How to Make Floating Acrylic Frames

Make your own stylish double panel floating acrylic frames.
2 hours

I love the minimal and modern look of floating acrylic frames. I've eyed them for years, but could never commit to purchasing them because of the high expense (especially for a large gallery wall space). While many standoff floating frames are priced starting at $80-100 each, this DIY version can be made for about half the price.

The steps in this floating acrylic frame guide are straightforward and simple. The tedious parts of this project are the measurements: marking up your acrylic material to position the standoff screws and repeating those measurements to mount the acrylic frames on the wall. Other than that, the steps are easy and repetitive, and once you get going it comes together easily.

As for the materials, I purchased brass standoff bolts from Etsy and used pre-cut sheets of polycarbonate sheets in place of acrylic. I found the polycarbonate to be more cost-effective than acrylic and very easy to work with. I used 11" x 14" sheets of polycarbonate to frame an 8" x 10" photo.

Cordless drill ×1
straight edge rulerstraight edge ruler ×1
Masking TapeMasking Tape ×1
Permanent MarkerPermanent Marker ×1
Small screwdriver, Phillips-headSmall screwdriver, Phillips-head ×1
hammerhammer ×1
level (digital or spirit)level (digital or spirit) ×1

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Measure and mark the polycarbonate sheet

On the front polycarbonate sheet, make measurements for placing your standoff bolts. Use a straight edge to measure one inch from the edge of the polycarbonate on each side. Use a permanent marker to mark the dimension on the protective covering, drawing a line down all four sides of the polycarbonate. This will serve as a guide for drilling your holes; the standoff bolt will be placed where the lines intersect in each corner.

Tape two polycarbonate sheets together with masking tape

Line up the front and back sheets of the polycarbonate evenly. (You can set the bottom edge on a flat surface to make sure the two sheets are level when placed together.)

Use masking tape to secure the polycarbonate sheets together. Wrap the outside of the polycarbonate sheet, making sure the polycarbonate will not slide or move in any direction when drilled through.

Bolster the edges near the corners together with additional masking tape, being careful not to cover the marking for the standoff bolt. This will prevent the pieces from separating or sliding when drilled through.

The goal here is to assemble the two polycarbonate sheets in precisely the same way that they will be positioned when the frames are completed.

Drill holes through the polycarbonate sheets

Using your markings as your guide, prepare to drill holes in each corner of the polycarbonate sheet. The hole needs to be only slightly larger than the standoff bolt screw. You want it to be large enough to easily fit the standoff screw, but not so large that the acrylic will move or shift when the screw is fastened. (For my standoff bolts, I used a 5/16-inch drill bit.)

Place a couple of pieces of cardboard underneath the polycarbonate sheet to act as a barrier when you drill through the material. Align the point of the drill bit with your marking and begin to drill slowly, applying gentle pressure as you drill through the polycarbonate. Continue drilling until there are holes in both the front and back polycarbonate sheets. The holes should align so the standoff screw can penetrate both the front and back sheet.

Repeat with the other three corners.

Sand away any rough or sharp plastic around the screw holes

Leaving the tape and protective covering in place, sand away any rough or sharp plastic around the screw holes (I used 120 grit sandpaper). Sand in a gentle circular motion to flatten any plastic that protrudes from the polycarbonate sheet. Be careful not to sand through the protective covering or to scratch any edges of the polycarbonate sheet.

Once you have sanded away any sharp or rough surfaces around the holes, check to see if the standoff screws will fit through the existing holes. If the screws are too tight or do not fit, use the drill to adjust the size of the holes as needed.

When the standoff screws fit and tighten properly, remove the masking tape and sand down any rough edges in the interior of the frame, being careful not to lose track of the position of the polycarbonate sheets.

Assemble the acrylic frames

Starting with the back piece of polycarbonate sheet, peel away the protective covering from both sides. Center the 8" x 10" photo in the middle of the polycarbonate sheet. Ideally, you will be able to secure the photo without any adhesive to prevent any ridges in your photo when the two polycarbonate sheets are pressed together, but if the photo is moving, you can use a tiny piece of adhesive tape to keep it in place.

Remove the protective covering from both sides of the front piece of polycarbonate. Making sure both pieces of polycarbonate are free of dust and debris, carefully place the front polycarbonate sheet on top of the photo, lining up all four holes. Insert the standoff bolt and screw the frame together.

Mount the floating acrylic frames on the wall

Double-check the width of the top standoff bolts with your measuring tape and mark the same distance on the wall, leaving a mark where you want to place each standoff bolt. Use masking tape and a level to ensure the two holes are straight.

Drill a hole into the wall and insert your drywall anchor with a hammer.

Using a small screwdriver, screw the back piece of the standoff bolt into the wall. Repeat on the opposite side of the frame. Align the frame with the mounted standoff bolts, and hang your frame by screwing the standoff bolts together with the frame in place.

Voila, your mounted acrylic frames are complete.

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1 minute

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