Introduction: DIY PICTURE FRAME From Cardboard and Decorative Materials

About: Hi, my name is Ilona. I love to make things out of materials that are seemingly garbage. I joined instructables to share my ideas and techniques for reusing and transforming our waste into something more usefu…

This tutorial will show you how to make a cardboard picture frame (or a whole wall of them!) decorated with your crafting/found/scrap materials - sized to fit standard 4x6 photo. Use it to decorate your home in your own unique way or make it for a loved one - a handmade gift means so much more!

I will go into detail about how to make the cardboard structure and show you how to wrap the frame with decorative paper. The decorative paper is just one of many materials you can use for this. In the Supplies section below I listed many materials that you could consider, and most likely find around your house.

To help inspire your hunt for materials around the house or workspace I included examples of frames that were done during my last workshop. As you can see in the examples, the sky is the limit and you don't have to look far to find something you can work with.

Step 1: Supplies

> Printer to print stencils

> Cardboard (at least 8"x12")

> Ruler

> Pencil

> Utility knife

> Cutting surface - I just cut on multiple layers of cardboard taped together

> White glue (non-toxic) - best glue for paper and cardboard

> Hot glue gun - optional if you choose to decorate your frame with more 3d materials

> Materials to decoratesome examples: gift wrapping paper, magazine cutouts, fabric, denim, beads, ribbons, buttons, bottle caps, pom poms, dried flowers, chains, wire

Step 2: Make Stencils

>Download attached PDF files

>Print 3 pages making sure to check "Actual Size" in your Print window. This way the frame will fit a standard 4x6 photo

>Cut out stencils #1, #2 and #3 by following along the dashed lines.

A sharp utility knife will be much easier to work with and will yield better results - of course take care to do it safely. Safety First :)

Step 3: Trace Stencils on Cardboard

> Trace STENCIL #1 and #2 onto a piece of cardboard

> Mark PART A, B and C as shown in the photos.

* * We will use STENCIL #3 in a later step * *

Step 4: Cutting Parts

> Cut out Parts A, B and C using knife and ruler

Step 5: Frame Hanger

> Trace small triangles onto "PART B" using STENCIL #3

> Cut out the triangles

The triangle cuts will serve two purposes: hang the frame horizontally or vertically, and to open the back easily to change the photo

Step 6: Check the Parts

You should now have 3 cardboard pieces like the ones shown in the picture

Step 7: Glue Frame Pieces

> Apply white glue to one side of PART B

> Glue PART A to PART B making sure to align the corners

> Apply pressure with your hands for a few seconds or put some heavy books on top

Step 8: Decorate Frame

In the next steps I will show you how to wrap the frame with decorative paper to hide the cardboard edges. You can use this technique to create a complete simple frame, or use it as a background layer to which you can add other materials like small objects


Decorate the frame with your unique materials – I recommend using white glue for any paper/card decorations, and hot glue for bulkier accessories

Step 9: Decorative Paper

I used a page from an old calendar as my decorative paper

> The paper should be about 1 inch bigger than the frame on all 4 sides so it can wrap around the edge

> Spread while glue all over front of frame, smoothing it out to a thin layer with a brush or your finger A thin layer of glue is important so your paper doesn't swell from the humidity

> Glue paper on frame, making sure to have the extra length on all sides

Step 10: Corners

> Flip to back side of frame

> Spread a thin layer of glue on all 4 corners of frame

> Fold corners of your decorative paper around cardboard edge and glue down

Step 11: Wrap Around Outside

Please see pictures for a visual of how I decided to fold

>Fold the paper of each side without glue first to make the process less messy

>Apply glue to decorative paper one side at a time and wrap around cardboard edge to glue to back, making sure to press it well all over

>Cut off any paper that is overlapping the triangle cut-outs

OOPS!When I flipped the frame over, I realized the picture was upside down in relation to where I put the triangle hangers at the back. I used Stencil #3 to draw the triangle where I needed it and cut it out - you will see in next steps I have an extra triangle at the back.

Step 12: Wrap Around Inside

Please see pictures for a visual of how I decided to fold

>Cut out a rectangle from the middle of the decorative paper, leaving some paper for folding over on all side (about 1/2 inch)

>Cut paper corners from inside corner of frame to inside corner of paper on all 4 sides

>Apply glue to each side of paper and fold over cardboard edges

Step 13: Open/Close

Once the frame is decorated and glue is dry:

>Turn to back of frame and place PART C into the gap (I inserted a picture before this)

> Apply masking tape as indicated to make the door open/close

Step 14: The End

Now that you know the tricks, get creative! You can make the next frame even more awesome by adding more layers or giving it another shape.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Please share in the comments if you made one!

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