 45-degree angle.

  • Cut the four sides and line them up to check they fit.

  • Gently sand the edges to smooth them off.

  • Glue the pieces together and clamp in place while the adhesive sets.

  • Cut out some strong cardboard for the back mount.

  • Staple or brad nail the sides and bottom of the cardboard onto the back of the frame creating an envelope to slide your chosen art into.

A selection of wooden picture frames

Thanks so much for reading about how to use a mitre box to make DIY picture frames. I'd love to keep you up to date with future DIY, decorating, interior styling and upcycling projects, if you would like to receive my (not more than weekly & no spamming I promise) emails then please subscribe by scrolling down to the box at the bottom of the page. Don't forget to check out my other blog posts a few examples are linked below...

Where next?

Here are some woodworking-related posts you might enjoy…

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