DIY Display Frame

7 Materials
3 Hours

I have a love for vintage and antique things. After completing my Peg Rail project (details under my project list) I've been looking for some pieces to display in my laundry room. I found a Military Laundry Metal Numbered Tag. I love it, but also I knew I didn't want to just hang it on the wall. It deserves a display! So, I made this simple display frame. This was a completely free project for me because I used all leftover materials from old projects. That's one of the benefits of almost always have left over materials.


  • .5" x 1.5" x 48" Poplar board
  • .75" x 7.25" x 6' Select Pine board
  • Minwax stain (I used Special Walnut)
  • Minwax Polycrylic (Matte finish)
  • Zinsser 123 Primer
  • Color Palace Paint (White - Satin)
  • 1 1/4" nails for the pneumatic nailer


  • Sand paper
  • Paint brush
  • Miter saw
  • Pneumatic nailer

Using the miter saw I trimmed my base board to the size needed for my project. Since this project is based on the object you want to display, you will use measurements needed for your project.

Then I measured the length of my base board to cut my first 2 pieces of the frame using the miter saw.

For the frame I wanted, I started by cutting the sides the same size as the base.

The top and bottom frame pieces are 1/4" longer on each side. You could make this longer or shorter based on the look you want.

After all the wood pieces have been cut and sanded I started finishing them. I stained my frame boards with Special Walnut from Minwax and a paper towel.

While my frame pieces are drying I started to finish the base board. I decided to use a primer before painting. I did 2 coats of Zinsser 123 primer, allowing them to fully dry before applying the next coat.

After my stained boards dried, I applied 2 coats of Minwax Polycrylic. I did a light sanding between coats to make sure my boards stayed smooth.

TIP: Don't sand to much because you do not want to sand off the layer of poly and possibly stain.

After the 2 coats of primer dried on my base board, I applied 2 coats of white paint. Again, to make sure you have a smooth finish, lightly sand the painted base board between coats of each.

TIP: Make sure you allow each coat to fully dry before sanding or moving on to another coat. I also give the piece a light coat after the last coat of paint to make sure my project is smooth and beautiful.

Once all pieces are dry it's time to assemble your display frame. I used a pneumatic nailer to secure my frame starting with the long side pieces.

TIP: For the size boards I used on my project I used 1 1/4" nails. You will want to adjust this length to make sure you don't blow the nails through your project if you use a smaller size trim or base board.

Here is the finished display frame nailed together.

The item I'm displaying has a hole in the metal tag for hanging. I took an old nail and hammered it into place.

Here is the finished display frame!

I made my top and bottom boards a bit larger so I could use this display 2 ways. This way you can use it as shelf or table decor.

OR you could add a keyhole slot to the back and hang it on the wall.

Here it is hanging up.

I think this display frame is perfect for my vintage find and would be a beautiful way to showcase any special treasure you have. Let me know in the comments if you make one!

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Kim
    on Apr 8, 2020

    What exactly is the piece called that you have framed?? I'm curious because I have a couple of large safety pins like those and never knew what they were for. I see they are on a numbered hanger.

    • Alice wood
      on Apr 16, 2020

      1st paragraph she said it is a Military Metal Numbered Laundry Tag.

  • Sevil
    on May 7, 2020

    Very nice. Exactly how did you make the keyhole on the back?

Join the conversation

4 of 8 comments
  • Kris
    on Mar 29, 2020

    Very cool and a great way to display your special treasures! Love it, thanks for your share!

  • Yesser
    on Mar 29, 2020

    Those old safety pins are SO cool. Nice find. 👍🏼

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