Wednesday, January 2, 2013

DIY Frames

I am in love with these frames!

You can purchase these at:


I have seen them used in many different ways and I just love them. Every year I create photo gifts for my family and I thought these would be perfect... except for the price (being that I needed so many) and the weight to ship. So I decided to make my own version of these frames that would be cheap and lightweight.

I was really happy with the way they turned out and everyone seemed to really like them so I thought I would share. Here are the ones I made for my sister:

I was able to make 8 frames in these styles  for less than $5 total for all! 
(The frames are 8 x 10, the photos are 4 x 6) Here's how:

Large Foam Boards - ($1 each at Dollar Tree) 1 board will give you 4-5 frames in the size I stated but you could make them any size you want so purchase the boards according to how many you want to make and size. 

Fabric - I had a yard of this chocolate corduroy  fabric on hand that I used and I was able to do all the frames with quite a bit left over. You could use any fabric you want. That is what I love about this idea, these can be customized any way you want. You can use a solid, a print, textured, etc... 
Scrapbook Paper, Additional Fabric, or Plain White Card Stock - This will be used for the 2nd frame around the photo. I created this tan chevron print on my computer and printed it on card stock. You could easily use an alternate fabric or patterned/plain paper to match the fabric you choose as the base. I actually wish I had cut another piece of foam board as the base and then covered it with another fabric to give it another dimension, I will certainly do that the next time.

White Card stock Paper


Craft Glue

Wide Paintbrush


Search Google Images for "digital frames" and select the shapes that you would like to use, there are a ton to choose from. I copied the images into a Word document and sized them to 8 x 10. Print them out on card stock paper and then cut them out. I then re-sized the same frame shapes to 5 x 7 to make the 2nd frame around the photo and cut those out as well. These will serve as your templates. 

Trace the large frames onto the foam board and then cut them out using a razor knife (make sure you put a cutting board or mat underneath the board when cutting so you don't cut through the foam and cut your rug or table or whatever surface you are working on)

If you decide to use fabric as the 2nd frame you will need to cut out foam board for those as well. If you are going to use scrapbook paper or print your own design on card stock then you can just trace your template directly onto the paper and cut them out.

Lay the frames onto your fabric and cut out a square of fabric around them, leaving about 1/2 an inch or so around the borders so you have enough fabric to wrap over the edges.

Pour some glue onto the foam board and spread it all over into a thin layer using your paintbrush. Lay it onto the center of the fabric you cut and smooth it out pulling the fabric tightly around the edges. Don't worry about gluing the fabric over the edges yet, just focus on getting a smooth surface over the front of your frame. Allow it to dry.

While you are waiting on the main frame to dry you can work on the smaller frame. You will need to cut a 3 x 5 rectangle in the middle of the paper or foam board you cut for the 2nd frame, this is where your photo will go. If you are using foam board for this then you will want to cut the 3 x 5 rectangle in the middle and then lay it over your secondary fabric and follow the same steps you did with the larger frame to glue the fabric over the frame. If you are using paper you will just need to cut the rectangle out and then tape your photo into place.

When your large frame is dry you will want to put another thin coat of glue around the sides and the edge of the back of the frame and slowly work your way around the frame pulling the fabric tightly over the edges and gluing it down. It will take a little work to get the fabric down smoothly in some places where the frame has a lot of curves, you may have to cut a few lines into the fabric edges to allow you to pull it over. The back of the frame is going to look like a hot mess, don't worry about it, we'll fix that later! 

Once the frame is dry, the fabric should be glued down to cover the whole front, all the sides, and the edges of the back. You can cut the excess fabric pieces off the back. 

Cut a piece of ribbon about 3 inches or longer, depending on how large of a loop you want at the top to hang the frame. Fold the ribbon into a loop and glue both ends to the back of your frame, placing it in the center near the top. 

Take your large frame template again and trace it onto a piece of plain card stock paper or posterboard and cut it out. You will then have to cut about a quarter of an inch off around the edge again. You are going to use this piece to glue on the back and cover the hot mess of fabric. Once your ribbon is glued into place and dried you can spread another thin layer of glue all over the back of your frame and then place this plain piece of paper over it and glue it down, make sure no paper sticks out over the edges or is visible from the front of the frame. This will not make the back of your frame completely smooth, it's okay to see some wrinkles in the paper where it is placed over the top of your fabric, it will still look better this way than it did before. This will also give you a clean place to write a message on the back if you want, a nice touch if you are giving it as a gift.

The last step is to attach the second frame with your photo to the front of the large frame. You should have your photo taped in place. Just spread another layer of glue to the back of the second frame and photo and then press into place in the middle of the large frame. Let it dry and you're done! 

I'm sorry that I didn't take photos step by step as I made these. I loved them so much though that I plan to make some for myself so I will take more pictures when I do and update this. I hope that I have given enough details for you to be able to complete this project on your own. It seems like a lot of steps but don't be intimidated, it's really not difficult. If you have questions please don't hesitate to comment and I'll be happy to respond. 

I loved the corduroy fabric that I used, I love the texture it brought to the frame in conjunction with the chevron pattern. I'm totally chevron obsessed! These frames would look great with a patterned fabric on the large part of the frame and then a solid 2nd frame, or 2 different patterns if you can find ones that you like together. I just love all the option that you could come up with between the shapes of the frames and the options to cover them. Imagine a gallery wall with different shapes, sizes, some patterned, some solid... LOVE! 

Be creative and have fun and make some special frames for yourself or as a gift.


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