How to make homeade picture frames

Written by natasha lawrence
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How to make homeade picture frames
A custom-made picture frame will be unique. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Make ornamental frames from simple and inexpensive materials for favourite photographs or a child's artwork. An excellent craft project for children as well as adults, homemade picture frames make treasured gifts. Small recycled items, such as buttons, can be used for decorations, or collect natural resources from a walk through a park or along the beach. Whether large or small, the end product is a one-of-a-kind work of art.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1 large sheet of white foam board
  • Straight-edge ruler
  • Marker
  • Mat knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Embellishments
  • Clear varnish spray
  • Acid-free adhesive tape

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  1. 1

    Purchase a large sheet of white foam board at a craft shop. Using a straight-edge ruler, measure and mark off two 20 cm by 25 cm (8 inch by 10 inch) rectangles.

  2. 2

    Cut the rectangles out with a mat knife. Place the straight edge on the marked line and hold the knife against it as you cut to keep the lines straight.

  3. 3

    Mark a smaller photo opening on the front of one of the rectangles, such as 12.5 cm by 17.5 cm (5 inches by 7 inches). The opening may be centred or off-centre.

  4. 4

    Cut the photo opening with the mat knife, holding it against the ruler as you cut to keep the edge straight.

  5. 5

    Lay the foam board photo front on a work table covered with newspaper. Arrange embellishments to create a design. Examples of decorative materials include sea shells, bits of sea glass and twigs. If you're making a beach-themed frame, set aside a little container of beach sand.

  6. 6

    Working in small areas, pick up the embellishments one at a time, apply hot glue and press them on the front of the frame. Continue in this manner until the entire front of the frame is decorated.

  7. 7

    Pour some sand on the newspaper. Apply hot glue around the edge of the photo frame and press it onto the sand. Do this with all sides of the frame. For a neat finish on other types of frames, cover the sides with color-coordinated double-fold binding tape, strips of decorative paper or printed fabric.

  8. 8

    Spray the front of the photo frame with clear varnish. Let dry.

  9. 9

    Attach a photo to the back of the front frame (the frame with the opening) using acid-free adhesive tape on each of the four corners of the photo.

  10. 10

    Attach the front of the frame with the photo to the back frame with dabs of hot glue placed just inside the edges of the frames.

  11. 11

    To make the frame stand by itself, cut a triangular piece of foam board about 22.5 cm (9 inches) high by 10 cm (4 inches) wide at the base. Apply hot glue along the 22.5 cm (9 inches) side of the triangle and press it against the back centre of the frame. When dry, the triangle will support the frame. To hang the frame on a wall, make two small holes near each top corner (a screwdriver works). Insert the end of a strip of pretty ribbon or cording a little longer than the width of the frame into the holes and tie the ends together.

Tips and warnings

  • White foam board can be purchased at craft stores. Watch for sales and stock up on foam boards for future projects.
  • Spray the clear varnish outside or in a well ventilated area.
  • Embellishments can include plastic buttons, little fake flowers, fabric pieces or torn bits of decorative papers.
  • If children are participating in this project, an adult should use the mat knife, hot glue and spray varnish.

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