DIY Picture Frame Crafts & Decorating Tips

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Frames are good for more than just photos. Use this guide to decorating with frames to create DIY wall décor with inexpensive materials and items you already own.

How To Make Your Own Mirror

While shopping for a stylish mirror at boutique home décor stores may be fun, it’s also costly. Large mirrors can cost hundreds of dollars, often unnecessarily. Creating your own framed mirrors of any size is incredibly easy, and far less expensive. Check your local craft or home improvement store for mirror panels- loose mirrors without frames. Once you’ve found a panel in a size you like, simply select a photo frame that fits the mirror’s size. Instantly create your own stylish mirror to hang anywhere in your home for far less than a pre-framed model.

Another great use for framed mirrors is a display tray. Just lay the mirror on a table or dresser, and place perfume, photos, decorative items and more on top of it. The items will be beautifully reflected in the mirror, and your tabletop surfaces will appear more spacious. For an antique look, spray paint the mirror and frame (or just the mirror) white, brown, tan or gray. Using your fingernail, a coin or another slightly abrasive surface, scratch most of the paint off the mirror, leaving small, spotty, uneven patches. The mirror will now appear “aged.”

How To Add Frames To Bathroom Mirrors

Many homes feature bare mirrors fixed to their bathroom walls. For a unique and decorative twist to this boring home décor standard, take a trip to your local home improvement store. While premade bathroom mirrors are available to purchase, you’ll also have several options for creating a bathroom mirror frame yourself, so select the choice that fits your style and budget best.

  • Tile: To create a ceramic or stone tile frame, just pick up enough tiles to completely frame the mirror. Be sure to measure your mirror before arriving at the home improvement store so you’ll know how many you need to completely surround it. Use a strong adhesive to glue each tile in place along the edge of the mirror (not the wall!). Once finished, the tiles will appear like a uniform frame.
  • Frame: If your bathroom mirror is small, you may be able to find a premade frame to fit it. For this style, you’ll want to select a frame large enough to overlap the edges of the mirror by several inches, but without any wall space showing between the mirror and frame. Place several nails in the wall just above your mirror to hang the frame. Be sure the frame is well supported, and does not pull small, weak nails down (and eventually out of) the wall.
  • Planks: For a wooden frame look on larger mirrors, check the home improvement store for individual frame planks or crown molding. Simply cut four planks/molding to the required length to frame your mirror, and apply to the edges of the mirror with strong adhesive. For an even cheaper option, select an inexpensive, light colored wood and stain or paint it to your desired color.
Ready for Planting Finished Product

Frame Paper

Frames can accentuate more than photos and paintings. Try framing pages of books depicting your favorite scenes, sheet music or even dictionary definitions of words meaningful to you. Run the book pages through your printer to add black and white graphics over the book’s text for a high-style, high-contrast framed page.

Hang Empty Frames

Sometimes the frame itself is the work of art. Make or purchase frames in varying sizes that match your décor style (metallic for ornate themes, plain and clean for modern themes, unfinished wood for a natural theme), and hang them on the wall. Remove the back, so the wall is visible through the frame. Arrange in a row, or scatter around the wall for an eclectic, whimsical arrangement.

Create “Carved” Frames

Rather than paying for carved frames, just buy a plain, smooth frame and create your own design. Purchase a bottle of dimensional paint, “puff paint” that creates an elevated surface once dry. Draw a design on your plain frame with the dimensional paint, and allow to dry. Paint the frame, over the dimensional paint, to create a uniform, monochromatic surface. The raised edges of the dimensional paint will now appear to be a part of the frame, as if it had been carved.

Layer Frames

Thick, ornate and highly styled frames are often much more expensive than thinner versions. To create a high dimension frame yourself, simply glue one frame to a slightly larger one. Remove the backing of the smaller frame to allow it to sit flush against the larger, backing frame. Place your photo/painting/book page inside the larger, second frame, and set anywhere in your home. If the frames are not the same material and/or color, paint them to create a seamless look.

While decorating with frames, you’re likely to come across a variety of colors and materials at home décor stores, most of which will increase in cost as they increase in style. Rather than spending money on rich wooden or highly decorated frames, just buy cheaper versions and make your own. Smooth, flat, lightly colored wooden frames can be stained or painted any color, and can easily accommodate glued on accessories. Designing your own chic frame will cost far less than buying one, and will ensure your piece is one of a kind.

Last Updated: December 19, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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