How-to DIY: Scrap Wood Tray Picture Frames.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

scrap wood tray picture frames close up
Yes, another scrap wood DIY how-to today!  Seriously, I know.  But hey, I’ve got too much scrap wood.  So all right, let's make tray picture frames!

I will gush momentarily, these are snazzy.  Especially since you can customize them any which way until Sunday.  Into the next week even.  Truly the possibilities are boundless here. 

Ultimately I should thank two things for this project, well ok, three:  Glenfarclas then my new Bora wall mount storage rack* then the Mackintosh House gift shop.  And ok ok, four:  myself. 

In mixed up order?  Myself:  I finally cleared out the monster mess of scrap wood buried in my rolling door work table.  What a feel-good moment that was, whew, wow.  Check and mark.

My new storage rack:  that’s where most of the wood went so not only is it organized, it’s organized by type and kind And best of all, I can very clearly see what the hell I’ve got so I can actually use it.  Nice. 

Two pats in the back there, yessir-y.  Maybe three as the rack was easy to install, got it up in no time with some big butch screws.  Big butch screws are fun.

Ok, Glenfarclas?  Well obviously that’s what got me over to Scotland in the first place, so ongoing and forever grateful thank you’s there.  

Lastly, the Mackintosh House at the Hunterian, the gift shop. 

tray picture frames on wall
I very distinctly remember way back in college, eons ago, sitting in an art history or architectural history or something class, my jaw slow-mo dropping agape as slides of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s work appeared on the screen.

Yes, I’m sitting in class, the pen droops to my notebook, “I must…I…I have to go there someday.”  Rest of the slides?  No idea. 

To be amongst his and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh’s work, his wife, standing there in person was a decades-long dream come true.  I near about cried. I’m a dork, what can I say. 

Honestly, I’m still speechless about being in the main rooms' reassemblage of their home.  Chills and goosebumps, chills and goosebumps. 

Somehow my cool woodworking friend Scott and I managed to tear ourselves away from the tour and of course, gotta hit the gift shop, c’mon. 

Mackintosh greeting and postcard
I bought too much, surely, including two greeting cards and a wooden postcard that punches apart and assembles into a mini version of their famous chair, all of which have sat tucked away collecting dust.

In search of a scrap wood, inexpensive, easy DIY project, it was time to give these items their due. 

So there it was:  scrap wood DIY tray picture frames.  

Not too dissimilar from the printable frames in theory but distinctly different. 

Here’s what I used:
Was the 3/4” thickness of plywood overkill?  Sure.  But, scrap wood got used for a captivating project and I made the thickness work in my favor in assembly.

plywood and cards for display
And wood lath?  Oh my gee oh dee Becky, with the wood lath…Honestly it’s like dust bunnies — every time I try to use it up, I have to buy more to finish said project.  Crazytown. 

Real simple here, friends.  We’re basically making a tray that instead of using as a tray, we’re using it as a picture frame. 

I pretty well went with the sizes of plywood I had on hand as they were magically perfect dimension-wise, save a little trimming to straighten or slice into two.

Picked up this lil’ saw guide which I couldn't get to work terribly well with either my compact circular saw* (ddin't clamp on entirely) or my jigsaw* (blade was bendy).  Maybe I need a different one.*  Got too frustrated with it, taking too much valuable time, tossed it aside.

Anyway, with the panel pieces cut, I trimmed up the wood lath to make the frame. 

measuring wood lath to plywood
Hot tip:  line up the wood lath and mark it to match the plywood, no measuring required and you get exact lengths.

Gave everything a decent sanding next.  Super easy, of course.

sanding plywood
To attach, I used glue.  Yes, nails work, fancy joints like dovetails work, angles work, but I was going for fastener-free visuals and eh, I’m not skilled enough to make dovetails, wasn't into angles that day. 

gluing up to assemble scrap wood tray picture frame
Fold the wood lath up and around, clamp* everything together....

clamping scrap wood tray picture frame box
Right, ok, wow, yeah, that’s it.  Huh, that was fast!

To hang them, all I did was drill holes in the back so these scrap wood tray picture frames could sit tight and flush to the wall.  What’s easier than holes?  Not much. 

drilling hanging hole
Sealed the wood up with tung oil.   You could paint these, stain them, put wallpaper or fabric on the tray panel for contrast, ya know, infinite possibilities.

applying tung oil to wood
Ok, the how-to on mounting the cards. 

Here I adhered the greeting cards to scrap eigth-inch thick Masonite using spray mount after gluing them shut with a glue stick.*  Spray mount is super messy sticky stuff so feel free to use rubber cement, Mod Podge,* or even photo tape* for your artwork.  

greeting card and scrap Masonite
Rather than sticking the cards directly onto the tray panel, I opted for I guess a shadow box?, no, what are the words I’m looking for….eh, whatever, I opted to stand the cards off the tray panel backing so they extra pull focus and the added depth is like the “design in 3’s” third or however that’s phrased.  I need a nap. 


plywood standoffs on back of Masonite
For the cards, I glued scrap wood bits on the backs, half inch thick, measured for even, straight placement, then glued them on.  Yup, simple.  Yes, glue's a pretty permanent choice; you do you.

final assembly of scrap wood tray picture frames
For the wooden postcard, I did the same but with scrap wood lath bits, a quarter inch thick, and stuck that on. 

postcard wood lath standoffs
So now I’ve got three fancy pants, snazzy, stylish, chic, modern tray picture frames made of scrap wood, all free to me, and now you have a spiffy how-to DIY tutorial! 

scrap wood tray picture frames grouping


scrap wood tray picture frame with Mackintosh greeting card art
Love it.  Love it!   Three cheers for me!  Now get out there and dig through your scrap wood collection, see where this inspiration takes your imagination!

scrap wood tray picture frames closer up
Have fun!

*The Bora wall mount storage rack, saw guides, Rockwell compact circular saws, and glue sticks are Amazon affiliate links.  The wood glue, Bosch jigsaws, and clamps are Home Depot affiliate links.  The spray mount, Mod Podge, and photo tape are Michaels affiliate links.  The tung oil is a Lowes affiliate link.

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