Barnwood Frame DIY

This DIY barnwood frame is the perfect accent piece to any entryway, or porch. If you’re new to framing then this is a very simple and easy project to start with.

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Also if you don’t plan to put anything on the inside of the frame, then you don’t need to be super picky about the length of each side of the frame. This will make the process a little more stress free if it’s your first time using mitered corners.

This barnwood frame is super versatile. Hang a wreath over it, frame your favorite quote with it, fill it with a chalkboard or even shiplap to make it into a cute sign. The possibilities are endless.

But first a confession… this frame isn’t actually made from barnwood!! It’s made from something a little more accessible to everyone, cedar fence boards.

I had some 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ cedar fence boards that I bought from Home Depot the other day, and I was just itching to make something out of them. The great thing about using 1/2″ cedar wood is it’s very lightweight which makes the handling and hanging of it much easier.

I don’t have a lot of extra wood lying around right now. However I found three 5″ wide leftover strips of MDF board. So I decided to combine the two and make a barn wood shiplap sign out of them.

In this post I’ll just be showing you how I made the barnwood frame. So let’s get to it!

Getting Started

I started out by sanding the cedar boards. Most of the cedar boards had a warm orange tone to them. But I LOVE the look of the lighter natural wood. I found 2 that I liked the color and grain of, and that went well together.


I sanded the boards with 100 grit sand paper (that I got in a multipack like this) and my palm sander. This took the rough grain away to the touch, but still looked rough enough to keep that distressed look we all love!

(My sander’s a Black and Decker and it’s worked great for years, but I couldn’t find one on Amazon to link, so I found this super similar square Ryobi sander. My palm sander is square but if I was to buy a new one I’d like to try a fine detail one like this, with the pointed nose).

Next I decided which side of the boards would be the front of the frame.

Cut the Inlay (optional)

The next step that I took (cutting the inlay) should have been done after the pieces of my frame were cut. This is because I ended up with an inlay on the outer edge of the frame, on 2 of the boards. (It’s a little hard to tell but the edge on the left side of the board in the picture has an unnecessary inlay on it)

So the process of making the inlay will be the same. It just needs to be done after all four of the frame pieces are cut.

This step is optional. I am planning to fill this frame with MDF strips so I needed to make the inlay in order for the frame to lay flush against the wall. If you’re using the empty frame in your decor you may not need to cut an inlay.

Using my table saw (that’s very similar to this one) I cut a small edge into the back side of the board. With the board upright, I ran it through the saw. The blade was raised 3/8″ and the fence of the saw was about 1/16″ away from the blade. The MDF boards I used for the inside of the sign were only 1/8″ thick so I didn’t need much of an inlay.

Once I ran both boards through I moved the fence over to 3/8″ and lowered the blade to just barely above the table(about 1/8″). Then I ran the boards through flat, with the cut edge pressed against the fence. Once this was done, I had an inlay that was about 1/8″ deep and 3/8″ wide.

Ensure the board widths are exactly the same

Next I ran the boards through the saw at about 3 1/4″ just to make sure they were the exact same width. This is really important in order to get all of your corners to line up. (This step needs to be done before you cut the length of the frame pieces).

Cut the length and angles

I set the miter saw at 45 degrees and cut both boards, (one on top of the other) at the same time. Doing these cuts at the same time ensured that the two long pieces of the frame were the exact same length and the same with the short.

I cut the corner off of the end of the board (no need to measure on this step. just cut the least amount you can while still getting a pointed corner).

Then I flipped the boards over and measured from the corner to 29 1/2″ and made a mark. Lining up the blade I made sure it was going to cut where I wanted it to, according to the mark that I had made. Then made another cut and the long pieces of the frame were done.

I flipped the boards again and measured 22 1/2″ marked, then made the final cut. (Or it would have been if the MDF pieces fit perfectly inside, but the frame turned out a little too wide. So i cut it down until everything fit nicely inside).

(Here is where I should have cut the inlay. This should be done on the inside edge of the frame pieces.)

Assembling the frame

After checking to make sure everything fit like it should, I glued the frame pieces together.

Using a staple gun like this one I stapled the corners together on the back of the frame. (Wipe up any excess glue with a damp rag or you will need to sand the glue off when it dries). I used 4 staples at each corner. Be careful when handling the frame it may be a little flimsy until the glue dries.

(When I’ve made frames with thicker and heavier boards I’ve used a Kreg Jig like this one for a more secure joint. These cedar fence boards are lighter than pine and so far the frame has held up well with staples and strong glue.)

I carefully flipped the frame over so the front faced up. With 4 heavy objects, one for each corner, I made sure the corners were flush and tight. I set the heavy objects on the frame corners.

They sat for a few hours while the glue dried. I removed the heavy objects and checked the frame. If you had any glue bleed you could sand again at this point.

If you’re planning to use the empty frame as your decor you can hang it from the inlay. Otherwise attach a saw-tooth hanger, or your hanger of choice.

And that’s all folks!

Now I’ve got an adorable barnwood frame. There are endless possibilities of what to do with it.

I could use it to frame other decor,

  • use it as a filler on an entryway table
  • wrap some ribbon around it and hang a wreath in it
  • or make it into a shiplap sign like I had originally planned

Thanks so much for stopping,

Materials List for the Barnwood Frame

Power Tools Needed

Miter saw (chop saw) you could use a circular saw.

Table saw 

Palm sander

Staple gun

Other Materials

2 – 1/2″ x 3 1/2 x 6′ cedar fence boards cut at:

  • 2 boards @ 29″ (from outside corner to outside corner of the miter cut)
  • 2 boards @ 23″ (from outside corner to outside corner of the miter cut)

100 Grit sandpaper

Wood glue

⅜” staples for the staple gun

Tape measure


Face mask

Eye and ear protection

Saw tooth hanger

For a super fun DIY shiplap vase tutorial click here

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