How to display photos in homemade frames

Homemade Picture Frames

by Tricia Goss

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What could be a warmer way to spruce up a room than with your own family photos? Pictures of grinning loved ones, images of unforgettable vacations, and snapshots of cherished pets lend a comfortable, homespun feeling to any space. Most likely you have an album, a scrapbook, or a shoebox loaded with shots of fond memories and smiling faces. You'd love to place some favorites throughout the house, but framing those prints can get expensive!

And yet it doesn't have to be. With a little imagination, you can display your pictures using common household items. Here are six ideas to get you started on your homemade picture frames.

Puzzle Piece Frame: This is a great way to make use of those incomplete jigsaw puzzles. Cut a piece of cardboard a little larger than the photo (a cereal box would work well). Glue the photo to the center of the cardboard. Affix the puzzle pieces around the edge, overlapping to cover the cardboard and the edge of the photo. You can stick on a magnetic strip if you'd like to hang your artwork on the fridge, or you can fasten a piece of yarn to the back and adorn a wall.

Glossy Mobile: Criss-cross a couple of popsicle sticks or twigs, or use a wire hanger. Cut three or four different shapes from sturdy cardboard, making two of each shape. Cut a hole in the center of one of each shape for the front. Glue a photo to each back, and then glue on the front. Punch a hole in the top of each frame and connect to the hanger using varied lengths of thread or yarn. These are perfect to dangle in the bedrooms of tots, teens and everyone in between. Let the kids decorate the cardboard frames using their favorite medium.

Floppy Photo Cube: Using super glue or a glue gun, assemble a cube using old floppy disks with the metal disk side in. Stick a photo to each disk for a retro desk display.

Panoramican: Adhere long, panoramic view shots to an empty, clean juice or vegetable can, closed end up. Arrange a group of these for a unique exhibit.

Omelet Mosaic: The next time you make eggs, save the shells and dye them as you would at Easter. Use two or three hues that complement the room's color scheme. Crush the shells into small pieces and glue to the front of a frame made from cardboard.

Sweet, Embossable You: Create a masterpiece to feature the one you love. Make a cardboard frame, as in the mobile or mosaic frames. Cut two or three paper towels into the shape of the front of the frame. Measure a piece of heavy-duty foil just a little larger than the frame. Laying the foil over the frame, slice an "X" across the inner edges and wrap the foil around the frame, tearing off excess foil. Use a toothpick to design an embossed detail to the padded foil. Glue your photo to the back, and adhere the front. To make this a standing frame, attach an additional piece of cardboard to the back, gluing only the edges. Score the second piece of cardboard near the center and fold back.

Once you get started, you'll surely find the framing ideas are all but endless. Soon you'll have a collection to rival any gallery, and it won't cost you a dime. Be creative, be brave, and most importantly, enjoy yourself. Frugality can be fun!

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