How to Make a Bull Clip Picture Frame

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We have all seen these in the stores, and there is a lot to like about them. You can easily change the artwork, you can make them match most any decor, and guess what? They are easy to make and so inexpensive. plus they make great gifts.   Let’s learn how to make a Bull Clip Picture Frame.  We will start with what you will need for a basic frame.

I used a 12″ wide board from my local hardware store. (this board is really only 11 1/4 inches) How many you want to make will determine the length of the board. I bought an 8-foot board and the store cut it into 12″ sections. If I do this again I think I will have the board cut to 14″.  If you are staining select a board size that the cut ends can be the top and bottom of the piece. For instance, if you need a rectangle board being hung with the long sides as the top and bottom that’s where you want the cuts.

You can paint or stain these, I used stain for mine.

Bull Clips

Sawtooth picture hangers

E6000 glue

Foam brushes

Sandpaper in various grits

Hand Sander

Measuring tape


The first step, sand.

The first step in any project using wood is to give it a good sanding. Do not skip this step. I know it’s tempting and the wood may look fine, but you need to sand. Sandpaper comes in grits, or how nubby, if you will it is. It is marked in a way that the higher the grit number the less nubby it is. Course sandpaper might be 40-60 which would be for stripping and removing large imperfections, 80-120 is a good choice for what we are doing, with one exception, the cut ends. We will be changing to 60 grit for those. The final sand will be with a 360-600 paper to make the wood smooth. When sanding follow the direction of the grain.  You should be able to sand out the little wood splinters on the board where the end cuts were made.

Lets put on a 120 grit and sand with the grain on both sides of the board.

Sand with the grain

Switch to a 60 grit and sand the cut ends next.


Wipe down the board with a microfiber rag, change to a 360 grit paper and do a final sanding on all 4 sides. Then give it a final wipe.

Step 2 Paint or Stain

Paint or stain the wood. I am staining mine, I apply the stain with a foam brush.  I hate getting stain on my hands so I use gloves for this, but if you do get it on your hands it comes off with Canoloa oil. You don’t have to use chemical solvents. I apply the stain fairly generously, and again follow the direction of the grain when applying the stain. Unlike paint that sits on top of the wood stain soaks in, so you need to move quickly to avoid one side being darker than the other.

Next, I use a paper towel to wipe off the excess stain. Again it’s best to wipe in direction of the grain.

This will not be an issue if you are painting, but if you stain know that the stain will be much darker on the cut ends.  I try to use them as the top and bottom so they don’t show as much.  You can see that this side is darker and does not have a pretty grain, so you want the cut sides to be the top and bottom sides.  Do all 4 sides so the back gets stained too. I think it makes it look more professional this way.

Let this dry for a few hours before moving on to the last step.

The Final Step

The next step is to put the hanging hardware on the back. The Sawtooth hangers come with small nails.  You need to do this before you put on the clip, so you still have a flat surface to nail on.

Measure down from the top of the board where you want the hanger to go. I like mine to be down an inch. make a mark on each side of your board at 1 inch down. Now lay your tape across these marks and find center on your board and mark it.

Use your square to make sure that the hanger will be straight.  Draw a line where the bottom of the hanger should be using the square.

Now put your hanger into place and pound in the nails.

The Last Thing

Turn the board over and find the center again just like you did on the back, first go an inch down and make a mark, but make it as small as you can as you are working on the front this time. You could even use a piece of tape and mark on it. Now mark the center. This mark will be hidden under the clamp.  Now grab your E6000. A word of warning, use this glue in a well-ventilated area. Try to keep kids and pets away from it.  Apply the glue to the round top and along the clamp.

Now use your square again to make sure the clamp is straight and put it on the board.

That’s all there is to making these cute Bull Clip frames. I like to make them in sets of…you guessed it three.  Now just find some pretty printables and clip them on.  Here’s how I used one set of mine.

And here is another.

If you want to know how I made these prints you can check out my post Secrets to Make Prints Look Vintage.

This is such a fun and easy little project, and a great introduction to using some basic tools. Now that you know how to make Bull Clip Picture Frames use them as  gifts for weddings, Mother’s Day (with pics of the kids), or house warmings. If you want these prints go to the resource library, to Farmhouse Decor that will not break the bank and download them there, or find them at the Graphics Fairy.

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Till Next Time…..






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