Picture of Picture Frame/Shadow Box
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Perhaps you want to frame your lovely artwork or a picture of family members. Maybe you're thinking of sending Grandma a framed picture of her amazing grandson/granddaughter. Any way, you're going to need a picture frame, and here's how you can make your own for next to nothing. 

Note: You could also adapt this method to make a shadow box for dioramas. (Read on to learn more... )

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Step 1: Materials

What you'll need: 
  • cardboard -- thick is better but thin will work (Recycle a cereal box!)
  • transparent plastic (You could savage some from many sources such as old binders (the front plastic cover part), binder sheet protectors, and plastic takeout containers. Otherwise, this is the perfect excuse to buy some of those cookies/cakes that come with a transparent plastic container...)
  • scissors
  • glue
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • picture/other object to frame OR stuff for a shadow box

Step 2: Cardboard for the frame

Picture of Cardboard for the frame
First you need to decide how big you want the frame to be. Get your picture and add about 1.5 inches, depending on how thick you want the borders (1.5 inches will give you 1.5/2 = 0.75 inch borders), to the width and length to get the final dimensions. I wanted my frame to be 4.75 inch x 5 inch with 0.75 inch borders so I made my final size 5.5 inch x 5.75 inch. 

Grab your cardboard and cut out two rectangles (or triangles, or circles; whatever you want your frame's shape will be).

If you want a shadow box, cut out more rectangles. The height of your shadow box will be the same as the thickness of your total number of rectangles minus two of them (the minus two part is because you need one rectangle to be your backing and one to be the outer part on top of the plastic screen).