DIY: Lighted Tri-Fold Photo Frame Project

The lighted tri-fold photo frame stand is a perfect do-it-yourself (DIY) project. The completed tri-fold frame can be used for special occasions, such as birthdays and weddings – whether you give it as a gift or commemorate the occasion by using it as a décor piece. We are proud to offer this easy DIY craft project because it is fun to do and inexpensive to make.


Materials Needed:

FRAMES: To begin, select 3 lightweight photo frames (wood frames are preferable, however plastic frames may also be able to be used). Note that the project works best if the frames are the exact same type; however differing style frames of the same height and width could potentially be used. The important factor is that the frames are all the same width. We purchased the 5” X 3-1/2” frames shown from a local dollar store.

ADHESIVES: The photo frame glass panels will need to be glued into place with epoxy or silicone adhesives. Make sure the adhesive you select can be used with the materials to be glued together. Note that in some cases, it may be necessary to glue the hinges to the frame assemblies. If such is the case, we recommend a high strength, fast drying (5 minute) epoxy that can be used with a variety of materials (wood, metal, glass, plastic, etc.).

HINGES: For the project shown, we used Klockit stock #39148 decorative hinges. Other small hinges could also be used (#39147, #39091, #39212) depending on the style of frame you have selected. The frames you select may not allow hinge screws to be used. If such is the case, consider securing the hinges with epoxy adhesive.

LED TEALIGHT: The photos can be illuminated from within the tri-fold frame assembly with Klockit’s LED tealight: Stock #58000 – with remote control; Stock #58009 – without remote.

Step 1:

Carefully remove the photo backing card and any paper inserts, and discard. The glass panels may also be removed at this time. With the glass panels removed, bend the backing tabs of the frame against the backside of the frame assembly.


Step 2:

step-2-2Glue the glass panels into the rear “step” (or rabbet) of each frame assembly. We used a glue called Weldbond to secure the glass, but an epoxy or silicone adhesive will also work. Most importantly, the adhesive should be recommended for use with glass and finished wood. If you are working with plastic frames, make certain the adhesive is recommended for use with plastic and glass.

Apply a thin bead of glue to the interior rabbet of each frame assembly. Try to keep the adhesive set back from the photo opening edge of the rabbet to minimize excess glue seeping onto the front surface of the glass panel. Re-mount the glass panel and make certain it is centered in the opening. If need be, remove any excess seepage of adhesive and allow proper drying time.

Step 3:

Lay the frame assemblies side by side as shown below. The center frame should be spaced (gapped) from the outside frames by about 1/16” or slightly more. The bottom edge of all 3 frames must be perfectly flush. Apply strips of masking tape to temporarily hold all 3 frames together in proper orientation. This will help to keep the frames from shifting out of position as you work to secure the hinges.step3

Position the hinges onto each frame assembly. The hinge barrel should be facing up and centered over the gap between each frame assembly. The upper hinge barrels should be in line with the lower hinge barrels so that both are vertically plumb in relation to the frames. We located the hinges about 1” in from the top/bottom ends of the frame assemblies. Note that the 1” recommendation is subject to change depending on frame size and hinge selection.


NOTE: Depending on the selection of your frame assemblies, you may not be able to use the screws included with the hinges. In many cases, frames will not be thick enough to accommodate the length of screw supplied with the hinge. If this should be the case, you may epoxy the hinge to the back surface of the frame. Trace a light pencil outline of the hinge, and use a utility knife to score the area within the hinge leaf outline on the backside of the frame. This will help to promote a strong glue bond between the frame and hinge.

Step 4:

step-4Once the hinges are secured (or once the epoxy has dried), you may clean the glass panels and prepare your photos for mounting. Trim photos to the size of the opening on the rear surface of each frame. The photo should overlap the rabbet on all 4 sides, so make certain the photo subject is more or less centered in the photo.

Photo paper and standard photos can be used, however you will want to ensure there are no manufacturer logos or similar prints directly on the back of the photo paper if you plan to back-light photos. Standard paper can be used, but note that it will tend to appear a bit grainy when backlit. Vellum is another possible material that can be used for backlit photos, commonly found at printing shops.

Step 5:

step-5Place the photo against the backside of the glass panel. Center the photo in the frame opening, making certain the photo overlaps the rabbets the frame glass is glued to. Secure the photos to the frame with a couple of pieces of transparent tape on all four sides. Transparent tape makes photos easy to remove in order to change them from time to time.

Repeat this process for mounting the remaining two photos.

Step 6:

Finally, place the LED tealight within the frame assembly as shown below. Bring the two “free” edges of the outside frames together around the tealight, and make certain the tealight is centered within the assembly.


Questions on this DIY project?

Please post your question in the comments section below. Or you can send your question(s) to

Written By: Chris Akright

Chris is responsible for the kit, plan, and finishing technical support, which he has provided to Klockit customers for over 14 years. Chris also contributes new product designs, composes written/illustrated assembly manuals, and works to develop new kit and plan products for the Klockit catalog. Chris’s experience is the culmination of years of training under his mentor, and Klockit Designer, John Cooper.

Free Woodworking Plan: Spinning Gypsy Fortune Teller Base

Last month, we introduced the novel and entertaining Spinning Gypsy Fortune Teller (#42018). This month, our team is proud to introduce a free woodworking plan for the fortune teller that w42018ill construct a simple base plate to serve as a display.

The wood base plate described in this plan can be made from most any type of wood desired. The finished size will be 5” X 5” X 3/4″.

Step 1:

Begin by marking vertical and horizontal center line marks on what will be the face surface of the wood blank. The intersection of these lines (at center) will denote the location of the 2-1/8” recess where the fortune teller will be seated within.

General base plate dimensions are shown below. Please refer to Step 2 for profiling recommendations to accent your base plate. Note that a 2-1/8” diameter forstner (or multi-spur) bit can be used to create the counter-bore.


Step 2: Profiling

Various router bits can be used to create a desired profile that will provide accent to the base plate wood piece. You can find seven illustrated examples of common profiles below.

When using router bits to create profiles, we recommend completing the profile in numerous passes in order to maximize personal safety and the longevity of the bit. Make certain to wear the recommended protective equipment as detailed in the manufacturer’s manuals. Last but not least, we also recommend experimenting with profiles on a scrap wood piece before diving into the base plate itself.

Style 1:

prof-1This profile would be machined on a table saw or with a raised panel beveling router bit. Table saw machining will require the plate to be secured to a shop made jig (which is secured to a sled) so that the plate can be safely beveled standing up.


Style 2:

prof-2This profile would be machined with a cove router bit. While we illustrate a 3/8” radius cove, note that cove bits come in a variety of sizes.


Style 3:

prof-3The profile illustrated is a bull-nose profile. We illustrate a 5/8” bull-nose radius, leaving a 1/16” thick ledge at the top/bottom of the wood piece.


Style 4:

prof-4The profile shown is an ogee profile. We illustrate a ¼” double radii ogee profile.



Style 5:

prof-5This profile shows a 45 degree bevel created by a chamfer bit. In this example, 3/8” of the entire 3/4″ thickness is beveled 45 degrees.


Style 6:

6The profile shown is one example of various classical bit profiles which are available. Classical bits usually combine coves, round-overs, ogees, and/or beads to create a compound profile.


Style 7:

7-styleEither profile can be created with a round-over bit (also referred to as a beading bit).  Depending on the height setting of the bit, either a simple round-over or round-over with ledge can be created.  We illustrate a 3/8” radius round-over in both examples.

Step 3: Finishing

Once all machining has been completed, sand the block with medium (#150) and fine (#220) grit sandpaper in preparation for finishing. The block can be stained and finished however you would prefer; it may also alternatively be primed and painted to suite desired décor. There are additional options to enhance and/or personalize your base plate, including nameplates, small ball feet, and micro-mini clock inserts.

Once complete, set the spinning gypsy fortune teller within the 2-1/8” counter-bore to proudly display the fortune teller and your handcrafted base plate.



Please post any questions about this woodworking plan in the comments section below. Our team promises to answer them within 24 hours!

FAQ: Mechanical Clock Movements


This post will cover frequently asked questions and their answers about mechanical clock movements. If you question isn’t listed in the post below, leave us a comment and we’ll make sure to answer it. Let’s get started!

QUESTION: My clock chimes 5 minutes early/late on the quarter hour chimes. How do I fix this?

ANSWER: When the clock is chiming, remove the minute hand from the clock. On the back of the hand is a bushing. With a pair of pliers turn the bushing on the back of the hand so that when the hand is put back on, it’s pointing directly at the number 3, 6, 9 or 12. Make sure you don’t turn anything on the hand shaft while doing this.

QUESTION: The hand nut falls off and if I tighten it down, it stops the clock. What can I do?

ANSWER: Remove the hand nut and minute hand from the clock. Then check the hour hand to ensure it’s pushed far enough next to the dial that at least 1/8″ of the brass shaft it is on is coming through the top of the hour hand. Do not count the threaded part at the tip of the shaft as part of the 1/8″.

Once you have the hour hand in the correct position, you can put the minute hand and nut back on. If the hour hand is too tight to go on any further, remove the hour hand and file out a small amount of the hole on the hour hand. There may be excess paint in the hole making it too small to fit correctly. Be careful not to file too much out of the hour hand; it still needs to be a snug fit.

QUESTION: Why does the middle weight drop faster than the outer two?

ANSWER: There could be several reasons why this is happening. Let us ask you this: are the chimes ever turned off? If so, when the chimes are off, the two outside weights do not move down until the chimes are turned back on.

It could also be that there may be something wrong inside the clock movement. In that case, you will need to talk to a mechanical technician. Klockit’s mechanical technician can be reached at 1-800-556-6474.

QUESTION: What does each of the weights do?

ANSWER: The left weight (as you are standing in front of the clock) runs the hour strike. The center weight runs the time and pendulum. The right weight runs the 15 minute melodies. This is also true for wind up clock movements.

QUESTION: I have a mechanical clock movement reads ’94cm’ on the back, but I want to use a longer pendulum. Is this possible?

ANSWER: Unfortunately not. If you put a 114cm long pendulum on a clock that is meant to take a 94cm pendulum, it will run hours slow by a day and won’t keep accurate time. It’s the same as if you were to put a short pendulum on a movement that needs a long pendulum; it would run too fast.

QUESTION: Where does the heaviest weight go?

ANSWER: On the right-hand side as you face the front of the clock. This is true for all of the Hermle mechanical clock movements we carry. However, the Kieninger 13049 places the heaviest weight in the center because it features an automatic sequence option.

Mechanical Clock Movement Maintenance

If you have invested in an authentic mechanical-style clock movement, it is important to understand regular maintenance will be involved to protect your investment and ensure that it will work for years to come. If you have just purchased and received your mechanical clock movement, it will be factory-oiled and ready to run right out of the box (after mounting and adjustments, of course). Eventually, however, the clock movement will require a bit of upkeep.

How To Clean Your Clock Movement

Clock movements should be cleaned every 3 to 5 years. To clean your clock movement, you will need mineral spirits, clean cloths (soft and lint-free), and small artist brushes.  Use the minerals spirits and small brushes to clean away all dirt, grime, and old oil. Wipe brushes often on a clean cloth so that you are not re-applying dirt/grime to the movement. Wipe away excess mineral spirits and allow enough time for any remaining mineral spirits to completely evaporate.  Once the movement is dry, proceed to lubricate the movement.


Oiling Your Clock Movement’s Bearings

Would you run your car without any oil in it? You could, but we all understand that eventual damage will occur to the engine. The same holds true for a mechanical clock movement. Bearing points require a drop of lubrication to keep everything running smoothly. Bearings devoid of oil are subject to excessive friction which can eventually lead to expensive repairs or the need for movement replacement. As a rule of thumb, mechanical movements should be lubricated every 1 to 3 years – once every year in drier climates.

How To:

Generally speaking, oil all bearing surfaces which rotate against each other.  Grease surfaces which slide against each other. Here are some tips to keep in mind when oiling your clock movement:


Lubrication is not the only aspect of maintenance that is important.  As clock oil ages, it can become tacky. Also, oil will collect dust over time. When the dust mixes with oil, it forms an abrasive grime which can quickly wear away at bearings and such.  This is why it is particularly important to clean the movement at intervals in between oiling.

Should You Have a Professional Inspect Your Clock Movement?

While cleaning and oiling your own movement can save you some money, it is still a good idea to have the movement professionally cleaned and oiled every once in a while.  For example, there are some points that may only be oiled while the clock movement is disassembled.  Above all, a qualified professional has the ability to completely clean the movement beyond novice capabilities and can inspect the movement for any signs of wear as they do so.

Written By: Chris Akright

Chris is responsible for the kit, plan, and finishing technical support, which he has provided to Klockit customers for over 13 years. Chris also contributes new product designs, composes written/illustrated assembly manuals, and works to develop new kit and plan products for the Klockit catalog. Chris’s experience is the culmination of years of training under his mentor, and Klockit Designer, John Cooper.

HOW TO: Measure Dials With Glass Bezels

Do you need to know how to measure a dial with a glass bezel? This week’s helpful hint will explain how to measure properly.

Take a quick look at the diagram below. The measurements show the diameter of the dial, including the bezel, from (A) to (B). When measuring for an opening, remember that there is about 1/4″ between the nail holes in the dial and the outer edge of the bezel ring.

Once you have the measurements for the clock case opening (C), it is time to order! We recommend that you order a dial about 1/2″ larger than the clock case opening. This will keep the dial from sliding into the hole and also allow sufficient material to attach the dial to your clock case.

Measuring Dials With Glass Bezels

Still stumped? Contact our customer service team here!