DIY Picture Frames. Print your dang photos!

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Your photo album has been delivered, you’re so so in love with all of the amazing images, the expressions, the moments. Love them.

What happens next? Nothing, nada, zip. They sit in that beautiful online gallery. Sure, they’ll get shared around social media and become your new profile picture until you go to the zoo and hold a koala (jealous).

We all do this.

I am 1000% guilty myself and I am a freaking photographer with more images of my darling family than I could recount.

So here I am, with a project full of yummy details and a “material list” with alternative options too so you have zero excuses not to get your lovely photos up on that wall!!!

My personal project utilized 16″x 20″ images printed from shutterfly. I have used shutterfly and suggested it to my clients since I began as a photographer. They are quick, they are affordable, and when using a high resolution file you will have no issues getting a big, beautiful image to use for projects such as this. They almost always have some sort of deal or coupon going on for prints.

In total I spent less than $100 in prints and materials considering we had most tools available to us already. When you think about what could be sent on a single 16″x20″ canvas, this is an absolute budget diy!!

Materials List based on 16″x20″ prints:

1"x2" pine boards
Miter or Chop Saw or Table Saw or Hand saw
Nail Gun + Nails or Hammer + Hanging Nails
Staple gun
1/4" Plywood in 4'x4' sheet or thin foam board sheets
Small sheet of high grit sand paper
Mod Podge or Elmer's Glue (I've read they're comparable)
Foam Brush
Prints (I used 16"x20") from Shutterfly
Sawtooth Picture Hanger
Optional: Stain or Paint to finish 1"x2" pine boards

The following steps are going to be based upon my 16″x20″ prints in a 6 frame layout! You can most certainly tailor this to your desired amount both in the size of the print to the amount that you want to place on your wall. To avoid horrible math blunders on my end, I’m going to spell it out as I did it (or as my husband did..).

The frames will have 4 individual cuts from the 1″x2″ pine boards: 15″ wide x 20.5″ long with the 15″ piece nested inside of the 20.5″ side pieces. Here you can use a nail gun to secure the corners together or a hammer and small hanging nails will work just fine! So long as either are long enough to keep the pieces connected. We used two nails per corner.

At this point, you can use a stain or paint and apply it to the frame to make it “extra” and make it fit the space no matter the look you’re going for.

I left mine as naked as they came! We’re living that log cabin life and so I do my best to brighten up the space as Until I can convince my husband to let me white-wash the interior logs…

The pictures need a firm backing as the frames will not have glass to keep them pressed flat. Here is where we used the plywood. Again, you could use foam board as well. A 3×3 grid of 16.5″ x 20.5″ frames were drawn out on the 4’x4′ piece of 1/4″ plywood. Then a jigsaw was used to cut them out, you could also use a hand saw or if you’re lucky, a table saw for a quick/clean job. There may be some light sanding needed on the edges if using a jig or hand saw. Hello sandpaper.

Once you have your plywood or foam board backings cut out, it’s time to apply the prints! Even if your prints have been rolled up right until this point, you’ll be able to do this next step no problem. Using your mod podge or Elmer’s glue, you will spread a thin layer with your foam brush on all four corners of the BACK side of your print. Since it’s a thin layer you will want to get your print in place on your backing quickly, though you will have some room to wiggle it around a bit once it’s on there. Make sure your sides or all matched up!

You can use your clean hand or gently use a plastic card to smooth out any lines, though I didn’t seem to find this to be necessary or an issue.

I have zero chill so I slapped my frame right over the print after applying it to the backing.

Justin (my hubby aka maker of Pinterest dreams) then used a staple gun to secure the plywood backing to the frame, placing a staple every few inches or so. Again, you can use a hammer and hanging nails here, just ensuring your nails will not be longer than the front of the frame.

To finish it off, we used a sawtooth picture hanger in the middle of the top frame piece, back side of course, secured with two small hanging nails.

There! That’s all of it. Not so bad, huh? I know when it’s all written out you’re thinking it’s going to take all of your extra time, but this seriously took us a couple hours. Waiting for prints to arrive aside.

I know some of you reading this may have some photos from yours truly and if you use this project I would just squeallll with excitement to see your final results, even if you did it differently. So please share!

Here’s a final look and a cute puppy for good measure. I would’ve used my kiddos but their cooperation skills are at level zero these days.

Happy DIY’ng!

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