Victorian Display Frame

Introduction: Victorian Display Frame

In this instructable I will show you how to turn a deep photo frame into a green baize lined display frame perfect for your Victorian study or Steampunk wunderkammer. In this case I have used it to display a collection of semiprecious stones, but it could also be used to display fossils, shells, keys, small bones or any other thin period appropriate objects.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools


  1. The frame, the one I've got came from a charity shop you are looking for a deep frame sometimes called box-frames or shadow boxes the depth must be behind the glass (more on finding a frame in step 2).
  2. Green baize or green felt, I got this from a market stall but it should be available from the majority of places which sell fabrics.
  3. Thick card, either from the back of notepads or artists mounting card.


  1. Sharp knife I generally use a scalpel but a craft knife would work as long as its sharp
  2. Utility knife
  3. Straight edge or steel rule
  4. All purpose quick drying glue, UHU or Bostik all purpose
  5. Bulldog clips or clothes pegs

Step 2: Finding and Fixing a Frame


What you are looking for is a deep frame where the depth is behind the glass, in this case the depth was filled with a large block of expanded polystyrene. But if the back board is simply upagainst the front glass in only complicates things slightly.

My frame is made by TU (who are Sainbury's supermarkets home-wares brand) I found this in a charity shop, most charity shops have a box of frames sometimes filled with old photos or prints, they are usually very reasonable (mine cost £3 for the pair). You're are looking for a wooden frame preferably hardwood, check the back, many frames look like wood but are in fact a wood effect paper applied to an MDF frame. If the frame is solid wood the only real damage to worry about is dents, scratches and scuffs can be sorted out.

If you can't find a frame in a charity shop Wilko sell softwood box frames for around £5.


If your frame doesn't have scratches skip this step.

  1. Sand to bare wood
  2. Stain with woodstain
  3. varnish


  1. Sand to roughen the surface
  2. Spray Matt black

This frame had some really bad scratches which I completely removed.

Step 3: The Lining

The Sides
  1. Cut card to the length of each side of your frame and the depth you want using a utility knife
  2. Cover one side of the card in a thin layer of glue (don't use water based glue, it will soak through the fabric)
  3. Apply to the fabric
  4. Wait to dry
  5. Cover the other side of the card in a thin layer of glue
  6. Wrap the fabric over and hold in place with bulldog clips (tip: wrap the leading edges of the clips with masking tape to soften them and prevent rust stains)
  7. Trim away excess fabric using a scalpel.
  8. Repeat for the other sides

CLEAN THE GLASS (on both sides)! This is far harder to do later.

  1. Dry fit the sides and trim to length if required.
  2. Apply a stripe of glue to one side of side peice
  3. Apply to the frame ensuring the wrapped side is against the glass
  4. Repeat for all four sides

The Back

  1. Cut card to fit the frame
  2. Cover one side of the card in a thin layer of glue
  3. Apply to the fabric
  4. Wait to dry
  5. Trim away excess fabric using a scalpel.

Step 4: Finishing Up

  1. Add your display
  2. Place the back into the frame
  3. Add the original back board
  4. Use the original clips if possible OR if you have moved the back nail into place.


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    3 years ago

    That turned out looking great! Thanks for sharing!