DIY: Cheap & Easy Oversized Magnetic Frame from Sheet Metal



This project might be my proudest DIY moment ever! I made this custom frame measuring nearly four feet tall (3'x4' to be exact) and it cost me $0 in supplies. It would be a fantastic backdrop for any type of print -- family portrait, maybe? colorful art project? -- and it's absolutely perfect for my black and white engineer print of an incredibly special travel photo of mine.



The photo itself is attached to the frame with small magnets. This means you can quickly swap out the print for something new. Another awesome thing about this frame is that it's not bolted into the wall, like some other large-scale frames making the blogosphere. Instead, I used a simple wood brace and picture-hanging wire. So now I can move this beast around the house without having to drill a million holes in my walls.




This was a super quick and easy project to build once I gathered all the supplies. My husband picked up the sheet metal from a friend's kitchen demo (lucky find!!)....but no worries if you don’t have sheet metal lying around... you can purchase a gigantic sheet at Home Depot for less than $15! Just make sure the metal is magnetic before you schlep it home.

Materials:

  • 36” x 48” piece of sheet metal. Cost: $0 (Note on sheet metal: Like I mentioned earlier, you can find a similar-sized piece at a home improvement store for less than $15. Or try your local HVAC supply store for other options. Wear gloves! These puppies have sharp edges.) 
  • (4) Washers and (4) Self-Tapping Metal Screws. 
  • (2) 36” pieces of wood.  I used scrap wood from the basement-- it doesn't have to be anything fancy. This wood will act as a hidden brace to keep your sheet metal firm. Measurements are custom to your final metal width. See Step #2 below. 
  • Strong Picture Hanging Wire .
  • (6) Small Magnets - To hang up your print. 
  • Metal Snippers - Optional. Only necessary if you need to trim the sheet metal. 


Steps:

  • Prep. Wash the metal and, if necessary, trim any sharp edges. Trimming probably won’t be necessary if you purchased a brand-new piece of metal. But since ours was leftover from a demo, it had some rough edges. 

  • Cut Your Braces. Or just have them cut at the store! You will need two pieces of wood- one for the top of the frame, the other for the bottom. The length of the wood is determined by the width of your sheet metal. My sheet metal measures 36” wide, so I cut my wood pieces to 36” in length. 

  • Attach Wood Braces To Sheet Metal. You are going to using the self-tapping screws to attach the wood brace to the sheet metal. You will be drilling through the FRONT of the frame, through the metal, and into the wood. First, decide where you want to place your screws. This is totally up to you and the size of your frame. My holes were 5” from the edge. Mark the spot on the sheet metal with a pencil. Use a small drill bit to make a pilot hole. This is an optional step. You don’t really need to make a pilot hole if you have self-tapping screws. But I did this because I didn’t want to take a chance on the hole shifting during the drilling process. After you drill your pilot hole, place the washer above the hole and drill in your metal screw. Repeat in all four corners. 



  • Attach Eyelets and Picture-Hanging Wire. Turn your frame over and attach two eyelets to the top wood brace. I drilled two pilot holes for the eyelets, and because I wanted the frame to sit as flush as possible to the wall, we counter-sinked (counter-sank?) the holes. After you screw the eyelets in, attach the picture-hanging wire. 




  • Hang Your Frame! Once your frame is hung up, just attach your artwork with small, but mighty magnets. 


How do you like my print, btw? I was lucky enough to stumble upon this shepherd in Gujarat, India and never got around to making a print...until now. I followed one of the bazillion tutorials on engineer prints out there and to make this 24”x 36” photocopy.

Between the engineer print and the metal frame, this whole project cost me less than $5.00.

2 comments:

  1. Looks nice. I'm confused though. Do you just set the picture in the middle of the piece of metal? How would the picture stay on with magnets? Unless the picture is made of metal and not photo paper.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good question. You place the magnet on top of the print. The magnet is attracted to the sheet metal. And the paper is stuck between the metal and the magnet. Just like when you use a magnet on your fridge. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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