No time or money to make a cute, sophisticated picture frame? Have no fear!
- corrugated cardboard box
- Elmer's liquid glue (NOT stick glue!)
- scotch tape
- packing tape
- decorative ribbon and yarn/twine (optional)
- clear or colored thumbtacks (optional)
- paper towel
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Step 1: Choosing the Right Cardboard Box
Use a corrugated cardboard box that extends a couple inches (or however many you desire) around your artwork. Make sure the box is not ripped or warped in any way that would make it difficult to use as a frame.
Step 2: Prep Your Frame
Prepare your frame by cutting out the bottom of the cardboard box. It is normal for the bottom of the box to be in two pieces - don't worry! Make sure the two pieces are taped together firmly with packing tape, and make sure they are lined up perfectly (first picture).
Use a second piece of cardboard from the same box (doesn't have to be the same size) to reinforce the back of the frame. Tape the reinforcement piece down firmly with packing tape.
Step 3: Newspaper
Choose a piece of newspaper that spans the entirety of your cardboard frame, or several pieces of newspaper that get the job done together. Make sure the folds you'll be placing in the newspaper (as seen in the photos) end up on the BACK of the frame, where the piece of reinforcement cardboard is!
Fold the newspaper corners in so as to keep edges from being seen from the front view, and use scotch or packing tape to fasten the paper to the back of the frame. Make sure the newspaper is flattened out and has no awkward creases.
Step 4: Attach Your Art to the Frame
Flip your frame so the front side (with the flat newspaper) is facing upwards. Wrap a ~2 inch piece of scotch tape (use your thumb for measurement) around your thumb so the edges stick together and form a cylinder of tape with the sticky side out. Press this piece of tape onto one of the four BACK corners of your art, and firmly crease the tape to flatten. Create three more tape cylinders for the other three corners, and flatten. Flip your art over and fasten it to the frame by centering it and pressing it firmly onto the newspaper.
Step 5: Decorate Your Frame (part 1/4)
Cut pieces of various decorative ribbons in the lengths you desire. I cut mine long enough to span the corners of my art once glued on - however, the decoration is completely up to you! Use the Elmer's glue to stick the ribbon to the frame. Make sure you use plenty of glue; it will dry clear, so if some squishes out the side, you won't see it in the final product. If you need to do some cleanup, use a paper towel to gently wipe the excess glue off.
Step 6: Decorate Your Frame (part 2/4)
For the second part of decorating the frame, I used newspaper origami cranes as accents. You can view a simple, easy-to-follow, 6-minute tutorial below:
NOTE: Prepare your newspaper squares by making a lengthwise cut in a page, folding the corner in to the cut to make a square, and cutting out the square. I made my paper cranes with a fuller body than the one in the tutorial. To achieve this look, grasp each wing of the crane close to the body with your thumbs and SLOWLY AND GENTLY pull outwards on the wings. The body will slowly "inflate" and flatten on top. You can also blow a small burst of air into the hole in the bottom of the crane's torso to inflate.
Once you've made your paper cranes (I made seven of various sizes), use a generous amount of Elmer's glue along the bottom crease of your paper cranes to fasten them to the frame at locations of your choice. To keep the cranes positioned the way you want them (standing, leaning, etc.), place a small ball of newspaper under each wing for stabilization while drying. Make sure the stabilizing pieces of newspaper DO NOT touch the wet glue!
Step 7: Decorate Your Frame (part 3/4)
As the final step of decorating your frame, cut about a hand's length of decorative yarn/twine and make bows. Use Elmer's glue to fasten the bows to the center of the lengths of ribbon on your frame.
Step 8: Decorate Your Frame (part 4/4)
Use tacks to attach lengths of string to the left and right (and top and bottom) edges of your art if you wish. The tacks are likely to poke through the back of the cardboard a little, so use a couple small squares of cardboard and a bit of Elmer's glue to cover the spaces where the tacks poke through the back.
Step 9: Make the Wall Hook to Mount Your Frame
Cut two rectangular or square pieces of cardboard, one about half the size of a business card, and one half the size of the first. Use scissors or an X-acto knife to cut out the center of the larger piece of cardboard, and then cut triangular teeth lengthwise along one edge (this will be the top of your hook).
Cut the second piece of cardboard in half and glue one half to each edge of the hook, as shown. These two pieces of cardboard will be the spacers between the hook and the frame. Glue the hook to the TOP CENTER BACK of the frame and press firmly into place, with the teeth located on the upper edge towards the top of the frame. These teeth will help with stabilizing your picture once hung on the wall, so MAKE SURE THE HOOK IS PARALLEL TO THE TOP EDGE OF THE FRAME!
Step 10: Let Dry!
Let everything dry for at least a few hours, and your frame is complete! Now you are able to hang your art on the wall, using the teeth on the wall mount to stabilize the frame.
Cheap, easy, and simple :)