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Graduated-Layer Frame

Painted a cheery hue, this frame is perfect for accentuating the sunny side of your son's scary monster. The elaborate three-dimensional design is a playful way to showcase basic art skills or cherished family photographs. Hang one, or a group, to instantly liven up any room.




As with toy-airplane kits, the wood for this frame is pliable and soft and cuts with a craft knife.


  • Metal ruler
  • Wooden frame, 12 1/2 by 16 1/2 inches or larger
  • Balsa wood, various sizes
  • 12-by-12-inch cutting mat
  • Craft knife
  • Sandpaper, fine grit
  • Tacky glue
  • Flat-bristle brushes
  • Primer and paint
  • Cutting Mat, 12 inches square


  1. Step 1

    Measure the interior length and width of your frame, and add 8 inches to those dimensions. On the mat, cut 2 pieces each with those dimensions from 4-inch balsa wood.

  2. Step 2

    Following the mat's guideline, draw a line at a 45-degree angle from each end. Cut along line with craft knife.

  3. Step 3

    Sand ends of wood and glue to the frame.

  4. Step 4

    Cut the following pieces of balsa wood on a cutting mat:4 pieces 3 inches wide3 1/2 inches long 4 pieces 2 inches wide 2 1/2 inches long 4 pieces 1 inch wide2 1/2 inches long 4 pieces 1/2 inch wide1 inch long

  5. Step 5

    Glue 3-by-3 1/2-inch balsa wood pieces to 4 corners, 3/8 inch from edges.

  6. Step 6

    Continue to center and glue corner rectangle pieces in descending size order.

  7. Step 7

    For the width of the frame, measure a 3-inch-wide piece 3/4 inch shorter than the length between the 2 corner pieces. Center between corner pieces, and glue.

  8. Step 8

    Follow the same pattern used to build corner layers, reducing the size of each additional piece.

  9. Step 9

    For length of frame, measure a 3-inch-wide piece 1/2 inch shorter than the length between the 2 corner pieces. Center between corner pieces, and glue.

  10. Step 10

    Repeat step 8.

  11. Step 11

    After glue dries, apply 1 coat of primer, let dry, and then apply 2 coats of paint.



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