Step 1: Starting with a 2'x2' piece of ¼" birch plywood, cut a 15"x15" square. This will be used as the backer for the frame. Sand, prime, and paint the backer; then set it aside to dry. (We chose Valspar Exotic Sea (#331652), Pistachio Satin (#287422), and Mediterranean Gloss (#287419) paint colors for the three backers pictured.)
Step 2: Apply the fish template to a piece of 1"x4" poplar or pine, and cut out the shape with a jigsaw. Sand, prime, and paint the fish. (We used Valspar Satin La Fonda Copper (#331655) paint.)
GOOD TO KNOW: Because this frame will be painted, you can patch minor gaps using homemade wood putty. Squirt a small amount of glue into a disposable container such as a paper cup. Mix in sawdust left over from cutting your frame boards until it forms a paste. Using your finger, work the paste into the gaps until the surface feels smooth. Then sand your patch flush with the wood.
Step 4: Sand the surface and edges of the frame. Then paint the outside face and all edges (but not the back) and let the frame dry. (We painted the frame with Valspar Satin White (#28277).)