DIY: Photo Frame Collage Project

 DIY Frame1

This is my first DIY! I mean, technically, cooking is pretty DIY … but, my first non-recipe DIY.  I’m really not much of a “crafter.” But when I saw this post from a fabulous blog I knew it was exactly what I wanted in the one remaining blank wall in my house. Our dining room wall has been blank for the 2+ years we’ve been in our current home. For some reason we just couldn’t find what we wanted to fit that space. Being that my husband and I do not exactly see eye to eye when it comes to decorating (and he has an opinion … I pray every day he will grow out of that and leave me to all the decorating), we just couldn’t make anything work.

But, I knew when I saw this project it would be perfect. We both enjoy photos and if I found a neutral frame I knew he would like it. Seeing photos of the people, places, and events that make us smile … well, make us smile.  And smiling is good for the soul. Our dining room feeds into the kitchen, so it is an area I see frequently and really needed something that I would enjoy seeing every single day. And like Annie, from the original blog post, I like to be able to change things up so this was absolutely perfect – rotate photos in and out as it pleases me. For parents, I think this is so smart because kids grow so fast and now you can have pictures showcasing your kids as they grow without the hassle of switching out glass picture frames constantly.

DIY Frame2

Lastly … I did this entire project (filled a blank wall in my house!!) for under $100. Really, it could have been less than that but I ordered 100 photos so I can have them ready to swap when I want a change!

Here are the steps:

1) Gather tools so you know if you need to buy anything: scissors, hammer, nails or other hanging materials, small staple gun and T21 staples. You may also need pliers. The only thing I had to buy was a staple gun/staples because the one I had was heavy-duty and I was afraid it would mess up the wooden frame. I bought a small crafting/upholstery staple gun and staples for less than $13 total. In addition you will need: frame(s), twine, and small natural clothespins.

DIY Frame3

DIY Frame4

2) Determine where you want to put the frame(s) and measure the space. I knew I wanted two frames that I could hang vertical/horizontal but you can do a single frame or a series of frames. Just keep in mind the prints are 4-inch squares – this will determine how many prints you can fit in any given frame. (You could also do this with regular photos, but I used Instagram prints that are always 4-inch squares).

3) Find your frame(s) and additional materials. The original post used a custom built large frame. That would have cost me at least $125 with shipping and I’m pretty wary about online decorating purchases because you don’t always “see” the same thing online as you do in person. I decided to hit up Micheal’s and brought a 40% coupon with me. There I found 2 frames, both on sale for $25 each. I couldn’t use the coupon on those, but I did use it to buy the twine and clothespins. That brought my entire bill to about $60.

I needed to add something to hang the frame with because the original frame hooks don't work with this project. Check the back of the frame when you purchase so you know if you need additional materials.
I needed to add something to hang the frame with because the original frame hooks don’t work with this project. Check the back of the frame when you purchase so you know if you need additional materials.

4) Order prints. I used the app Printicular and printed 100 photos to Walgreens – all from my phone! I found a coupon code online and received 25% off my order. I was really impressed with the ease, speed, and quality of the prints. There are all kinds of services like this available, I just happened to use this one and was happy with my order. Next time I may try another retailer just to compare print quality.

UPDATE: Since writing this original post, I have tried several photo printing apps and have to give some insight into differences. I started with the Walgreens app, and while definitely budget-friendly and good print quality, they were printed on regular, thin photo paper. As a result, the corners began to wrinkle up the longer they were hung up. So, if you plan on rotating prints out every few weeks that may be okay. But, I tend to rotate out about every 2 months so I wanted something higher-quality. I found that with the Print Studio app – the prints come on a heavy cardstock with a white border and after several months did not fade or wrinkle/curl up at the edges. The price is definitely higher than the Walgreens prints but the quality makes it worth it, especially for this type of project.

5) Using the measurements of your frame, decided how many “lines” you can run to hang pictures. Determine how you want to space lines, measure, and mark.
Cut the twine for each line so there is about 2 inches extra on each side. Hold taut, and staple first toward the outer edge of the frame. Loop the remaining twine over the first staple and staple again. There is no exact way to do this, just try to get the twine secure and as taut as you want. I wanted pretty straight lines, but you can see in the original post from Annie that she use more of a curve. It’s totally up to you.

I tried to do a loop of some sort and a second staple for extra hold.
I tried to do a loop of some sort and a second staple for extra hold.

6) Hang your frames and use the clothespins to hang prints – this is the fun part!

You can decide to hang the pictures lower to show the twine or like shown here, just keep this in mind when measuring. That's my beautiful mother BTW.
You can decide to hang the pictures lower to show the twine or like shown here, just keep this in mind when measuring. That’s my beautiful mother BTW.

Enjoy your photo frame collage with the bright faces and happy places 🙂

Your twine can be hung taut and straight or loose and curved.
Your twine can be hung taut and straight or loose and curved.
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