25 Types Of Picture Framing Tools You Need Know

Picture framing is a popular home project that takes a lot of time and effort in order to create the perfect look for your framed photos. Framing can be easy or complicated, depending on the type of frame you want. The following article will list some of the most common tools that are found in any great picture framing shop.

The following are the most common picture framing tools:

1. Plastic Spinners

A plastic spinner is often used when putting a frame together. Plastic spinners are inserted into the grooves of any kind of frame and then placed in the middle groove to push the corners into place.

Plastic spinners can also be used to keep corners from popping out if you take them apart, which sometimes happens with frames that do not use plastic spinners.

2. Wood Wedges

These are similar to spinners with the exception that they are made of wood. Wood wedges can be used for any kind of picture frame that doesn't have a spinner groove.

They take a lot of pressure off your hands and arms when pushing picture frames together, which makes them popular tools.

3. Picture Frame Covers

Picture frame covers are not an actual picture framing tool, but they are necessary in order to protect the frame and keep it from getting damaged.

For glass frames, you will need some kind of covering to keep them safe. Most people use a protective coating on their glass frames, which helps prevent scratches.

4. Screwdrivers

While screws are often attached to picture frames with glue, some people prefer using small screws in order to make their frame look more professional.

Screwdrivers can be found in the same place as any other kind of screwdriver and they are used to tighten screws in frames.

5. Picture Hanging Pliers

Also known as trimmers, pliers are used to provide support and added stability when hanging a picture on the wall or any other kind of frame that needs special holding equipment.

They can also be used to hold pieces together if they become loose during the process of putting a picture frame together. Trimmers are also used to trim any extra pieces off of a frame so that the edges are smooth and not rough.

6. Picture Nail Punches

You will need to use a small hammer and punch when attaching a nail to the wall for hanging pictures or any other kind of frame.

This is usually done by sliding the metal into the hole that has already been drilled into the frame and then using your hand, press down on top of it, leaving an imprint in the middle of your frame. Make sure you have enough space to have at least one or two nails holding your frame up.

7. Tape Measure

Every picture framing job requires a tape measure, even if you end up buying the exact size that you need off the shelf.

Tape measures can be used for many different things, such as measuring distance or sizing when figuring out where to place a picture frame on the wall. If you are planning to do custom work, you will need a tape measure in order to figure out where to cut any kind of board that you use for framing.

8. Picture Frame Fixing Plugs

If you have a nail hole or any other kind of indentation that needs repairing, picture frame fixing plugs are the best solution for temporary damage.

Picture frame plugs are often used in order to cover up the holes on frames so that they can be hung on the wall. Fixing plugs works well as long as they will not be seen by anyone.

9. Picture Frame Brads

These are very similar to picture frame plugs except they often come with a nail attached and can be used for more permanent repairs.

Picture frame brads are used with a hammer, which makes them very easy to put in place. These tools can be found at most any craft store or online.

10.Picture Frame Wire Cutters

For any kind of frame job, you will need a pair of wire cutters in order to remove the extra metal that is left over after cutting off the excess cardboard.

Wire cutters can also be used on wire in order to remove any kind of glue that was left behind from attaching it to your frame.

11. Wire Nippers

This is another tool that will need to be used during the framing process, especially if you are attaching any kind of wire to your frame.

Wire nippers allow you to cut wire in order for it to fit on a specific size piece of wood. This small tool can be found at most hardware stores or even online.

12. Picture Frame Saws and Stencils

Picture Frame Saws and Stencils are important tools for cutting shapes in a large number of picture framing materials. Used with high precision, these saws enable the professional to cut out intricate detail within an object that is being framed.

Stencils are used in conjunction with a Picture Frame Saw to make holes around the perimeter of a given shape. The use of the stencil will ensure that uniform holes are cut and that all object details will be present in the final product, whether it is a picture ranch or a piece of wall hanging art.

Sometimes lettering can also be cut out using a Picture Frame Saw, but there are specific tools for this as well.

13. Picture Frame Spacers

A Picture Frame Spacers are small dowels that can be placed between two pieces of wood in order to hold them a certain distance apart. This allows the image inside to have an illusion of depth.

Spacers can also be used in combination with spacers and molding to give any shape an even more finished look on the outside when it is finished.

14. Picture Frame Brushes

Picture Frame Brushes are used to apply paint or stain onto the wood of your frame before it has dried. This is usually done on custom pieces, but can occasionally be found on ready made frames as well.

Without a Picture Frame Brush you will have to use your hands in order to apply the paint or stain.

15. Glass Cutting Tools

Glass cutting tools come in handy when dealing with glass frames and they are available in different shapes and sizes.

You will need a glass cutting tool to create straight edges when creating custom frames or if you are reusing old picture frames that do not have straight edges anymore.

16. Hammer or framing hammer

A hammer is a tool that strikes a chisel to break off chunks of stone and other hard surfaces. For most hammers the head weighs about 1/2 pound (230 g). A framing hammer is typically used by carpenters or framers (as shown in Figure 100) for tasks such as removing old nails, tapping and pulling apart joints, setting nails and tacking drywall.

A carpenter's hammer is a heavier type of framing hammer that is used more for cutting or chipping wood, as opposed to removing nails.

17. Chisels

A chisel is a hand tool with a hard, sharp edge that is used to cut or split stone, wood, plastic and metal. The kind of chisel shown in Figure 101 is used by carpenters and framers for tasks such as removing old nails, tapping and pulling apart joints, setting nails and tacking drywall.

18. Putty knife or drywall knife

A putty knife is a flat blade with a handle that has been squeezed in at the center and is used to scrape or pry off paint or plaster.

This tool can be found in most hardware stores and they are used for scraping off excess drywall compound after installing drywall, stripping old wallpaper, making small holes for wires, as well as applying putty.

19. Framing square

A framing square can be used to measure 45° angles and in combination with a ruler can determine 90° right angles. A framing square is used more for carpenters and framers, but they are still necessary tools that every picture framer should have around the studio or shop.

20. T-square

A t-square is a metal ruler that has one fixed end and a sliding crossbar. The vertical bar is locked at any point along the length of the main rule by turning a thumb screw at the other end, and then pressure on one arm will cause the other to slide freely. This allows an accurate mark to be made at any point along the top.

21. Chalk line

A chalk line is a tool for marking straight, long lines in an efficient manner. A chalk line can be used to measure level and plumb (vertical) lines for wood or masonry construction projects such as installing doors, windows or cabinets, laying out reference lines for framing a floor, basement or wall, creating straight edges when installing drywall, tiling or laying ceramic flooring.

22. Alignment ruler

An alignment ruler is used to lay out and transfer 90° right angles with a minimum amount of measuring. They are also used in conjunction with a framing square at times to lay out 45° angles on a wall.

23. Kit for Framing and Dressing Large Format Prints

The kit includes all of the tools that are needed to frame and install a large format print. The kit consists of a wooden frame, hardware, wire, picture hooks and a step-by-step instruction booklet.

The tools needed for a large format print can vary from one artist to another.

Tools that make life easier when framing and hanging large format prints include: Acetone, wood glue, pocket knife or utility knife, screw drivers (flathead and Phillips), mallet or hammer, level with magnetic base, wire strippers and pliers.

24. Edge Wraps & Corner Guards

Edge wraps are used when framing around mirrors or glass to help prevent damage and preserve the finish. Corner guards or corner protectors are used when framing around furniture such as a high stand for a table lamp, TV stand, etc.

25. Picture Frame Adhesives


Picture frame adhesives will be needed to secure the foam body and the backboard of your custom picture frames. There are several types of glue/adhesives available on the market that each have their own unique characteristics, such as fast setting speed or strength of bond etc. Choosing the appropriate glue can make or break a particular project.


-Does the frame have a mat?  

Most frames have a mat. It's a thin, flat piece of card stock that goes between the frame and the picture on the back.

A mat is a thin piece of paper that serves as an extra layer between the frame and your artwork. It's good to have one, especially if you are planning on storing your art long term because it keeps dust away from the surface. It can also add some protection to your work.

-What would be an ideal type of glass for picture framing?

Light colorless glass should be used in most cases. It helps your pictures look their best and brightest. Darker glass will always take away from the colors of something.

-Can I do my own picture framing?

It's easy to do your own picture framing these days, especially with all of the self service shops that have cropped up. You can buy frames online as well which are much cheaper. There is a great wealth of knowledge on Instructables and other internet resources that will help you learn how to frame things. 

-How do I know what size picture fits into a certain sized frame?

Most frames have a label on the front of the mat board, telling you what the inside dimensions are. The best way is to just try it out if you can't find this information online or in another book.


In this article, we discussed the different types of picture framing tools that are used to create a frame for a picture. From picture frames to matting and mats, the type of framing tool you choose will depend on what type of project you are working on. The framing tool will depend on the type of material you're working with: wood, art paper, metal, or something else. Be sure to take your project into consideration when making your selection.


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