Arts and Crafts Ideas Using Picture Frames: How-To Guide

How To Use Picture Frames for Arts & Crafts Project Ideas

Picture frames are fun accessories to an arts and crafts project, whether you are making a gift for someone, or just doing artwork to relieve tension or to hang up around your house. There are many different ways you can use picture frames to create designs and one of a kind pieces of artwork as long as you have a few other items handy. The picture frame project, if classified, would be considered mixed media. Following are some ideas to start with when considering using picture frames for art. Start with these and the creativity will surely start flowing and most likely by the end of the first project you’ll have your own set of picture frame art ideas.

First, obviously, you need a picture frame. Any one will do. Use an extra one you have lying around the house, or one of those awkward shaped ones that someone bought you but you will never have a photo that will fit properly inside it. Or, if you must purchase one at the store, go for the cheapos. In this project, more often than not the frame itself will be the foundation for the art work to go on top of, so the original look might not even be visible. (You can choose which project you want to try depending on how important to you it is that the actual frame is a major part of the visual result.)

Once you have your frame, look around the house or a craft store for some items that strike you. Anything goes with this because picture frame art can extend beyond one’s wildest imagination and pretty much any object can be made to go along with the piece, as long as it is small enough to fit the chosen frame. Finally, here are some ideas of what you can do with your picture frame art piece.

***Take a box of magnetic poetry that has gotten old on the refrigerator and find a nice saying that is appropriate for your piece and also that fits inside the border of the picture frame (i.e. where a picture would normally go.) There may be glass designed to protect the photo, or plastic. Either one, try to take out the cardboard piece in the back. You are going to create a message with the magnetic poetry (cut-up as needed) and glue it onto the cardboard backing so that it will show through the clear window. Your black and white letters will likely look great on a normal white background, but if you think it needs a little something more, glue onto the cardboard your own flat background. You can get this from magazines, photographs, newspaper clippings, or something like wrapping paper or stationary. So simply set up your phrase, glue it on the chosen background, and slip the whole thing back into place and see it shine through the clear window frame as a cool, trendy, art-deco piece.

***Find some nice, fairly thick stock paper (business card thick) and cut into thin strips of about a centimeter in width, give or take some. This works particularly well if the frame is pretty. Try to select colors that match the frame, as it will be showing through. Once you have your strips, roll them up length-wise into a small enough circle to be able to glue flat onto the frame. You can make flower like designs with or just leave the loops as they are and once you get the hang of it and can use the glue without making a mess (it’s tough) you can vary the tightness of your rolled paper to create different looks.

***This one takes some time but looks really neat in the end. Pick a common, symmetrical shape, preferably a square or a triangle and experiment with sizes. What you are going to be doing is cutting out this shape, either from stock paper or from magazine pages (depending on the color and look you want) and repeating it next to itself until it covers the entire border of the picture frame. The smaller, the most intense looking, but it will take a while if you make them too tiny. In the case of the triangle, alternate shapes by placing every other triangle right side up and the ones between, upside down. Simply repeat this pattern the whole way down the border (or you could do it in the window and leave the border of the picture frame alone), gluing the paper on neatly and in the end you’ll have a mosaic like piece of art work.

These are only a few of the numerous ways you can make picture frames into works of art. Brainstorm and experiment with different textures and items. Try adding paint to the project or perhaps glitter. Use buttons. Velcro. Colored wire. Bottle caps. The possibilities are endless!

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