Victorian Picture Frames

Victorian picture frames, as well as frames for mirrors, were all the rage during the Victorian era. Ladies spent many an hour embroidering, painting, or crafting frames to beautify the home and to display a photograph, a piece of artwork, or a sample of embroidery to its best advantage.

The making of pretty frames for mirrors and pictures is not beyond the possibilities of ingenious fingers accustomed to the uses of the needle or brush, and the specimens illustrated on this web page may be easily reproduced.


The figure below shows an easily made photograph frame, suitable for a panel picture.

To make:Cut a piece of cream white leatherette, 12x15 inches. Begin in the center and cut a slit toward the four corners, and bend the pieces of leatherette outward toward the side; this will form an opening, the size of which will depend upon the length each slit is cut. It must be cut to fit the picture the frame is designed for. The turned back pieces were decorated with gold paint -the upper and lower piece with a band of gold three-quarters of an inch deep and the sides a floral arrangement of roses or pansies without foliage - see illustration - and painted with the gold paint.

The piece of leatherette decorated as directed should be backed by a piece of stiff cardboard a size smaller, and the edges of the leatherette should be folded back to the cardboard and glued down; slip the photograph into the opening.

Select two and one-half yards No. 12 satin ribbon of a rich gold color and place it squarely around the opening in the frame and tie a bow at the upper corner- complete by fastening a wire standard in the back to support the frame.

Picture frame from 1902

Victorian Picture Frame Variations

Any other material may be used for the frame: an eggshell board or celluloid, ivorine, plain cardboard covered with satin decorated with flat embroidery. The outer edges of frame, made as directed, should have a gold band one-quarter of an inch wide, painted all around; or the edges may be picked out in gold in vandykes.

Directions for Making an
Embroidered Picture Frame


Embroidered Oval Picture Frame
Click on picture to see more detail.
In this day of many photographs and the banishment of the family album, picture frames have become a necessity, and where th frames have to be purchased ready-made the expense becomes an item worth considering. There are many pretty styles of frames which can easily be made at home. Some are square with oval openings, or the opening may be square. There are the round frames, the frames in two panels, and again in three. The favorite size is 9x7 ½ for the single panel square frame, and 8 inches for the oval and round frame.

To make any of these frames there will be required, of very stiff card-board, two pieces – a front piece, having the opening truly cut out, and a plain back piece. These two pieces are to be neatly covered separately, the picture tacked into position on the back piece, and the two pieces must then be firmly glued together. The outer cover is usually made of fine white or ecru linen, embroidered in Dresden design in either silk or linen, in solid stitch. If the frame is covered with leather, mole skin or silk, the design will look best painted. Where the picture is to be used on a table or bracket a standard should be attached to the back.

The model shows an oval, eight inches across, covered with white linen embroidered in forget-me-nots in satin stitch.

Please check back often as more Victorian picture frame illustrations and instructions will be added from time to time.

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