Don’t Buy a Cheap Picture Frame – DIY It! Here’s How!
Hey guys…This may go without saying, but sometimes picture frames are expensive. If you’re hoping to “slum it” by picking up one of those el cheapo ones at the dollar store, yeah, you might solve your problem…but those things are well, cheap. Like, not made to last forever cheap 🙂
They only seem to come in one or two colors, and I’ve accidentally broken one before no doubt 🙁 I mean, would you consider making a frame instead? I did…and I would do it again! Using the most ordinary, mundane material in the world….CARDBOARD!
I discovered this idea after grappling with the how-to of framing a painting I did way back when on a canvas sheet. A piece of poster board didn’t work very well…it didn’t stay attached, and coming up with a hanger was a real drag. But then I had my epiphany when I came across a two or three foot box in the closet that was taking up space. Now its a picture frame! (Or one side of it is)
Some people might call you cheap, but who cares? It won’t look “cheap” by the time we get through with it.
- Ideally, choose a piece of cardboard from an actual cardboard box…not the flimsy folded shirt inserts. If you’ve got some shoeboxes around and their size is a little bit bigger that your proposed picture, you can use the lid for this (But this is contingent on having the right side box lid)
- A roll of colored duct tape in your favorite color or pattern that matches your work
- Scissors, x-acto knife
- Something to use as a picture hanger, like wire
Let’s Make It
1) Take your proposed piece of work and the piece of cardboard…look for one that is at least one inch wider and longer all around than the object you wish to frame.
2)Measure three-fourths to an inch on all sides of the cardboard while lying flat, so you have a perimeter around your work so to speak.
3) Carefully crease and bend up the perimeter sides of the cardboard. Some people may suggest the use of an X-acto knife to make a “soft crease” to make cardboard easier to bend, but that’s up to you. If you do choose to go that route go very carefully otherwise you might end up cutting through it and we don’t want to do that here.
4) Use some tape (duct or masking works fine) and secure the corners together. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer piece of tape to make the corner seams nice and neat so don’t be too stingy!
5) Now turn over your cardboard piece and we’re going to attach the picture. I used some colored duct tape because I know it’s strong enough to hold it down securely – that’s definitely the way to go here. I would not use glue unless you are prepared to smooth down ridges and pockets which can be a little time-consuming.
Hint: This is going to be killing two birds with one stone because the duct tape is not only strong enough to hold your picture down, if you pick a roll in a nice color or pattern that complements your artwork, the finished frame is going to look very good indeed! (And you don’t have to tell anybody who asks where you got that frame…)
6) Turn over your work and now we’re going to apply duct tape to the sides. Pull out the roll to the length of the frame and tear it off for each side (no scissors needed) Spread the tape piece over the first side and press it down…I like to begin in the middle and push down a little bit at a time on each side until the tape is on there and there are very few air pockets left.
I’ve learned that you have to work that tape sometimes, it doesn’t just land where it should perfectly.
You’ll have to excuse my cat, he was wanting to see what I was up to (yes one of those cats that loves to get involved with everything the mistress is doing…)
7) Repeat step 6 on the other three sides.
8) Now we’re going to attach the hanger part…Please refer to the first three steps in my earlier post “How to Hang a Canvas Painting Without Nails” The part of where to measure the sides to determine where the hanger is going, is covered in that post.
Since we’re dealing with cardboard, we don’t have to use fancy hanging equipment here…just the mere act of piercing the sides with a thumbtack is enough to mark holes with which to thread the hanging cord.
You can use some thinner gauge craft wire…Unfortunately I ran out (I use that stuff right and left) so I ended up using fishing line…which is also a good choice because fishing line is pretty strong. It threads through the tiny holes easily and then I just knotted them off in the middle (where the ends won’t show).
Walla…wow that was easy…And on top of it, only you know it used to be a piece of cardboard or shoebox lid!