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How to make a cardboard picture frame

Updated February 21, 2017

A simple cardboard picture frame is an easy craft project for children -- and surprisingly enjoyable for adults! This frame is easy to make and can be decorated as simply or as elaborately as you like.

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  1. Measure the photograph you are going to frame and add 12.5 to 15 cm (2.5 to 3 inches) to each dimension. The amount you add will determine the width of the frame's edges.

  2. Cut out two pieces of cardboard. Each should be the cut to the dimensions calculated in step 1.

  3. Use a ruler and pencil to measure and mark out a square or rectangle (the shape will be the same as that of your picture) in the center of one of the pieces of cardboard. The dimensions of this shape should be 6 mm (1/4 inch) smaller than the size of your picture.

  4. Use a craft knife to cut out the rectangular or square shape from the cardboard. Cut evenly along the pencil marks.

  5. Lay the piece of cardboard with the cutout window on a flat work surface and decorate one side of it. You can use markers, stamps, paint, crayons, glitter -- whatever you like. Allow any glue or paint to dry thoroughly before you continue.

  6. Determine which end of the frame will be the top and which will be the bottom.

  7. Place the decorated piece of cardboard face-down. Use a ruler and pencil to mark three lines around the cutout window, one on each side and one along the bottom. Each line should be made 6mm (1/4 inch) from the window.

  8. Place a thin line of glue just outside (away from the window) of the pencil lines made in step 7. Also place thin lines of glue along the side and bottom edges of the cardboard. A glue stick can also be used.

  9. Place the remaining piece of cardboard on top of the first, making sure that the edges line up evenly. Press the two pieces together, and wipe away any excess glue. Allow the glued pieces to dry thoroughly.

  10. Affix a small loop of ribbon to the back of the frame with tape or glue and use it as a hanger. You can also affix magnet strips to the back of the frame to create a refrigerator magnet.

  11. Insert the photo into the frame through the top.

  12. Tip

    Cover the cardboard frame with scrap wrapping paper or fabric to decorate. Use card stock paper instead of cardboard for your frame. Card stock is available in a wide variety of colors. Decorate the back of the frame as well as the front. Write your name, initials or even make a handprint on one side of the uncut piece of cardboard. Experiment with different window and frame widths before your frame is cut.


    Children should use the craft knife only with adult supervision.

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Things You'll Need

  • Brushes
  • Satin ribbon
  • Crayons
  • Acrylic paints
  • Cardboard
  • Decorative rubber stamps
  • Glitter
  • Glue sticks
  • Glues
  • Photographs
  • Scrap fabrics
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • Colored card stock
  • Ink pads
  • Markers
  • Craft knife
  • Ruler

About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.

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