How to join a frame

How to clamp and join a picture frame easily at home.


Ensure that you have cut your frame accurately and that each pair of lengths matches each other and none are twisted or bent.

  1. Lay the picture frame pieces face up on a clean sturdy table and roughly assemble them to check that they make a reasonable frame.

  3. Place the frame clamp loosely around the frame starting from the cleated corner block and gradually work from one block to the next putting a corner block on each corner of the frame.

  5. I like to do a quick test at this stage to see if the frame is going to join well by pulling the clamp tight and inspecting the joints. NOTE: I have not glued the frame at this stage. This allows you to visually check if there are going to be any gaps or errors in your cutting or sizing prior to putting glue on the joints.

  7. If the frame has gaps in the corners you will need to re-check your sizing and check the angles of your cuts. …see our extended video course on framing for solutions.

  9. Loosen the clamp and remove two opposite sides of the frame from the clamp but leave the other pieces and the clamp in position.

  11. Apply PVA or other wood glue to the mitred surfaces of the pieces you have just removed.

  13. Replace the glued pieces back into the clamp and then pull the string until the corners are tight.

  15. Make any adjustments in the joints at this stage and then pull the string a little tighter to hold the frame together securely.

  17. You can just allow the glue to dry to hold the frame together but framers like to V Nail the joint from the back to help keep it tightly joined and to add strength to the joints.

  19. Turn the frame over so that it is now face down on the table.

  21. Select a suitable length of V nail for your frame moulding….see our tips on Vnail selection here.

  23. Place the V nail across the mitre joint in the thickest part of the frame ensuring that you put the sharp side of the V Nail touching the wood. It is not recommended that you put the V nail closer than 2/3rd of the height of the nail from the back edge of the frame as the V nail can curl inside the timber splitting out at the back.

  25. Using a hammer hit the V nail into the timber from behind the V. Hit the apex of the V to avoid the nail deforming. I like to align the hammer with the mitre of the frame working from one corner of the table rotating the frame as I go.

  27. You can put more than one V nail in each corner but this is dependent on the width of the moulding and the profile of the frame. See our tips section for recommendations on V Nail positions.

  29. When all the V Nails have been inserted you can remove the clamp by releasing the string from the cleat in the cleated corner block.

  31. Carefully wipe any glue off the frame and clamp using a damp cotton cloth.

  33. Inspect the finished frame and fill any gaps in the corners using crayons, oil pastels or putties coloured to match the frame. …..See our free video frame filling tips. is committed to you benefiting through the knowledge contained in this site. Please email us with your suggestions and questions.
You will learn more about all aspects of picture framing when you watch our introductory training videos below.
Seven Secrets

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