How to Figure the Right Length(s) of Moulding

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To select an appropriate length and width of moulding to build your picture frame follow these steps:

  1. Decide on an Appropriate Width of Moulding.
  2. The width of the moulding is the distance across the face, the part that is facing outward when the frame is hanging on the wall. As a rule of thumb consider frame widths of 3/4" to 1-1/4" for frame sizes from 8"x10" to 15"x19". Consider frame widths of 1.5" to 2-1/4" for frame sizes from 16"x20" to 23"x25". Consider frame widths 2-1/2" or larger for frame sizes 24"x36" and larger.  Note:  This is just a rule of thumb and aesthetic considerations should guide you in your choice


  3. Select the Desired Style of Moulding. Look over the selections on our website and choose the frame style you want, make note of the width of the moulding you have chosen.


  4. Determine the Appropriate Length(s) of Moulding Needed to Make Your Frame.

    1. Step 1:  Add together the four sides of the frame you wish to make. For example: To make a 16"x20" frame, figure 16+16+20+20= 72".

    2. Step 2:  Multiply the width of the moulding by 8, and add that to the sum. For example: To make a 16"x20" frame using a 2" wide moulding, multiply 2" x 8 = 16", then add 16" to 72". ie., 16"+ 72" = 88".  Why are you doing this?

    3. Step 3:  Add a quarter inch to the total to allow for some wiggle room in the frame recess so the stack of matboard, foamboard and glazing doesn't fit too tightly. For example: 88" + 1/4" = 88-1/4".  Why are you adding 1/4"?

      Step 4:  At this point you know the length of the moulding in inches, to discover the length of the moulding in feet, divide the length in inches by 12. For example: 88-1/4"÷12= 7.35 feet.

    4. Step 5:  Select the best length or combination of lengths to make your frame. Remember, it is always better to have more than you need. To cut the above size, an 8 foot length of Moulding (Cut to 4 ft and 4 ft) would be appropriate.  Why is this Length of Moulding Appropriate?

Note:  When the necessary footage requires an exact (or nearly exact) length, the wise framer defaults to the next longer length, allowing for a little extra room.