Important photos deserve carefully selected frames. The frame should compliment the photo and evoke the memory of the special moment it captures. A custom acrylic frame can have pressed flowers, magazine cutouts and mementos embedded in it. With a simple polystyrene (styrofoam) mould and hobby-quality acrylic resin, you can make a one-of-a-kind picture frame to keep your one-of-a-kind picture.
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Things you need
- 200 by 250 by 75 mm (8 by 10 by 3 inch) block of polystyrene (styrofoam)
- Craft knife
- Hobby-quality resin
- Hobby-quality catalyst
- Popsicle stick
- Mementos, cutouts, dried flowers, etc.
- High-speed rotary tool (such as a Dremel)
- Plastic buffing compound
- Chamois cloth
- Glass cut to fit the frame
- Photo frame backer with opening/stand
Make your mould. Measure the dimensions of the outer frame and mark it onto your styrofoam block. Measure the dimensions for the photo opening in the centre of that measurement. Add 3 mm (1/8 inch) onto the measurements all around. (When the frame sets, you will use the rotary tool to file a 3 mm (1/8 inch) groove to create a lip for the photo glass to sit on.) Cut and dig out the frame mould with your craft knife, about 37 mm (1 1/2 inches) deep. Ensure that the surface is as smooth as you'd like the surface of your frame to be.
Mix the acrylic resin with the catalyst according to the package directions. Pour the resin into the mould and allow to set (two to four hours). The resin is ready for the next step when you hear a clicking noise when you tap on it with the Popsicle stick.
Place your mementos or other design pieces onto the first layer of acrylic resin in the design you desire.
Mix the acrylic resin for the second layer according to the package directions. (Note: Often the measurements for the second layer of resin compound are different than those for the first layer.) Allow to set and dry overnight.
Pop your frame out of the mould. On the back of the frame, measure 3 mm (1/8 inch) in from the inside frame opening and draw a line all the way around the opening. Using your rotary power tool, file out a groove all the way around the inside of the frame. This groove will provide a place for the photo glass to sit, so you want to make it thin but not so thin that the weight of the glass will break it.
File rough edges away from the acrylic frame using the power rotary tool on a low setting. Then buff and shine the frame with the plastic buffing compound and chamois cloth.
Lay the frame facedown on a flat surface. Place the glass inside the frame on the groove. Apply a light layer of superglue all the way around the outside of the frame, making sure to put a little bit more at the corners. Then place your frame backer onto the acrylic frame and press it into place. Allow to dry (about two hours) before turning the frame upright and opening the back to place the photo inside.
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