Simple DIY Rustic Frame Tutorial

Simple DIY Rustic Frame Art

Here it is! The Super Simple Rustic way to frame a piece of painted wood tutorial. There is NOTHING fancy about this friends. And because we’re capitalizing shamelessly on the rustic minimalism trend, we’re not even going to try to make it look perfectly done. This simple rustic DIY framing tutorial makes this a perfect beginning woodworking project. Rough and functional are hallmarks of this look, and once you’ve tried it a few times, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is.

Tools of the Trade- Do You Need the Power?

That being said, there are a few things that make it even easier. A nail gun with an air compressor for one.

No nail gun? You may be wondering if you can substitute a regular ol’ hammer and nails. The answer is “Yes! Absolutely”.

Should you though? Not if you have a second cousin twice removed who has a nail gun. Or a neighbor, or a girlfriend, or dad. Some of you might have one in your garage and not even know it. Venture out! You can so do this!

I LOVE my nail gun. Really. I have friends come over occasionally just so we can work on a project together. And if there’s any reason, at all, for us to use the nail gun I make them try it. And then I hover, and am maybe a little over the top. Making comments like “just wait, you’ll love it!”, and “this is the coolest part ever”, and “isn’t that the best feeling ever?!?” Yup. I’m a pusher sometimes. So to continue in that vein; I give you my how-to for creating your own DIY Simple Rustic Framing.

Tutorial: DIY Rustic Frame

Supplies and Materials

I have affiliate links in the above supplies list because if I can do anything to make this easier of you I will. However, this may not be the cheapest way for you to purchase these items. But for simple shopping, and ease of use it’s hard to beat Amazon. Also, using my affiliate links does not add to your cost, it just means I get money to buy more craft supplies. Win-win!


Step One: Stain the Trim

Put on rubber gloves if you have them and using an old rag or brush, apply stain to the trim boards. Do all four sides and the ends. Then let dry.

Note: If you think the color is too light once it’s dried, you can go back and apply another coat to darken it.

Simple Rustic Framing Tutorial- Line Up Edges and Use a Pencil to Mark Cut Lines | Beginning DIY Woodworking Tutorial

Step Two: Cut the Top and the Bottom Pieces

Lay out two trim boards, along the top and bottom of your pre-painted wall art piece. Even up the top edge of the painted piece and one end of a trim board.

Then, using a pencil, on the other side of the painted board, mark the cut line on your trim board so it’s even with the edge of the painted piece. Like exactly even.

Repeat with second board. These are your top and bottom pieces of the frame.

Note: This is a design choice. I could have done the two side pieces first, and made them even to the center painted board. Then done two slightly longer pieces on the top and bottom. Usually, I actually do that; but I don’t know that it’s something anyone notices. Plus, it’s your project so make it look how you want!

Simple Rustic Framing Tutorial

Step Three: Repeat for the Two Sides

Repeat with side pieces. HOWEVER, you’ll be cutting the pieces longer to account for the addition to the length that the top and bottom trim pieces add.

So if they are each 1″ in width, then you’ll be taking the length of the painted piece you’re framing and adding 2″. I just line all the piece up on my work surface and make a pencil mark where I need to cut. It works better for me than math.

Use the miter saw to cut these pieces where you’ve marked them.


Miter saws (chop saws) are a POWER TOOL. If you don’t know how to use one properly, then get someone to show you before you do use it. Always be cautious and never put any part of yourself in the way of the blade.

Always stop and think about what you’re doing before you turn it on. Also, never stand directly behind the saw, in case of kick back and wear the appropriate safety gear.

I also make sure that someone else is around, and that I have my phone in case I need to call for help. But don’t let this scare you. Irons and toasters are power tools too. Just know how to use them and be smart!

Simple Rustic Framing Tutorial- Sand to Knock Down Edges

Step Four: Sand the Edges

Use a power sander to knock down edges of trim pieces, paying special attention to removing any splintered edges. Because we “rough cut” the end of the pine boards with a saw, it may have splintered on the cut. That piece will probably come off at some point and leave a rough edge that isn’t stained. So I will often stop and sand off the splinter and smooth my edges a bit before I assemble the frame. You can also choose to stain the cut ends and those splintered edges now, or when the piece is finished.

Step Five: Position and Prep the Environment

Position the Pieces and Prep to Nail

How to create a simple rustic frame

Get the air compressor ready

Power up the air compressor, and attach the nail gun. If you’ve never done this before STOP RIGHT NOW AND WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW!

This is a quick video I found that does an AWESOME job of demoing the basics of using a nail gun with an air compressor. Seriously- watch it!

Flip over the painted board and the trim pieces so that they are laid out in the same way they were but upside down. Next, place the small thin book under the piece you’re framing to raise it up. This gives you a bit of a lip on the back and front of the piece. I like this bc the end result looks good and it gives me a way to hang my piece without hanging hardware. (Yup. I’m that lazy; and usually I can’t find my hardware.)

The Awesome Cool Part

Line up Edges and Use a Nail Gun to Attach| how to|squaring|cutting|nailer

Step Six: Nail the Trim Pieces

Center one of the trim boards along bottom edge and using the nail gun, attach the trim piece to the center board. Then, place another nail in center of board. Make sure that when you do this that you are holding the gun at a 90 degree angle (straight up and down); and shooting directly onto the middle of the center piece. Otherwise, your nails will protrude and show either on the front or back of the piece. Rotate and do the same with the top trim piece.

Important: NEVER EVER PUT YOUR HAND IN FRONT OF THE GUN. And never point it at yourself or any part of yourself (like your foot). This is a power tool, and like the saw, needs caution.

Turn the center painted piece onto it’s side and center one of the side pieces along the edge. Use the nail gun and put a couple of nails into each end piece near the corners. Make sure once again that you are positioning and aiming the gun correctly. 

Step Seven: Make Final Adjustments

Use a rubber mallet to make adjustments | Beginning Woodworking Mistake Fixes

Tap in any of the nails that may be sticking up out of the wood with a hammer or hard rubber mallet.

Step Eight: Sand the Edges

Sand edges and round the corners with your sander.

How To DIY Simple Rustic Frames- Use a Sander to Add Character and Smooth Edges | Beginning Woodworking | Rustic Home Decor | Frame your crafts

Step Nine: Stain the Corners

The corners that have cut edges exposed will need to be hit with a bit of stain if you haven’t already. This is a good time to check the trim and make sure it looks like you envisioned. Is it rustic enough? You may want to sand back more. Too much? Add a bit more stain. This is totally subjective and a part of the design process. 

YOU DID IT!!! You Made a DIY Rustic Frame

Now for the SUPER COOL part (even cooler then the nail gun part. Maybe.). Stepping back and looking at your finished piece. Hanging up on the wall. Realizing that you just took some pieces of lumber, made some choices, did some simple actions, and turned them into really cool looking wall art. AND that means you did a beginning woodworking project with power tools. If you’ve never done this sort of thing before then you should be feeling pretty darn great. Congratulations. Really!!!

The first part of this tutorial, How to Make Quote Art (without a cutting machine) explains how to prep and paint the center panel used in this demo. This is perfect way to frame your Cricut and Cameo crafts as well. It also contains the free download for the John Muir quote that’s featured on the example. Thanks for working through our simple rustic framing DIY tutorial!

Optional Choices to Finish Your DIY Rustic Frame

After everything dries, I often take one more look and then wipe on a light coat of clear wax. It gives a subtle shine that adds to the finished look of the piece.

You can also choose to add hanging hardware to back. But because we have the slight overhang at the back of the piece, you can just hang it off the wall by its trim. I do this all the time with small pieces, but if you are doing a large piece you probably want to add the hardware. 

Love This? Share it!

If you found this post helpful, I’d love to know you shared it on social media! Tag me on IG or Facebook and show me your skills!

For more ideas of what sort of quotes you can create using this tutorial, then check out my Word Art Board on Pinterest. For more rustic wood projects I have a board on Pinterest for that too! Enjoy!

Thanks for Reading,

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2 thoughts on “Simple DIY Rustic Frame Art”

    1. That’s awesome!!! People who don’t make stuff don’t understand the huge thrill I get when I learn how to use something new. Something that will let me make new things, better things. Or just different things. It’s hugely empowering!! Thanks Cindy for the comment!!!

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