How to repair a picture frame at home

Written by chris pink on June 27, 2014 in Picture Framing

Wondering about that old frame in the attic? Well, once you’ve established that you’re going to fix it, here’s how to do so – in a way that’ll keep it lasting for many years to come.

 What you’ll need

A bottle of PVA glue, it doesn’t matter if it’s cheap as long as it’s PVA.

Some nails (the length of which will depend on how thin or wide your frame is, so use discretion as you don’t want to split the wood or have nails poking out everywhere).

A good hammer.

A flat surface that can take a few hammer hits, preferably at at least waist level to save your back.

Some sandpaper. Having rough and smooth to hand is never a bad idea.

An extra pair of hands. And a person connected to them!

Carefully break the frame apart

Most old picture frames don’t completely fall apart. Instead, the corners become loose and the joins lose their integrity, leaving an unattractive frame that can be used, but isn’t at its best. So, gently, prise the corners apart until you have four pieces.

Apply the glue

You may liken PVA to the cheap stuff you used way back in school, but in fact it’s an incredible tool that nearly all framers use on a daily basis. When you’re happy that you’ve pulled any old triangular staples out of the frame, you can sand down any rough bits and then apply a generous amount of PVA to both sides.

Now join two sides of the frame

Push them together tightly, allowing them to fit together neatly. Wipe off any excess PVA glue but don’t worry too much if it stains the wood.

It’s nail time

This technique is a little rough around the edges, and lacks the finesse of using specialist staples, but it works very well for the person at home. Drive the nail through one side of the frame as in the illustration. Then repeat this process with the other side of the frame, and continue until you have completed the job.

How to repair a frame at homeSand it down

Now you’ve removed any excess glue, it’s time to ensure the frame is sturdy. So flex it slightly and see how it feels. You can always use more nails if necessary.

Your next task is to sand down the frame at the corners, then everywhere else, too. You’ll find that the PVA glue is still wet and absorbs the saw dust, allowing any cracks to be filled quickly and easily. Do the same with the entry points of the nails and you’ll soon find that they quickly disappear.

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