Then I discovered frame kits. You simply select the length that you need (remember to buy two sets so you'll have a full frame). If you're lucky, like me, you'll find the kits on sale - $8/set rather than $18/set so this is even more of a bargain.
Place a small amount of glue on the frame edges -
Insert the plastic wedge that secures the frame sections -
You can either purchase a glass and backing kit (though you may have to have one made if your frame size is unusual) or you can quickly make your own backing with foam core board.
I was going to frame a special family memento (I'll write about that later), so I opted to cover a piece of foam core with a neutral fabric for a clean, simple background. My frame is 24x24 inches, so I purchased a 24x30 inch piece of foam core and 2/3 yard of plain muslin. I trimmed the foam core to 24x24 inches using an exacto knife and a t-square.
Next I lightly coated the foam core with spray mount, then pressed the foam core (sticky side down) onto the muslin. Flip everything right side up and smooth out any bubbles so the fabric lays smoothly.
I trimmed the fabric to about 1 inch overlap, then folded (making hospital corners) and used craft tape to secure the fabric to the backside of the board. I dropped the covered foam core into my frame and used small gauge nails to brace the backing inside the frame.
You can hang your frame as is, or you can cover the hot mess up like they do in the framing shops. Take basic Kraft paper, cut to fit (in my case, 24x24), and hot glue onto the backside of the frame so it covers up the tape, fabric and bracing nails. Attach a sawtooth hanger and you're good to go!
And that, my friends, is how you can make your own custom-sized picture frame for less than $20.
More later on what I put inside this frame...