What Picture Framing Supplies
are a Must Have?

Some picture framing supplies you just can't do without. You probably have some of them already, but never thought of picture framing when you reached for them. Here is a list of framing supplies I've found I can't do without.

Measuring Tapes, Rulers and Squares

Tape measure - just about any tape measure will do but I suggest getting a fairly decent one so you have accurate measurements. The cheaper ones can be off by quite a bit.

Carpenter square – ensures your table saw or miter saw is set to a perfect 45°angle when cutting miter joints on the ends of each rail.

This may be the most crucial measurement of all.

If the angle is off by even 1°, you'll have a gap in your mitered corners – something no one wants to see!

A carpenter's square is also helpful when drawing cut lines on your rails.

Steel ruler – great for making precise measurements and easier to use on longer pieces of wood than a tape measure.


Band Clamp in Use

band clamp – of all the clamps I have tried, my favorite is the band clamp. It's much faster to set up, really pulls the four rails into square and applies a lot of pressure during glue up.

You can find these at the Home Depot, Lowes and Rockler's among other places.

I personally prefer the Pony band clamp because the teeth on the tightening gear never slip, allowing you to get maximum clamping pressure.

I don't use the Rockler band clamps anymore because they tend to slip. 

Frame Clamp in Use

picture frame clamp – these are a good alternative to band clamps. I have a few sets of them in my shop.

They just take a little bit more time to set up and are a bit more difficult to store than band clamps (you also need a quick grip clamp to pull the framing clamp together).

A set of picture frame clamps like the one pictured here runs around $35.

The Rest

There are many other things that can fall into a picture framing supplies list. Your list will likely be different than mine. Here are a few other things I find being used regularly when I am making my frames.

Sandpaper - you'll need at least two grits of sandpaper - 120 grit and 150 grit will get the job done. I prefer using a random orbit sander, so I use 5" sanding discs. You can also use sheets of sandpaper and do it 'by hand".

Wood glue – there are many choices when it comes to wood glue. My favorite is Gorilla Wood Glue (because the glue line NEVER cracks!)

Brushes and rags - foam brushes, lint free rags - an old t-shirt will do, too!

Wood stain and finish – I will cover stains and finishes in detail later but you will want to protect your frame with one or both of these.

Assorted Hand Tools

Chisel - for cleaning up glue squeeze out

Scissors - for various things

Screw drivers - flat head (great for opening stain and finish cans) phillips head for attaching the hanging hardware

Matt cutting supplies and hanging hardware supplies will be covered on seperate pages.

If you'd like to share your own picture framing supplies list - feel free to leave it in the comment box below!

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Updated November 18, 2022