Picture of Custom Miniature Minimalist Picture Frame
You.  You have a picture laying around.  It's an odd size.  It has much sentiment attached to could be a portrait of a long-lost love...or a rendering of someone (or some...thing) you've only dreamed of.

You'd tack it on your fridge, but magnets are so passé.  You have standards. Maybe you live in a minimalist highrise overlooking the twinkling horizon of Shanghai, and only the best will do. Or maybe you live in a transparent future-submarine, zipping around the Mariana trench, where opaque decorations are silly & verboten.  Well, have I got just the project for you.  
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Step 1: Gather Your Materials & Tools

Picture of Gather Your Materials & Tools
You will need:

Clear Acrylic (3mm thick)

Adobe Illustrator
Laser Cutter
Plastic Strip Heater

Step 2: Measure the Picture You Want to Frame

Picture of Measure the Picture You Want to Frame
Break out your ruler(s) & measure away.  You only need 1 ruler, but I used 2. Why? Cuz YOLO.

This photo measures 49mm. x 72mm. 

Step 3: Sketch out a Laser Cutting File

Picture of Sketch out a Laser Cutting File
Our picture is 49mm x 72mm.  Using Adobe Illustrator, create a laser file with the measurements you'd like.  

The frame will be 49mm wide, like the picture.  

The length needs to be long enough to bend 3 times: 2 times for sandwiching the photo between 2 sides of acrylic + 1 time to shape a base.  Let's figure it out:

72 x 2 = 144mm (both sides of the acrylic picture sandwich)
5mm for upper curve (some give where acrylic will bend at the top)
15mm for lower curve (some give where acrylic will bend at the base, )
35mm (for the actual base)

So our total length is 144 + 5 + 15 + 35 = 199mm

Bend Guides
We know the total size of the rectangle will be 199mm x 49mm.  Now add light raster lines where you will be bending the plastic.

Things to Watch out for:
-Leave some clearance in the frame for the picture to slide in between the sandwiched pieces of acrylic. If you make the back piece too long, it will bump into the base & be difficult to open.
mxx3 months ago

Very snazzy, but I wonder if one could make it with more ordinary tools which the ordinary hobbyist has access to? Maybe cut the acrylic with a fine saw and buff the cutting marks away, and using a more common heat source for the bendy stuff?

Have to admit, noticed the person in the picture and thought, "Hey, is that Edie Sedgwick" Nice instructable.
I believe that's actually Twiggy. Edie's eyebrows were thicker and her hair a little blonder and she had a mole on one cheek.

mdln (author)  bpfrocket2 years ago
True! Good eye! Thanks, guys! ^___^
bremus2 years ago
These are $.99 at Staples.
mdln (author)  bremus2 years ago
Oh my gosh! They must have read my instructables?! How exciting! ^____^
netseeker2 mdln2 years ago
Yeah back in the 1970s as I have several of these frames that I bought in the 1970s.
mdln (author)  netseeker22 years ago
Woah! They had in the 70s??? What a long company - so cool they took inspiration from me! ^___^
golmaal2 years ago
nice, but too much expensive from me, cause i don't have lazier cutting machine :)
mdln (author)  golmaal2 years ago
Alas, golmaal...! I'm sure someday they will become as commonplace & easy to obtain as desktop printers...I'm sure of it! ^___^
gaschult2 years ago
All of a sudden there's a plastic strip heater??? Where di that come from?
mdln (author)  gaschult2 years ago
Magic! ^___^
yasam20022 years ago
Thank you for sharing , to bend acrylic with a laser cutter you can use the same technique on the following link :
The full documentation on the this link:
mdln (author)  yasam20022 years ago
Awesome, thank you yasam2002!
mikeasaurus2 years ago
This came out nice. Have you seen the technique to use the laser cutter to make the bend? I'm looking for the video I saw it in for reference.
mdln (author)  mikeasaurus2 years ago
Thanks mikeasaurus! Woah yes - I've seen a video where they use the laser to make bends ("laser origami", I believe?), but I haven't seen documentation on how to actually put it into practice...would love to try it out! ^__^