A tutorial on how to build an easy change frame for wood signs. Easily change what sign is displaying any season and save on storage space!
Do you want an easy way to change wooden signs? I have a fantastic solution, and it’s an easy change frame. This wood frame will also help you save on storage space because you will not have to store a frame, plus you can have a double-sided sign.
Let me share with you the full step-by-step tutorial on how to make your interchangeable frame.
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DIY changeable wood frame
- two – 1″ x 2″ x 8′ boards
- three – 3/8″ x 36″ square dowel
- 1/4″ x 2′ x 2′ MDF sheet
- 5/8″ finishing nails
- 1-1/4″ finishing nails
- 2″ finishing nails
- wood glue
- black spray paint (optional)
- wood stain or Tung oil
You can print the material list and instructions below.
Do you need a video? Here a the step-by-step video tutorial on how to build an easy change frame.
STEP 1: Cut and sand the wood
The first step is cutting the wood.
SIDE NOTE: Some of the boards will have a 45-degree angle cut. They will be marked (45-degree), but one side might be a straight cut, and the other side angled.
Here the cut list:
- 2′ x 2′ MDF- cut in half, so you have two 1′ x2′ boards.
- 3/8″ dowels – cut two pieces at 12.5″ (straight and 45-degree), one piece at 25-3/8″ (both 45-degrees).
- 1″ x 2″ boards- cut four pieces at 12.5″ (45-degree) and four pieces at 25-3/8″ (45-degrees)
SIDE NOTE about 1″ x 2″ board: Cut the boards, so the 2″ side is facing up on the saw.
Once all the wood is cut, sand the wood with a #220 grit sandpaper until they are smooth then wipe with a cloth to remove dust.
STEP 2: Build the wood frames
Now its time to build two wood frames from the 1″ x 2″ pieces.
Each frame will have two of each of the 45-degree cuts. Place the pieces on a flat surface in the shape of a frame.
TIP: It’s easier to build one frame at a time.
Place wood glue on one of the 45-degree angles then align the angle to the other boards’ angle cut. The edges should be flush.
TIP: Use the square to make sure the angle is square.
Then using the 2″ nails, place two nails into the angles on one side. This will help hold the corner together.
Complete this same process for the other three corners, glue, and nail them each into place.
TIP: Glue the third and four corners at the same time.
Then clamp the frame together.
Build the second frame the same way as the first.
Once both frames are built, let them sit until the glue is fully dry, read the instructions for the time.
STEP 3: Finish the wood
Now that the frames are made, you can finish the wood, but first, take the sander and sand the frames to remove any glue residue or uneven corners.
Wipe the wood with a dry cloth then either stain the frames or finish them with Tung oil.
SIDE NOTE: I used Tung oil on the frame, and if you’re curious, you can see why tung oil is my favorite wood finish.
While the frames are drying, take the 3/8″ pieces and paint them black using spray paint. Let them dry completely.
SIDE NOTE: You can spray-paint the MDF sign now too. Remember to paint both sides.
TIP: A spray grip accessory helps not to get paint on your fingers.
Apply a second coat to give you the coverage you want.
STEP 4: Attach the frames
When the frames and 3/8″ pieces have dried completely, you’re ready to attach everything together.
Decide what frame you want for the front (the one that will show), place this side of the frame down on a flat surface.
TIP: I like to use cardboard to protect the wood from scratching.
You will be adding the 3/8″ pieces to the sides and bottom of the frame. So the straight cuts will be flush with the top of the frame, but the side will also be flush.
Take one of the 12.5″ x 3/8″ pieces, place glue lightly on one side of the piece that will sit on the frame. Then place the piece onto the frame.
TIP: Make sure you are gluing the side that will be placed onto the frame.
Align the top of the piece to the frame and the side. Then using the 5/8″ nails, nail the piece to the frame.
TIP: Remember not to nail where other nails have been placed.
Now take the 3/8″ x 25-3/8″ piece and lightly glue this piece so that it will be placed at the bottom of the frame. Then put it onto the frame, align the piece to the frame, and nail in to place again with the 5/8″ nails.
Then attach the last 3/8″ piece the same way as the first.
Now apply glue lightly to all the 3/8″ pieces facing up then place the other wood frame onto the pieces. Align the frames then clamp them all together.
To help secure the frame together, place 1-1/4″ nails along the sides and bottom of the frame. Make sure not to nail where other nails are and have them be 1/4″ from the edge, so they go through the 3/8″ pieces.
Let the frame sit for 24 hours so it will fully dry.
STEP 5: Create your sign
While the frame is drying, start creating your sign.
There are many ways to create a sign. You can use a fancy machine, like a Cricut, or you can use a paper and pencil to transfer your design onto the wood. See my post on creating a Merry Christmas sign to see the process of transferring your design onto the wood.
STEP 6: Display the sign
While the sign is drying, prepare the wood frame to hang on the wall, but it can also be placed on a shelf.
If you are hanging the frame on the wall, I would recommend using 3M command strips because they require no nails. Not sure about them, see my step-by-step tutorial on how to hang pictures without nails in your home.
Then insert your sign into the top of the wood frame and enjoy it!
Remember, this frame can be easily changed by pushing up on the sign.
I can think of so many different signs this would be fantastic for, can you?
Or you will love these other wood projects of ours:
And don’t forget you can see before and afters in our full house tour by clicking HERE.