Simple Postcard Display Frame

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Project by Ron Stewart posted 06-13-2018 12:34 AM 922 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

On a recent trip to New York City, my wife and I visited the Nicholas Roerich Museum and brought home a set of postcards of his paintings. We wanted to display three of them on a wall, so we bought one of those three-in-one frames. The postcards didn’t look as good as we expected in that frame, so I came up with my own design.

It’s very simple: just a 1/2” MDF slab with three 1/4” platforms (also MDF), all painted flat white. The postcards are attached to the platforms with double-sided tape.

Although the project was simple, there were are few design considerations I thought I’d cover.

One design consideration was the overall size of the slab. Each postcard was 6” x 4”, but two of the paintings had a different aspect ratio and had white bars on top/bottom. I trimmed those bars off, resulting in three postcards with different heights. We had previously settled on a 2” border on all sides of each postcard, and we had to decide how to handle the varying heights. We could have centered each postcard platform in a 6” x 4” area (to maintain symmetry), but we decided to just space the platforms 2” from each other, and 2” from the top/bottom of the slab. So the overall height of the slab was based on the cumulative heights of the platforms.

Another consideration was deciding how the hang the frame. We wanted the frame to sit flush to the wall, so I decided a keyhole slot was the way to go. (Sawtooth hangers and eye screws and wire cause the frames to tip out at the top.) I don’t own a keyhole router bit, but I was able to improvise with my drill press and 1/4” and
1/2” Forstner bits. I started by drilling holes through the slab, then flipped the slab over and drilled a stopped 1/2” hole behind the top of the slot. The back of the the top-most platform forms the bottom of the slot. Because MDF is weak, I reinforced the slot with wood glue.

The final consideration was whether the platforms should rest directly on the slab, or float slightly above. We
decided on the latter, so I cut small spacers from some scrap two-ply veneer (two pieces per spacer). That creates shadow lines around the platforms, providing a subtle visual separation between them and the slab.

To help position the platforms on the slab, I cut 2” wide spacers to use as guides. I dry fit the platforms, drilled
two tiny holes through each halfway into the slab, and used small brads in the holes to prevent the platforms from sliding during glue-up.

One of the nicest things about this project is that it was really cheap (about $4), because I was able to build it from MDF scraps. If I hadn’t run out of white spray paint, it would have been free.

-- Ron Stewart

2 comments so far

View Boxguy's profile


2878 posts in 3070 days

#1 posted 06-13-2018 09:16 AM

Rod, nice display, neat work, great idea, well thought out and explained. Thanks for sharing.

-- Big Al in IN

View Ron Stewart's profile

Ron Stewart

182 posts in 3307 days

#2 posted 06-13-2018 12:29 PM

Thanks for reading and commenting, Al.

-- Ron Stewart

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