Introduction: Memories Frame

Memories Frame

I have seen a few alternative renditions of this idea on various DIY sites and have wanted to create on for a while now... The idea of the Memories Frame is to create a piece of hanging wall art that will double as a memory keep sake for items such as concert / event tickets, small tokens of places visited... So that others can see your adventures and you can continue the memory... a great alternative to a album or shoe box! As you gather items or tokens you can simply drop them through slots created in the top of the frame to be viewed.

Some of the concepts / skills used for this project include: general power/hand tools, alternative wood staining, and laser printed image transfer to wood.

I will identify the items / supplies used during each step... Hope you like and if you make one enjoy your DIY project!!

The entire project is not complex or difficult and can be completed in a few days!!

Step 1: Step 1 - Selecting the Picture Frame

There is some consideration in selecting the picture frame.

1. It needs to have a sufficient amount of width to allow items to be inserted

2. A frame that you like and want presented in your home!

So, I selected an IKEA picture frame that I will hack into my project. It has a decent amount of width and already has areas that I can create some personalized art upon.

Supply List:

1. Picture Frame - IKEA "BISPGARDEN"

Step 2: Step 2 - Frame Dismantling

The IKEA frame has a backing that is held on by staples... These need to be removed...

Supply List:

1. Small Flat Head Screwdriver

2. Needle Nosed Pliers

I took care to minimize the damage to the frame backing. Once I got several staples removed from a corner, I was able to gently pry the backing up and it dislodged the staples nicely so I could easily remove them.

Take your time as you don't want to damage the frame or backing.

Step 3: Step 3 - Preparing the Wood for Image Transfering

I decided to try transferring an laser print image to wood to create a unique presentation. There are many tutorials on the internet. I suggest researching those, since I will provide a general overview. Though, for many the conceptual idea is all that is needed to actually perform the image transfer. In addition, I wanted a slight stain to contrast against the colored background and I wanted find out how well Soy Sauce can stain wood! Small experimental issue on my part

Supply List:

1. Wood - Should be thin to allow space in the frame

2. Soy Sauce or a stain of your choice

3. Cloth to apply the stain

I had some paneling in my scrap bin so I decided that since it was thin enough, it would work for this project. So, I cut them to just larger than the art areas that were already on the frame backing to cover them. With my large bottle of Soy Sauce I applied a liberal amount of sauce to the wood and applied with a cloth. I applied two coats allowing the first coat to dry to the touch before adding the second. I achieved the darkness I wanted, you obviously can continue as you see fit to achieve your desired level of staining.

Please Note: This process will create a strong soy smell in your work area!!!

Step 4: Step 4 - Creating Frame Openings

The whole idea of the Memories Frame is to be able to add items over time and to display them in an artistic manner... Wouldn't it be fun in 20 years to open the frame and sort through the items to remember the fun you had!!!

So, IKEA is known for engineered materials and of course this frame is not made of wood but some paper product... easy to work with but be cautious as it can damage easily too!

Supplies Needed:

1. Power Saw - I have a Rockwell that is great for this type of work as I can set the depth

2. Chisel

3. Glue - I like Gorilla Glue...

4. Brad Nailer - I had 3/4 inch nails in the supply box...

5. Clamps

6. Masking Tape

7. Permanent Market

Please refer to the pictures - to me they are more descriptive than I can be...

Please Note: Use your brain as wear protective gear around power tools. Also, if you are planning on use this IKEA frame the glass will not come out, so take care on how you situate your work station to prevent breakage of the glass or injury to yourself due to breakage of the glass!!!

But, I decided that I wanted 3 slots that are 4 inches in length... I covered the area I was going to cut out with masking tape and using a permanent marker marked my cut locations. Using my Rockwell I made several cuts within the marked area and removed the material with a chisel. Once the areas were all cut out, I could clean up the edges of the cuts with the chisel.

What I DID NOT picture was that the remaining frame pieces are tacked on with brad nails and can easily be removed. I realized that maybe I should strengthen these areas since I cut into them... so I removed them and repositioned them gluing them down with Gorilla glue, tacking them in place with 3/4 inch brads and clamping them until the glue dried.

Once I had cut the sections, cleaned them with the chisel and glued the frame pieces back into place - I used a Black Permanent Market to cover up and damage to the painted areas and to cover the non-painted area exposed by the cutting process.

Step 5: Step 5 - Image Transfer to Wood

The concept is simple, process easy, but patiently waiting is the hard part!

There are several tutorials on the web if you need additional help, but I will try to simply outline the process I used to transfer my images. I decided that I wanted pictures of the family on the two outer boards and some saying about memories, moments, adventures on the middle board.

Supplies Needed:

1. Laser Printer

2. Software to edit pictures and/or images (photo Apps and PowerPoint - see below)

3. Mod Podge

4. Paper Cutter

5. Paint Brushes (Large and Fine)

6. Spoon

7. Water

8. Paper Towels

9. Paint - Desired Color

Image Preparation

I found a few images of the family that everyone could agree on! (Yes - I asked them if they approved since it was going on the wall forever...). I also collected various saying and quotes from the internet for the center board.

I converted my images into Black and White. I did not want color as the white areas of the images would allow more stained wood to be shown. If you want color - there are some tutorials out there for colored image transfers.

So, I edited the pictures on my iPhone as it was easy and convenient. I used the following Apps:

1. Photo Editor - Axiem Systems - Ver. 4.2 - Edits the original photos and creates the B&W image

2. Pho. to Lab - VicMan LLC - Ver. 2.2.11 - Edits the B&W image into a Pencil Sketch picture

I liked the pencil sketch picture conversion as it added some abstractness to the image. This is obviously not necessary, but I liked it!

So, the middle board was a collection of saying and quotes that I gathered from the internet. I copied them and arranged them in Microsoft PowerPoint. Make sure to get nice, crisp and clear images or use the various fonts in the software to create your sayings.

NOTE: Flip any image via the software if there are words or they will be BACKWARDS!!!

Image Transfer

Once your images are ready, print them on a LASER printer on normal copy paper. Cut the image to size that will fit upon the wooden boards removing any excess paper from the image. If you do not it will just be wasted time and materials... So, cut out only the image area you want to transfer!

Using the paint brush coat the area you want the image to be transferred upon. Make to sure to apply a decent amount - don't make is "soupy" or "dry" on the board... you need the Mod Podge to take hold of the ink. Once a decent amount of Mod Podge is on the board, place the image INK SIDE (Print Side) down onto the Mod Podge.

NOTE:This is why you need to flip your image if you have words...

To ensure that the image is set into the Mod Podge, use a spoon and gently run it over the paper to seat the image into the Mod Podge.

I coated the entire board and edges with Mod Podge just to seal the wood.


Image Completion

Now that the image is dry. It is time to remove the paper from the printed image. This is done by wetting the paper and gently rubbing with your fingertips.

HINT: I found that it works best if using a minimal amount of water... just enough to wet the paper till you start to see the image... then adding small amount as it dries during the rubbing process.

Gently rub while applying pressure to "rub off" the paper. This will take some time, so go slow and be careful not to apply to much pressure or you will start disrupting the Mod Podge layer and it may start to peel off...

I decided that I wanted some additional boarder to the center board. So, using a fine paint brush I painted a boarder... obviously an optional idea!

Note: Once I finished the transfer, I coated the image area with a very light coat of Mod Podge to seal it.

Step 6: Step 6 - Final Assembly

After the frame is hacked and ready, the wooden boards have been stained and image transferred - it is time to finally assemble the project and hang it on the wall... then look for items to place into it!!!

Supplies Needed:

1. Gorilla Glue

2. Weight

3. Small Screws

4. Small Washers

5. Philips Head Screwdriver

6. Glass Cleaner (Windex)

7. Paper Towels

The wooden boards are to be mounted on top of the original art areas... to do this I just glued the boards directly to the original art areas which were only paperboard. I arranged them to cover the paperboards and glued them into place. Once they were glued I weighted them down so they dried flat against the paperboard. I allowed the glue to set for about 40 mins...

During this time, I cleaned the frame and glass inside and out with Windex to get rid of any dirt and debris as it was exposed to the hacking process and just sitting around exposed...

Once the glue has set and I could handle the backing, it was time to attach the frame backing material to the frame itself. I could have just stapled the backing back to the frame, but I wanted it to be removable in the future without a lot of work...! I decided on using some small screws with washers. The washers should help in providing additional area to apply pressure in holding the backing in place.

CAUTION: I did not use pilot holes for the screws... I just slowly turned them into the frame, snugging them down just enough to hold the backing tight. If you do not use pilot holes - then go slow to allow the paper frame material to adjust to the screw as it is turned in... by going to fast it may damage the frame...

Once the frame is fully assembled - Hang in the desired place upon a wall!!! Then start filling it with items.

Thanks for reading my Instructable !!

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