Make Your Own Custom Photo Frames
by Kat Richter

Three Custom Photo Frames for Your Sweetie

You've completely forgotten that your anniversary is tomorrow. You want to give your significant other something personal, but you're short on time and cash. Fortunately, you're in luck, and you have your Smartphone to thank.

Framed photographs are becoming a thing of the past (why print when you can just tag?) but nothing says "I love you" like a constant reminder conveniently positioned on your lover's desk. Plus picture frames are a great way to mark your territory. If your relationship is still in the early stages and you're looking to take it to the next level, give your boyfriend or girlfriend a photograph to remind them of how great you are (and to make sure others know that they're taken).

We've put together three great designs, complete with step by step instructions and a list of supplies, and technology has made it easier than ever to print your photographs. You can go to one of those kitschy photo booths at the mall, or you can just send a few of your digital photos to your nearest drugstore. You can also do it yourself with your flash drive at most superstores (Target, Wal-mart and the like) and while you're there, you can pick up your supplies.

If you're making a frame for your boyfriend, keep it simple. You can get a wooden frame for a dollar and a bottle of paint for even less at most craft stores. But if you're trying to appeal to a more discerning palette, try one of the following designs.

The "We Drank These" Frame (Total cost: $5)

Finished Photo Frame Made Out of Corks

Commemorate all the fun times you've had together (and all the bottles of wine you've drank) with this rustic bottle cork frame. You'll need:

  • Small wooden frame
  • Corks
  • Glue gun and a few extra glue sticks
Supplies for Corks Photo Frame

Step 1) Start drinking. Seriously. You'll need approximately 26 corks to frame a 4x6 photo.

Step 2) Sort your corks into two piles: one for the smaller corks, which you'll use for the sides of your frame and one for the larger corks, which you'll need to cover the top and bottom.

Step 3) Get out your trusty glue gun and draw a line of glue along the side of your first cork. Press the cork to the frame and hold it in place for a few seconds to allow the glue to dry.

Gluing Corks onto the Frame

Step 4) Attach each successive cork with a line of glue along the bottom to adhere it to the frame and a line along the side to make sure it sticks to the cork next to it.

Step 5) Crack open another bottle of wine and get ready to celebrate: you're done!

Helpful tips: Do a trial run before you glue the corks to the frame. Depending on the side of the frame and the width of your corks, you may have to adjust the spacing to make sure you don't leave any bald spots.

Also, if you're feeling particularly crafty (or suffer from OCD) you can make a pattern by alternating between corks from bottles of red wine and corks from bottom of white. There's a good chance your significant won't actually notice your efforts but you'll know and that's all that really matters.

The Bling Bling Frame (Total cost: $10)

Finished Bling Photo Frame

For the diva in your life, try this silver bedazzled frame. You'll need:

  • Small wooden frame
  • Bottle of silver craft paint
  • Paint brush
  • Bottle of tacky glue
  • Two packages of rhinestones
Bling Frame Supplies

Step 1) Pour a quarter-sized dollop of silver paint into an old Tupperware container; this makes it's easier to get your brush fully lubricated.

Step 2) Paint your frame. And don't worry about leaving brushstrokes. That's what the rhinestones are for.

Painting the Frame

Step 3) Allow your frame to dry then give it a second coat.

Step 4) Once the frame has dried again, squeeze a tiny dab of tacky glue into the corner for your first rhinestone. Press it into place and repeat! Approximately nine dozen times...but don't worry: it's gonna look awesome.

Applying Glue

Attaching Rhinestones

One more row of rhinestones

Helpful tips: Use a ruler or even the back inset of the frame to gently nudge any errant rhinestones into a nice, straight line before they dry. You can also experiment with using a differently colored paint for the background to create a nice contrast.

The Button Collage (Total cost: $5)

Finshed Button Photo Frame

If you're into recycling, raid your grandmother's closet for some old buttons and get to work on this antique collage frame.

  • Small wooden frame
  • Bottle of gold craft paint
  • Paint brush
  • Glue gun and some extra glue sticks
  • Handful of old buttons
Button Photo Frame Supplies

Step 1) Give your frame two coats of paint, as directed above. Just make sure you use gold paint this time instead of silver to give the frame a warm, antique glow.

Step 2) Take a look at your collection of buttons. Put the largest ones aside and separate out any that have shanks (those are the little knobby bits on the end that keep them from lying flat).

Step 3) Using your glue gun, squeeze a tiny dot of glue into the corner of the frame and affix your first large button.

Applying the Glue

Step 4) Continue gluing the large buttons to the corners of the frame, then make your way across. Once you've placed about a dozen large buttons on the frame, you can start filling in with the smaller ones. Don't be afraid to overlap and don't bother trying to create a pattern (you'll go crazy).

Step 5) Once you're frame is starting to fill up, its times to bring out those weird little buttons that won't lie flat. Embrace the curves, and give them a dab of glue on the bottom before artfully wedging them into place.

Step 6) Thank your grandmother for sharing her button collection with you. (And if you want to make Grandma happy, repeat Steps 1-5 to make an extra frame for her.)

Helpful tips: Don't worry about the glue gun "webs" that will form as your working your magic. Once you're done, you can just pull them right off.

Once your frame is done, just pop your photo inside and voila! You've got yourself a perfect gift with an even more perfect price tag.

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