DIY Faux Acrylic Photo Frames

Lucite (or generically known as acrylic) is a gorgeous, contemporary medium used for many items in home décor today – from coffee tables to cribs to utensils. The clear plastic-y material is visually lightweight, making its presence inherently understated but also chic. Lucite pieces can be expensive, however, so if you like the look but don’t have the cash to put toward Lucite, this is a wonderful DIY idea for you! Photo, or art, double frames with brass fasteners mimic the luxe look without breaking the bank.

DIY Faux Lucite FrameView in gallery

DIY Faux Lucite Frame for LivingView in gallery

This project isn’t hard, per se, but it does take some patience and the proper technique.

Modern DIY Faux Lucite FrameView in gallery

DIY Level: Intermediate

DIY Faux Lucite Frame MaterialsView in gallery

Materials Needed:

  • Photo or piece of art to be framed
  • Two (2) pieces of acrylic sheeting cut to size 4” larger than the photo to be framed
  • Eight (8) #10 1/2″ round slotted brass machine screws
  • Eight (8) #10 brass hex nuts
  • Photo hanging wire or heavy duty fishing line
  • Square ruler, clamps, pliers, large nail, candle, drill (not shown)

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Project PrepView in gallery

Project Prep: Decide on the photo or piece of art you want to frame, then measure it. (Tip: This tutorial shows two 24” square photos printed out as engineer prints at Staples. At about $4 apiece, this is a fabulously inexpensive way to customize your piece.)

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Glass CuttingView in gallery

At your local hardware store, in the plastic sheeting section, you’ll find various sizes of plastic sheeting. Choose the piece(s) that most closely matches 4” larger than the photo you’re framing, then have them cut to size. (For example, the photos used here are 24” square, so the plastic sheeting I chose to have cut was 28”x30”, I think.) You’ll want two identical pieces per photo frame.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame MeassuringView in gallery

Start by measuring and marking 1-1/2” in from each corner on one of the acrylic sheets. Make these marks on the removable protective plastic covers on your acrylic sheets.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame MarkView in gallery

Also mark 1-1/2” in at the halfway point on each side.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Glass Take CareView in gallery

Carefully stack up your acrylic sheets, being precise in lining up the corners. (Tip: Four sheets are shown here; do not stack more than four.) Keep the marked acrylic sheet on top.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame CornersView in gallery

Taking care that the corners are lined up exactly, clamp the corner near the first mark.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Alingning CornersView in gallery

Aligning corners as you go and adjusting as necessary, clamp the rest of the corners. Tip: Clamp diagonal corners first and second, then the other two diagonal corners third and last. This helps to keep the acrylic sheets from any shifting.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Melting HolesView in gallery

Several tutorials recommend melting holes in the acrylic sheets for your brass fasteners; others recommend drilling. I have done both, and I recommend a combination of the two – melt a little, then drill. To do this, tightly grasp a large nail with pliers and hold it over a heat source, such as a candle flame. Let the tip get hot.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Hot NailView in gallery

Quickly yet very carefully, push the hot nail tip into the clamped acrylic sheets at a point you’ve marked. Push down as far as you want, but don’t worry about going all the way through. The idea here is to give your drill a good starting point to drill through the other layers.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame DrillView in gallery

Using a drill bit that is the size of your brass screws (or ever so slightly larger), slowly begin drilling at the melting point in the acrylic sheet. (The melting point helps the drill bit stay in place on the smooth acrylic surface.) You want to use effort but not force, because the acrylic sheets will crack if you try to go too hard and too fast. Repeat this melt-and-drill technique for all eight holes. Be careful with the drilling so there are no cracks!

DIY Faux Lucite Frame ProtectView in gallery

Pull one side of protective plastic off one acrylic sheet. This uncovered surface will be inside your frame. Leave the protective plastic on the other side of this sheet for now.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame PliersView in gallery

Using needlenose pliers, gently clean up the holes of any melted or stuck acrylic bits.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame WipeView in gallery

Wipe off all acrylic shards from your sheet. Remember, this surface will be sandwiched, so you won’t be able to get to it later.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame PhotoView in gallery

Center your photo on the acrylic sheet.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Photo cornersView in gallery

Take care to keep your hands and the acrylic sheet surface clean and dry as you’re doing this.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Photo PrepView in gallery

Now pull off both sides of the protective plastic on the second acrylic sheet. Remove shards with your needlenose pliers and wipe the inside surface with a clean, dry cloth. Align the holes of this acrylic sheet with your first one, and lay it on top, being careful not to shift your now-sandwiched photo.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Brass AccentView in gallery

Take a brass screw and push or screw it into the first hole.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame ScrewView in gallery

Screw the nut onto the screw, securing the two acrylic sheets together.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Brass NutsView in gallery

You’ll want to tighten the nut to fit snugly (use a screwdriver and pliers) but DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN. Too much pressure may cause your acrylic sheet(s) to crack. Do this for all eight of the holes, but don’t tighten the two side holes. These will be for your hanging wire/line.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame NailView in gallery

I chose to use fishing line due to its transparency; a small amount of your hanging line will be seen on either side of your photo. To start, tie a 1” loop at the end of your fishing line. Hook this onto one of the side screws, between the nut and the back acrylic sheet.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Nile WrapView in gallery

Wrap the fishing line back and forth between the two side screws about ten times. You’ll want to keep the line taut but don’t pull it too tight, or your frame will bow and bend when you go to hang it.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame String ArtView in gallery

After the tenth (or so) pass, tie another loop in the end of your fishing line and hook it onto the screw under the nut.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Two NutsView in gallery

Carefully tighten the two side nuts now, if you need to. This should cinch down and secure your fishing line.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame backView in gallery

Congratulations! You’re ready to hang!

DIY Faux Lucite Frame HangView in gallery

Don’t you just love the crisp, contemporary feel of a two-planed frame? The floating effect is so on point.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Closer lookView in gallery

And the small brass details really give it a modern vibe.

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Family PictureView in gallery

We hope you enjoy making your own DIY faux acylic photo frames! Such a professional-looking way to frame large art or photos, and it adds so much personality to a space.

DIY Faux Lucite Wall FrameView in gallery

DIY Faux Lucite Frame Corners CloserView in gallery