This tutorial will take you through making a treasure from scraps - A picture frame made from cardboard, covered with foil chocolate wrappers, with a multifunctional backing made from *you guessed it* cardboard.
Make one of these frames for a special person in your life, be it a friend, parent, teacher, co-worker, etc. Insert a photo of a memorable time spent together or message. Handmade gifts always mean so much more and a picture frame is such a lovely way to let someone know they are loved and cherished!
Step 1: Materials
The awesome things about this project is that it really doesn't require you to spend any money. The materials are readily available; cardboard from a grocery box or packaging and if you're not a chocolate lover, there surely must be one nearby that can collect some foil wrappers for you. The rest of the required materials are basic tools that are worth investing in if you like to get crafty.
+ 2 square cardboard pieces (5”x5”)
+ Gold foil from chocolate wrappers
+ Cutting surface
+ Utility knife
+ Glue - white glue or other craft glue that dries transparent
+ Brush for glue
Step 2: Frame Piece
Let's work with the first cardboard square. From this piece you will make the frame part.
+ With your ruler and pencil, draw lines 1” from the margins of all 4 sides. This will give you the outline of the 3”x3” square to cut out.
+ Use your ruler and utility knife to cut out the square. Set it aside.
Tip: Clean cardboard cuts
First, make sure you have a fresh, sharp blade. Trying to cut through the thickness in one go is not a good idea – you will end up with more of a rip than a clean cut. To begin, score along the line. Go over it again softly, and again until the knife goes all the way through with ease. Also, keeping the knife straight will make sure you're cutting along the same line.
Step 3: Open and Close "mechanism" - Side 1
Now, let's work with the second cardboard square. From this piece you will make the backing; opening and closing ‘mechanism’ and hanger. To make it well functioning, you will need to make cuts on both sides of this piece. Follow carefully.
+ Position the second square in front of you, with the corrugation running horizontally.
+ With your pencil, lightly mark an ‘UP’ arrow on the cardboard.
+ Draw guide lines 3/4” from the margins of all 4 sides. This will give you a 3.5"x3.5" inside square to work with.
+ At the top, draw a vertical guide line marking the middle of the cardboard (at 2.5")
+ Use the middle guide line to draw the triangle shown in the picture.
+ Use your ruler and utility knife to cut along the lines highlighted with yellow in the picture (ONLY 3 sides of the square and the triangle)
Step 4: Open and Close "mechanism" - Side 2
Flip the cardboard over to the other side.
+ Draw a line 3/4” from the bottom edge.
+ Use your ruler and utility knife to SCORE along the line as if to complete the square, cutting just the top layer of card (***The key is to NOT cut all the way through the cardboard***)
Step 5: Testing, Testing...
Flip the cardboard piece over to the side marked with an up arrow.
The triangle shaped cut out will serve 2 purposes: a hanger for the frame, and to open the back easily to change the photo. Yay!
+ Use the triangle cut to pull open the 'back door'. It may need a little help to pop out at first, so you can give it a push from the other side.
+Open and close it a few times to loosen it up. You can also sand the edges a bit to give it more room to move - I like to use nail filers for sanding small details because they're really easy and comfortable to work with.
Step 6: Glue Frame and Backing Together
Now that you have the two pieces that make up the frame, it’s time to attach them together.
+ Apply non-toxic white glue to either side of the frame piece.
+ Align and place it on the back of the backing (opposite of the side marked with up arrow).
+ Open the 'back door' to make sure it doesn’t glue closed (as shown.)
+ Wipe off any excess glue.
+ Apply weight for a few minutes to make sure they are attached well before moving along.
Step 7: Ready for Some Bling!
+ Rip off a strip of the foil - you can start with 1”x2” and adjust the size as you go according to what works better for you.
+ Apply a thin layer of glue to the part of the frame you want to work with and to the back of the foil strip.
+ Press the foil onto the frame, folding over corners and/or edges. The foil will likely not stick well until the glue is dry.
+ Continue to cover with foil, piece by piece until the cardboard can’t be seen. You can choose to leave the back rough like I did, or cover it with foil as well.
+ Let dry.
+ Apply a coat (or 2) of white glue that dries transparent to the finished frame to give the foil more strength - a more generous amount to edges and corners.
+ Let dry.
Now that you know the trick, get creative! You can make the next frame even more awesome by adding more cardboard layers, playing with the shape of the frame, or substitute the foil for another material that would otherwise end up in a landfill somewhere.