DIY Custom Magnetic Art Frame

Custom framing can be expensive. And let's be honest, not everyone wants to spend their hard earned cash on framing something when they could spend it on a million other things (coffee, food, more food). That's where I, Home Depot/Harbor Freight, and this blog post come in handy. Let's get you started on making that Custom Magnetic Art Frame.

This frame is more-so for artwork that is only on paper (i.e. prints, watercolors, etc.). However, depending on the strength of the magnets you buy, you can easily hang canvas/cloth/anything you want on it as well.  It's super simple to make, does not require a lot of tools, and can take you less than 30 minutes to make (plus optional paint drying time, depending on your preference). What's great about this particular frame is that it allows you to easily change the artwork in seconds, and you can make it according to the size of any artwork you want mounted. Don't want that bird painting in the frame anymore? No problem. Pop the magnets off and put in that new botanical print you've been dying to hang up.

I've got two options for you; Option 1 is with no painted design, Option 2 is with a painted design. Both are simple. Let's do this!

Option 1

Option 1

Option 2

Option 2

Option 1 | 

Materials Needed:

  • One (1) piece of 1/4" thick plywood - 16" x 25"
  • Four (4) 5/8" Machine Bolts & corresponding nuts
  • Four (4) magnets
  • Drill
  • Pliers
  • Sanding Block
  • Twine/String 
  • Sharpie/Marker
  • Measuring Tape

For Option 2:

  • colored paint 
  • painter's tape
  • paint sponge

Step 1: Sand All Edges of Plywood

Edges of plywood can be the ultimate source for splinters when freshly cut, so be sure to sand those edges down to protect your fingers from pain and suffering. If you decide you want to paint a design on the plywood to be visible behind the artwork, scroll down further for a quick how-to!

Step 2: Measure Holes for Drilling

Measure 3" in from the edge of the plywood on each side and mark the four corners with a Sharpie for drilling. You can adjust how far in you want the artwork to sit on the frame depending on size.

Step 3:  Drill Holes, Insert Bolts

Drill holes where you marked using a 5/32" drill bit (slightly bigger than the size of the 5/8" bolt), then insert the bolts in each of the four spots. You may need pliers here to get the bolt head flush with the plywood. Flip the frame over and screw on the nuts but do not make them flush with the wood just yet, we need a little space there for the twine/string.

use pliers to make the bolt head flush with plywood

use pliers to make the bolt head flush with plywood

thread the nut flush with the front of the frame (the magnet will attach to this side)

thread the nut flush with the front of the frame (the magnet will attach to this side)

threaded nut on backside of frame

threaded nut on backside of frame

Step 4: Attach Twine/String

Take about 16-18" of twine or string and tie each end between the nut and back of the plywood then secure in place. Finish screwing the nut as close to the plywood as possible, use pliers if needed.

backside of the frame where twine attaches

backside of the frame where twine attaches

Step 5: Mount Artwork

Place the artwork evenly on top of the bolts, and secure in place with the magnets. You can choose to paint the magnets as well to add a pop of color!


That's it! Wasn't that easy?

If you want to create a custom painted design on the plywood to be visible behind your artwork, continue reading below.

Option 2 | Painted Design How-To

Okay, so like I said, Option 2 is simply the same as Option 1, but with a painted design. So after you are done sanding the edges of the plywood and insert the bolts, wipe it off, and tape off a design you want to paint with painter's tape. It can be anything you want, I just did two diagonal stripes in this case using basic Valspar interior house paint. Let the paint dry, then pull off the painter's tape and you're all set to move on to the next steps!


If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me and get in touch!


All images taken by Shalene Chavez. Frame design is original to ShaleneLorraine, please do not duplicate or share without crediting ShaleneLorraine.

Make Your Own Tapestry Loom... for Under $20!

When I first started weaving I was browsing the internet for an affordable loom to buy. After about a day of looking I realized I wasn't going to find one under $75, which is out of my price range, unfortunately. I ended up finding some DIY looms, but most of them still cost close to $50 to make, so I decided to figure it out myself. I remembered an article I read about New Friends, and saw in some of their pictures that they used canvas stretcher bars for their looms. I figured if it works for them, it will work for me! And I already had spare stretcher bars, so I was halfway there.

If you are new to weaving or are a seasoned weaver and just want to have your own custom loom that's quick and easy to make, this project is for you. And the supplies will cost under $20 in the end! That is, assuming you have the necessary tools to begin with. :)

What you'll need:

  • Four canvas stretcher bars- you can get these at any art store, I bought mine at Blick Art Supplies and it came to about $12 for four bars. The price will vary on which bars you choose. I went with bars to make a 22"x34" loom.
  • Finishing Nails- I could only find ones that were 1.5" in length because there weren't any shorter ones, but I wouldn't go any shorter than 1". You can find these at any hardware store for under $2.
  • Drill-a small hand drill with a 5/64in drill bit will work just fine
  • Tape Measure
  • Hammer
  • Marker/Pen
  • Four wood screws -or- a staple gun (I recommend staple gun)
  • A companion or two

Now you're ready to make your loom!

Step 1: Frame It Out

The nice thing about using canvas stretcher bars is that they're made to fit right into one another, so go ahead and put those bad boys together.

Step 2: Secure the Corners

This is where a staple gun comes in handy. I made this frame a long time ago before knowing I was going to use it for a loom (it was fate, I know) so I used wood screws to hold the corners in place. They worked just fine, but I used a staple gun on a larger loom I made a few months ago and it's much easier and more efficient. If you're using a staple gun, just shoot a couple of them over the gap to connect the two pieces.

Step 3: Measure

I measured 2" in from the sides of each of the shorter bars and 1" in from the top just to avoid any collision with the gap where the bars meet. Once you have those set and marked up, just measure and mark every 1/2" along the bar until you have enough to span the width of the loom. 

Step 4: Make Pilot Holes

This step is very important. I know from experience that if you skip this step, the wood will split and the nails won't be secure. Take your drill with the 5/64in drill bit and make small pilot holes at each of the spots you have marked. This is a tedious step but well worth it! Be sure not to drill too far in or your nails won't set correctly.

Step 5: Nails Nails Nails

You're almost there! The final step....pound those nails in. After setting the pilot holes, you're ready to get the nails in there. They aren't going to be perfectly straight, so don't worry about that. All that matters is that you get them in their spots securely without splitting the wood. This is where having a companion or two helps. Since you're spending this time making something for yourself that you will clearly cherish forever, why not have someone to help you pass the time? In my case, it was my boyfriend and my cat Floyd.

Step 6: Relax!

You've done a lot of work getting this loom together. Now it's time to bask in your own glory. Go on with your bad self! You just saved a good chunk of change and you're going to weave on a loom you made all on your own. Well done! 

If you have any questions regarding this process, feel free to send me a message on my Contact page!