15 Easy DIY Picture Frame Ideas for Crafting Holiday Gifts

Bored with standard-issue picture frames? With a little time and a few items you may already have on hand, you can make your own frames that will be as personal and meaningful as the memories they hold.

By Kat Hodgins and Tracy Anderson | Updated Oct 30, 2021 1:46 PM

It’s a fact of life: We all have more photographs, paper keepsakes, and artwork than frames in which to display them. If you’re eager to put up more wall hangings but don’t love the look (or expense) of store-bought frames, the simple solution is to make your own. Scroll down to see 15 favorite approaches to a DIY picture frame.

1. Branch out with stick frames.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

For those who favor rustic style, here’s a low-fuss strategy: Combine straight (or straight-ish) sticks and a bit of twine, coaxing them into a rectangular shape with the help of a handsaw and small nails. The result? A DIY twig picture frame perfectly suited for a well-chosen print. Petro from Easy Peasy Creative describes how you can DIY this project; if you want one ready made, look to PastThymePrimitive on Etsy.

2. Repurpose your reading.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

Transform a stack of old magazines into a colorful DIY picture frame that tells a whole new story! Suzy’s Artsy-Craftsy Sitcom explains the process: Basically, it’s a matter of rolling magazine or newspaper pages into reeds, which are then affixed, decoupage-style, to the front of basic frames you can pick up for cheap at craft stores. For more inspiration look to ByAmberandRose on Etsy, who has these frames available for purchase.

3. Open a window. 

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

Found a charming old window at your local flea market or salvage yard? Take a cue from TheDecoratingDenCa, which turned a nine-pane farmhouse window into a rustic frame for family photos. Either leave the window as you found it or sand and repaint it in a surprising color, as does Etsy seller ABWFrames. The choice is yours!

4. Spin a yarn.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

In this DIY picture frame project, you can use yarn to make something beautiful—no knitting required! Start with a wood frame or foam wreath, then simply wrap your chosen base with a single color of yarn or a mix of hues. It’s a relaxing yet productive way to spend an hour. Visit Centsational Style for a step-by-step guide, or buy one ready made from Etsy seller AnniePants.

5. Bookmark this DIY frame.

DIY picture frame

Etsy.com

Well-read books are hard to part with. Thanks to an easy tutorial from Paper & Stitch, you don’t have to bid adieu to any of your beloved old volumes. Instead, make them a permanent part of your decor: In only about 15 minutes, your favorite hardcover can become an out-of-the-ordinary DIY picture frame to show off a favorite photo. If you don’t have any cool-enough-to-hang display book covers to use as frames, MaryPotterVintage is a good place to look.

6. Craft a classy clip-on. 

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

Photophiles may often want to swap out older pictures with new ones. A decorative clipboard like this one from HeartfeltByHeatherDS is a quick DIY frame that lets you change the pictures in mere seconds. You can personalize a simple dollar store clipboard and hang it on the wall, or you can make a more rustic clipboard frame in about half an hour. Sand and stain a small plank of wood, use your drill to attach a large bulldog clip, and you’re good to go.

7. Sculpt some clay.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

Relive your childhood and create distinctive frames that reflect your personality. With polymer clay, you can form fun shapes like the squiggles that surround these frames from ParadiseRaleigh. Polymer clay is super workable and can be sculpted into any shape, including braided frame edges or more complex artwork. Once your design is perfect, the clay needs to cure in the oven so it holds its shape—and your photos.

8. This DIY frame is im-peck-able.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

Who says chicken wire is just for the birds? Get inspiration from this DIY picture frame project from OttoideaCo. Upcycle an old mirror, chalkboard, or other cast-off frame and turn it into a cool place to hang your photos. Use your snips to cut the wire down to the right size, then get your staple gun and secure the wire to the frame. Miniature clothespins work great for clipping photos to the mesh.

9. Hang your photos like a professional.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

When you don’t want your handmade picture frame to look like you did it yourself, here’s a sleek-looking option you’ll be proud to display. Follow this example from HangerFrames for a visually appealing DIY hanging frame. Cut four strips of balsa wood (or other thin, lightweight wood) to your preferred size. Use double-sided sticky tape or glue, and sandwich each end of the photo between two pieces of wood. Attach a thick string to the back, and hang on the wall.

10. Framing is a builder’s delight.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

LEGO never stops being fun, and this DIY frame project is a hit with both adults and kids. With so many unusual shapes and colors of LEGO bricks, these building toys can transform a boring frame into a visually interesting DIY photo frame like this one from TTCreativeCraftsShop. All it takes is a standard photo frame, super glue, LEGO pieces, and a few minutes. Glue only the flat LEGO pieces (the base pieces) to the frame, then use your imagination to keep building.

11. Scour the beach.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

Some of us never outgrow bringing home rocks and other treasures from the beach, but then what do you do with them? When you’ve amassed enough stones, grab an old frame and some tough glue (E6000 or super glue), and spend some time placing them onto a frame—just make sure to clean them first. BytheBayCraft does a beautiful job making stone frames. This DIY frame project works for a range of seaside treasures like beach glass, feathers, sand, and other interesting finds.

12. Stick a cork in it.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

You don’t have to be a vintner to have access to wine corks, and they sure can be fun to collect. For wine enthusiasts and those who enjoy novelty, making a wine cork picture frame is incredibly easy. CorksByPop shows what’s possible, using corks that are cut in half or placed on their side to give some depth to the photo frame. Play around with your layout, and when you find a design you love, glue the corks to the outside of an old frame.

13. Mod Podge with the best of them.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

If you have patterned paper, wrapping paper, or pages from a book that holds a lot of meaning for you, you can add those sheets to a picture frame (just try to avoid using a plastic frame, as it may not work!). Do a base coat with acrylic paint, cut your paper to a size that fits your frame, and apply a layer of decoupage glue before positioning your cutouts and coating with glue again. Add two layers of protective coating using Mod Podge, and voilà—you’ve turned your old frame into beautiful art, just like this one from StuckwithloveDesigns.

14. Create a DIY frame stand.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

If you have a dated frame and sturdy wooden candlestick, you can create a charming standing frame. Using a strong bonding glue, attach the pedestal to the bottom of the frame in your preferred orientation, then paint it the color of your choice. Follow Diane Henkler’s step-by-step tutorial to learn how to construct this distressed DIY photo frame.

15. Go frameless with clip art.

DIY picture frame

Photo: Etsy.com

Avoid the bulk of a traditional frame by displaying your photo on a small clip. The base of this petite photo holder can be made with an air dry clay, shaped however you like, as Peggers did with these ladybugs. Before the clay hardens, insert sturdy wire into the base. Use adhesive to attach a small metal clip, or use pliers to bend the end of the wire into a circular shape to hold a photo. A quality clay, such as Jovi Air Dry Modeling Clay, is key to getting this project done right.