Frame maker


Frame makers build frames, mostly out of wood, for pictures and mirrors. They discuss the specifications with customers and build or adjust the frame accordingly. They cut, shape and join the wooden elements and treat them to obtain the desired colour and protect them from corrosion and fire. They cut and fit the glass into the frame. In some cases, they carve and decorate the frames. They may also repair, restore or reproduce older or antique frames.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to frame maker:

frames builder
frames creator
mirror frame maker
picture frame repairer
picture framer
picture framemaker
frame producer
frame creator
frames producer
frame repairer
frame-making machine setter
mirror framemaker
frame-making machine tender
frames fabricator
picture frame restorer
fine art framer
frame fabricator
frame-making machine operative
mirror frame restorer
mirror frame repairer
frame restorer
frame builder
frames maker
frame-making machine operator
mirror framer
picture frame maker

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally the minimum required to work as a frame maker.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Frame maker is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Frame maker career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to frame maker.

antique furniture reproducer
furniture restorer
furniture upholsterer
furniture finisher
cabinet maker

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of frame maker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of frame maker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

carpenter supervisor
furniture shop manager
bridge inspector
prosthetic-orthotics technician
optical technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of frame maker.

  • Organic building materials: The types and processing of organic materials to build products or parts of products.
  • Types of wood: Types of wood, such as birch, pine, poplar, mahogany, maple and tulipwood.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of frame maker.

  • Match frames to pictures: Choose the appropriate frame to suit the picture taking different aspects into account such as style and colour.
  • Manipulate wood: Manipulate the properties, shape and size of wood.
  • Create smooth wood surface: Shave, plane and sand wood manually or automatically to produce a smooth surface.
  • Cut glass: Use glass cutting tools or diamond blades to cut pieces out of glass plates, including mirrors.
  • Manipulate glass: Manipulate the properties, shape and size of glass.
  • Apply a protective layer: Apply a layer of protective solutions such as permethrine to protect the product from damage such as corrosion, fire or parasites, using a spray gun or paintbrush.
  • Sand wood: Use sanding machines or hand tools to remove paint or other substances from the surface of the wood, or to smoothen and finish the wood.
  • Create wood joints: Use the proper tools and processes to create the joints where multiple pieces of wood fit together.
  • Build picture frames: Build the rigid structure, most working with wood, that encloses pictures and mirrors or holds canvasses for painting.
  • Apply wood finishes: Use a variety of techniques to finish wood. Paint, varnish and stain wood to improve its function, durability, or appearance.
  • Operate wood sawing equipment: Operate various machinery and equipment to cut wood in different sizes and shapes.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of frame maker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Technical drawings: Drawing software and the various symbols, perspectives, units of measurement, notation systems, visual styles and page layouts used in technical drawings.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of frame maker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Pass on trade techniques: Pass on knowledge and skills, explain and demonstrate the application of equipment and materials and answer questions about trade techniques for the manufacturing of products.
  • Remove paint: Remove paint by using chemical strippers, a heat gun, sanding or scraping the surface.
  • Apply restoration techniques: Select and apply appropriate restoration techniques in order to achieve the required restoration goals. This encompasses preventive measures, remedial measures, restoration processes and management processes.
  • Handle delivery of furniture goods: Handle the delivery and assemble the furniture and other goods, according to customer’s needs and preferences.
  • Operate furniture machinery: Operate machines and equipment used for making furniture parts and the assembling of furniture.
  • Clean furniture: Remove dirt, marks and other unwanted material from furniture.
  • Maintain furniture machinery: Maintain machinery and equipment in order to ensure that it is clean and in safe, working order. Perform routine maintenance on equipment and adjust when necessary, using hand and power tools.
  • Manipulate metal: Manipulate the properties, shape and size of metal.
  • Evaluate restoration procedures: Evaluate the outcome of conservation and restoration procedures. Evaluate the degree of risk, success of treatment or activity and communicate the results.
  • Artificially age furniture: Use various techniques such as sanding, denting, painting and others to make new furniture look distressed and aged.
  • Fix minor scratches: Fix minor dents and scratches on the surface with touch-up paint or scratch remover.
  • Carve materials: Carve an object out of a material such as wood, or give a specific shape to a material by carving it.
  • Paint decorative designs: Apply designs in paint, using paint sprayers, paintbrushes or spray cans.
  • Estimate restoration costs: Estimate the cost implications of restoring and replacing products or parts.
  • Sell household goods: Sell household devices and goods such as microwaves, blenders and kitchen supplies in accordance to the client’s personal preferences and needs.
  • Repair furniture machinery: Repair broken components or systems of machinery and equipment used for making furniture, using hand and power tools.
  • Sell furniture: Sell pieces of furniture in accordance to the client’s personal preferences and needs.
  • Set up the controller of a machine: Set up and give commands to a machine by dispatching the appropriate data and input into the (computer) controller corresponding with the desired processed product.
  • Decorate furniture: Use techniques such as gilding, silver-plating, framing or engraving to add specific decorations in the material of the furniture.
  • Prepare furniture for application of paint: Set up furniture for standard or custom paint job, protect any parts that should not be painted and prepare painting equipment.

ISCO group and title

7522 – Cabinet-makers and related workers

  1. Frame maker – ESCO
Last updated on October 13, 2022

What do you want to do with this job?

You will be brought to the forum page

Requires a business account

Requires a business account

Thinking about your next career move?

Answer a few questions about your jobs and education, and we’ll give you suggestions about your best possible career move. It’s completely free!